Storizen Magazine August 2020 | Anand Neelakantan

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EDITOR'S NOTE 7 COVER STORY Pioneering MythologyAnand Neelakantan - Pria 8 HOT OFF THE PRESS Some Sizes Fit All AKHIL GUPTA, Vice Chairman of Bharti Group Foreword by Sunil Bharti Mittal - Penguin India 18
HOT OFF THE PRESS The Killings at Kingfisher Hill The New Hercule Poirot Mystery Sophie Hannah, Created by Agatha Christie - HarperCollins India 19 HOT OFF THE PRESS The Kargil Girl - Penguin India 22 STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE Road trip to our paradise - Kamlesh Kaltari 40 HOT OFF THE PRESS Superpower Showdown by Bob Davis and Lingling Wei - HarperCollins India 20 HOT OFF THE PRESS THAROOROSAURUS by Shashi Tharoor - Penguin India 24 HOT OFF THE PRESS THE RSS and the making of THE DEEP NATION by Dinesh Narayanan - Penguin India 26 HOT OFF THE PRESS The Final Act Of Love - Thrill Bytes - Manjiri Prabhu 27 HOT OFF THE PRESS Making India Great by Aparna Pande - HarperCollins India 28 MIND & PEACE CORNER Minding our mind in Covid-19 - Gagandeep Siidhu 30 STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE Living Abroad Changes Your Life Forever - Mansi Mehta 36 MIND & PEACE CORNER Quieting the Cacophony of the Mind - Swati Agrawal 46
STORIZEN POETRY Bagged by Love - Vidya Shankaral 74 STORIZEN POETRY The Charring Twig - Shubhashish Kerketta 76 BOOK REVIEW Slices of Life by Richa Gupta - Swapna Peri 68 BOOK REVIEW Love Jihadis by Mihir Srivastava and Raul Irani - Swapna Peri 64 STORIZEN POETRY The Unseen World - Nikesh Jain 73 STORIZEN INTERVIEW Shital Kakkar Mehra - Author, Executive Presence - Swapna Peri 52 BOOK REVIEW Oop & Lila - Lost in Scarabean Sea by Olivier Lafont - Swapna Peri 60 STORIZEN POETRY My Luminous Love... - Madhumathi H. 72
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You can also be a contributor Mail us your entries at Your smart ideas and inputs help us create our informative issues. from the editor

Ibelieve in everything until it's disproved. so I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists even if all in your mind

We are all surrounded by stories of Gods and Godesses We are somewhere influenced too with the scriptures no matter which religion or region.

We are delighted to feature one of the pioneers of mythology genre in Indian Literature in the English language - Anand Neelakantan. His latest book in the famous Baahubali franchise, Chaturanga: (Baahubali: Before the Beginning) which is also being made into a Netflix web series. Do chck out the exclusive feature on Page 8.

For our reader friends, like always, there are new hottest releases to soothe your reading itch.

We are glad to get a wonderful response for our new column, Mind & Peace Corner. Minding our minds during the Covid-19 by Gagandeep Siidhu - an internationally acclaimed Life & Law of attraction Master Coach also the owner/founder of

This issue is packed with wonderful poetry, an awesome travel experience, book reviews which you would not like to miss!

Finally, before signing off, I would request everyone to keep yourselves updated about the Coronavirus Pandemic and please stay safe!

Happy Reading!

Saurabh Chawla, Editor in Chief editor@storizen com


Anand Neelakantan

A Storizen Exclusive Feature

Anand Neelakantan is one of the pioneers who introduced Mythology genre in the Indian English Literature! After writing for TV, OTT series, and many books, he is back with his latest book in the famous Baahubali Franchise, Chaturanga: Baahubali Before the Beginning!

"A good king is always prepared to attack, but a great king is always prepared to defend."Everybody has seen the Ramayana, the Mahabharata from the hero's point of view. What's the fun that?" says Anand Neelakantan, author of the Baahubali trilogy series whose second book Chaturanga (Baahubali: Before the Beginning) is just launched.

Talking about the latest book Chaturanga, the book is all about

the survival of a woman in the ruthless world of politics. "This is a trilogy. This is the second book so this forms the middle portion of the series. So here we will see Sivagami continue her journey but now the stakes are much higher. She has to earn her position as she is thrown into the world of the ruthless politics. Any age, it is difficult for a woman to survive in the man's world in the dark era of medieval politics, it is going to be tough and grim for Sivagami."

"Everybody has seen the Ramayana, the Mahabharata from the hero's point of view. What's the fun that?"
Anand Neelakantan

Sometimes you don't make the choices

Anand has been chosen as the author of the month by Amazon. "Any writer take a huge responsibility of telling the story of such a successful franchise, I was also quiet tensed but fortunately the book 1 and now the book 3 has been accepted quite very well going by the positive reviews the book 1 was most remarkable book of 2017 and I hope this book be that of 2020 as per Amazon."

Initially he was tensed to write on such a successful franchisee like Baahubali, but he was delighted that fortunately the book has been widely accepted. "It is not that I chose the name Baahubali. It is the part of the official film series. This book was commissioned by the producers and the directors of the Film S. S. Rajamouli, you cannot put any other name because this is

the part of the original film. This is the prequel to the story which was told in the film. This is also becoming a Netflix series with the same name Baahubali: Before the Beginning."

The Mythological Connection

Being born and grew up in a place where Puranas were and still a part and parcel of life, he is always connected to the mythology. "For me, Puranas are something I grew up with. It is dissolved in my blood. I grew up in a place where this was and still is a part and parcel of life. The research is not something I do by searching on Google or by looking at Wikipedia. My stories are based on plenty of folk tales especially from South India and it has the backing of so many bygone writers and folk artists who have dared to tell these stories in their

For me, Puranas are something I grew up with. It is dissolved in my blood.

own fashion." In Kerala where Anand grew up in, there is tradition that the mythology is still in their tradition. He says that there is a tradition of telling these old stories through performing arts, or by oral or verbal storytelling, so the research is not that much required. "Mythology is not something which I have to sit and research. It is something as I said, is dissolved in my blood. It has been passed on from my ancestors. These tales has been told by many Indian writers in Indian classical languages like Sanskrit, Tamil, Malyalam, Kannada etc. It is not that I am directly translating them and it is not that Indian languages have not gone into. What I am bringing in is my own unique style and in English."

When his first book in mythology, Asura, came into the market, there was no place for mythological genre or we can say that it was nonexistent. "I didn't calculate the odds because I was not gambling. I was just writing what I was passionate about

When I was writing Asura, now


Asura is in its 9th year, when I was writing Asura that was almost 5 years ago, because it took 6 to 7 years to write the book and 2 to 3 years to get it published.

So I started the work around 15 years back. There was not this trend of mythology books in Indian English. Mostly it was Romance that used to sell. It was not a market oriented writing it happened that I wrote Asura and it coincided with the Rise of the Mythological Genre in the Indian English writing.

Perhaps I can arguably claim that I was one of the pioneers who started this genre and made this popular."

The Political Connection

As the book is showcasing the struggle of Sivagami and her

survival in the ruthless world of politics, we wanted to dive deep into the Chaturanga. He explained that Chaturanga is a game more like Ludo rather than chess. Usually we mix Chess politics together but here, things are slightly different.

"Chaturanga is an ancient game very similar to Ludo rather than Chess. This was to be taught to the princes because it represented life or the skills which a prince should have. In life it is always a combination of skills and luck, Chaturanga is like that. You throw the dice and then you make the moves and then your opponent throws the dice and make the moves based on the dice and your moves and the game escalates. So Chaturanga is the representation of politics.

Chaturanga is an ancient game very similar to Ludo rather than Chess. This was to be taught to the princes because it represented life or the skills which a prince should have.


People at the different place, rolling their dice, trying their luck, and using their skills, to come to the top of the game. It is to this ruthless world, I have thrown the hero Sivagami into."

It's all about the characters

Building the characters is a tough task especially when you have to go back in history.

Anand has his own way of developing the intriguing characters. He says, "Every character is difficult to develop. But once you develop them it is easy to write about them provided you live enough with them So what i do is I live with m characters for many months or years and they speak to me. It is like transcribing their words and thoughts once I have sufficient lived. Bhadra was a tough characterization, and so was Sugreeva in Vanara. In Baahubali series the tough character was Katappa." "Whenever I write a book, I try to give the maximum

importance to the emotions of the characters. I love putting them in tough spots and see how they react. So to give an experience of life is what I intend to do with any of my book. So that is what I have achieved in this book and I hope I have achieved that going by the reaction that I am getting." He added.

"So many people are told the Ramayana and Mahabharata from the hero's side. What is the fun in doing that? And these characters was quite fascinating for me because of the grayness in their character. They appeared more humane than the God I felt more connected to these because of their flaws. they were apt material for writing tragedies which these three books are based on."

Life as a Writer

After his full fledged career as an Engineer, now Anand says that he has taken a sabbatical.


He has transitioned himself into a full time writer and there are several projects with him.

"I have almost become a full time writer and I am on a sabbatical. All I do is to read and write. Otherwise I would not have achieved what I have achieved so far. I have written 6 books in English, one in Malayalam, another 3 books are coming up in one year which I have completed, I had written almost 500 episodes of TV that is around 300 hours of content and also 2 OTT series. I write regular columns in newspapers and I also give professional corporate lectures in colleges so it is a full fledged writing life and it is not that I am balancing it out, I am fully into writing."

He writes about two to three hours on a good day and makes sure that he is writing at least one hour any day. "I write early in the morning when everybody is sleeping. I don't write more than 2 to 3

hours a day. Rest of the time I spend my time reading something, watching some shows all are part of my writing rituals, I walk a lot, and think a lot, and putting into paper is then just a procedure as most of my stories are formed in my mind. especially the characters while I walk."

"I always wanted to write. I didn't think of the pros and cons of writing about Ravana or anything else. I just wrote whatever I wanted to write and lot of struggle was to get it published. almost two years went on searching almost 18 rejections and all but finally when it clicked everything happened together then things starting falling in place. I was invited to write big television shows. Now I have completed writing two scripts in this lockdown period. So lot of things are coming and family has been always supportive of that."


On his books

Life of Anand is like an open book and he doesn't intend to give any message through any of his books. He says that it's rather a mirror that shows the reflection of the reader 's mindset. " So it is not a message, it is not a billboard to advertise my message, rather it is a mirror to see your own deep thoughts that is what I strive to achieve through my books."

Upon asking his favorite book that he has written, Anand gave an instant remark. "It is like asking who is your favorite child to a father. It is impossible to answer but the book that gave me the greatest satisfaction was the rise of Kali."

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(As told to Pria)

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.


Political intrigue is astir in the land of Mahishmathi. After the failed coup staged by the Vaithalikas, Sivagami finds herself elevated to the position of bhoomipathi, from where she can more ably pursue her burning goal to avenge her father’s death. Meanwhile, there is a tussle between the two sons of the maharaja of Mahishmathi for the crown. And behind the scenes, a wily, skilled player of the political game moves the pieces to topple the king, Somadeva.Will the maharaja—usually able to match wits with the best of them prevail? Or will one of his many enemies finally be able to best him at this game of Chaturanga?Set against a backdrop of ambition, love, loyalty, passion and greed, the second book in the Bāhubali: Before the Beginning series is a twist-a-minute page-turner— riveting and deeply satisfying.


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In Tharoorosaurus, he shares fifty-three examples from his vocabulary: unusual words from every letter of the alphabet. You don't have to be a linguaphile to enjoy the fun facts and interesting anecdotes behind the words! Be ready to impress-and say goodbye to your hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia!


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SHASHI THAROOR is the bestselling author of twenty books, both fiction and non-fiction, besides being a noted critic and columnist. His books include the pathbreaking satire The Great Indian Novel (1989), the classic India: From Midnight to the Millennium (1997), the bestselling An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India, for which he won the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism, 2016, for Books (NonFiction), and The Paradoxical Prime Minister: Narendra Modi and His India.


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inding our minds during the COVID-19

Last few months have been quite emotionally as well as physically draining for all us.

ears about COVID-19 has taken an emotional toll, especially when we are already living with stress & anxiety. But you’re not powerless.

It’s a frightening time. We’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, with cities and even entire countries shutting down. As we are moving to Unlock stages, we are bracing for what may come. And all of us are watching the headlines and wondering, “What is going to happen next?”

"There are so many things outside of our control, including how long the pandemic lasts, how other people behave, and what’s going to happen in our communities."

These can be difficult times for all of us as we hear about spread of COVID-19 from all over the world, through television, social media, newspapers, family and friends and other sources. The most common emotion faced by all is Fear. It makes us anxious, panicky and can even possibly make us think, say or do things that we might not consider appropriate under normal circumstances.

For many people, the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus is the hardest thing to handle. We don’t know how exactly we’ll be impacted or how bad things might get And that makes it all too easy to catastrophize and spiral out into overwhelming dread and panic. But there are many things you can do even in the face of this unique crisis to manage your anxiety and fears.

Stay informed but don’t obsessively check the news

It’s vital to stay informed, particularly about what’s happening in your local area, so you can follow advised


safety precautions and do your part to slow the spread of coronavirus which is to stay home. But there’s a lot of misinformation & fake news going around, as well as sensationalistic coverage that only feeds into fear.

• Step away from media & Stick to trustworthy sources. Constant monitoring of news and social media feeds can quickly fuel anxiety rather than easing it.If anxiety is an ongoing issue, consider limiting your media consumption to a specific time frame and time of day (Ex. I spend 10 mins at 10 am & 7pm)

Focus on the things you can control

Remember, good mental status in the difficult times may win you the battle more easily!

• Ask someone reliable to share important updates. If you’d feel better avoiding media entirely, ask someone you trust to pass along any major updates you need to know about

• Be careful what you share. Do your best to verify information before passing it on. We all need to do our part to avoid spreading rumours and creating unnecessary panic. Also, please avoid sharing any hate message since we are diverse culture.

There are so many things outside of our control, including how long the pandemic lasts, how other people behave, and what’s going to happen in our communities. That’s a tough thing to accept, and so many of us respond by endlessly searching the Internet for answers and thinking over all the different scenarios that might happen. When you feel yourself getting caught up in fear of what might happen, try to shift your focus to things you can control. For example, you can’t control how severe the coronavirus outbreak is in your city or town, but you can take steps to reduce your own personal risk such as:

• washing your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds) with soap and water or a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.

• Using proper protective gear when stepping out


• avoiding touching your face (particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth).

• staying home as much as possible, even if you don’t feel sick

• getting plenty of sleep, which helps support your immune system.

•following all recommendations from health authorities.

Stay connected—even when physically isolated

The biggest thing that most people can do right now to make a positive difference is to practice social distancing. But social distancing comes

with its own risks. Humans are social animals. We’re hardwired for connection. Isolation and loneliness can exacerbate anxiety and depression, and even impact our physical health

• Make it a priority to stay in touch with friends and family by scheduling regular phone, chat or video call to counteract that tendency.

• Social media can be a powerful tool not only for connecting with friends, family, and acquaintances but for feeling connected in a greater


sense to our communities, country, and the world. It reminds us we’re not alone.

• That said, be mindful of how social media is making you feel. Don’t hesitate to log off if it’s making you feel worse.

• Don’t let coronavirus dominate every conversation

Take care of your body and spirit

• Be kind to yourself. Go easy on yourself if you’re experiencing more depression or anxiety than usual. You’re not alone in your struggles.

• Maintain a routine as best you can. Even if you’re stuck at home, try to stick to your regular sleep, meal, or work schedule. This can help you maintain a sense of normalcy.

• Take time out for activities you enjoy Read a good book, watch a comedy, play a fun board or video game, make something whether it’s a new recipe, a craft, or a piece of art. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it takes you out of your worries.

• Find ways to exercise. Staying active will help you release anxiety, relieve stress, and manage your mood.

•Take up a relaxation practice. Regular practice delivers the greatest benefits, so see if you can set aside even a little time every day. @positivemindstv


Be Kind & Help others

It’s no coincidence that those who focus on others in need and support their communities, especially during times of crises, tend to be happier and healthier than those who act selfishly. Helping others not only makes a difference to your community and even to the wider world at this time it can also support your own mental health and well-being.

Reach out to others in need. You can help older adults, low-income families, and others in need by donating food or cash by connecting with local authorities

Be a calming influence. If friends or loved ones are panicking, try to help them gain some perspective on the situation.Being a positive, uplifting influence in these anxious times can help you feel better about your own situation too.

Be kind to others. With the right outlook and intentions, we can all ensure that kindness and charity spread throughout our communities even faster than this virus.

Remember, good mental status in the difficult times may win you the battle more easily!

Stay Home Stay Safe Love & Gratitude, #VitaminG - Lifecoach GaganSidhu

Gagandeep Siidhu is a Internationally acclaimed Life & Law of attraction Master Coach also the owner/founder of He has excellent knowledge in human psychology and behaviour with immense interest for working with different people to enhance their life and mindset. Gagandeep Siidhu brings a wealth of knowledge of both people & organisational development alongside his expertise in Law of attraction, CBT & NLP techniques. He is also an author with more than 50+ Blogs, his articles are being published on various newspapers in across India and has been featured in magazines and online talk shows on Mental Health & LOA. He has a keen interest and life’s mission to spread positivity and create awareness around the importance of Mental well being in today’s chaotic lifestyle. He conducts 1 on 1 as well corporate sessions on various topics ranging from Parenting, Lifestyle, Stress Management, Relationships, Leadership, Happiness, Anxiety and stress management which helps people develop life skills and enjoy life


Living Abroad Changes Your Life Forever

The idea of living abroad always seemed fancy and fascinating to me when I was a kid. I always dreamt of flying and seeing things foreign and beautiful. During my childhood, I would get excited when my NRI relatives visit us in India and bring fancy gifts and chocolates. The wires of my brain were so fixed that foreign land is no less than a paradise. Over time, when I started traveling abroad for short and leisure trips, this perception began to haze out. This whole idea of living abroad stopped amusing me because nothing beats the vast and colorful culture of our homeland, “India.” But life always has different plans.

I’ve been living in San Francisco, California, for a few years now, and I’m not a foreign citizen. While living abroad takes so much away from you, it also benefits you in so many ways. It is not less than a privilege, and not many people get to experience it. At the start of your journey, you don’t realize how fantastic or tough it will be. You only think about moving to a new place and how you’re going to feel. But, the real picture comes into play when you start living in a new place, especially in a new country. While moving abroad goes parallel with learning new things, it also changes your perspective about life. Despite adjusting with the cultural shock, it also teaches you many lessons you never learned before. You’re not going to be the same person you were back at home.

New People, New Connections

By living in one country for half of your life, you subconsciously become selfobsessed in your beliefs and your set of friends. But, when you move to a


new country, you expose yourself to a new place, to new and diverse mindsets. And, everybody has a story and an experience to share. However, it might not be possible that you get along with everyone, but it pushes you to communicate with new people without prejudice. When you connect with them, you learn about their culture, and eventually, you end up empathizing with their stories.

24x7 Challenges

Leaving behind your family and friends can never be easy; it takes courage to move abroad in the first place. The challenges start from the very beginning when you decide to move and go on till forever. From renting a house to getting groceries to running daily errands to managing the office. You are all on your own. However, it can turn out to be quite beneficial as you become more aware of the smallest of things.

You Start to Appreciate Home

No matter how fancy “living Abroad” may seem, there is nothing like the warmth of India, our people, our

colorful culture. You’re going to miss the celebration, the joy, the festivities, the happiness infused in the streets of India especially during festivals. The Halloween glees cannot beat the fiveday celebration and festivities during Diwali in India. You can have all the luxuries of your life while staying abroad, but you probably won’t get to feel the warmth. The fun of having golgappas at a street hawker cannot match with the mundanity of having hash brown in a fine-dine restaurant.

You Discover Yourself

As cliché as it sounds, it is true. You are never going to spend as much time alone as you do when you live abroad. While living abroad brings so much independence, it paves a path for you to unfold your true self. You connect with yourself in a profound manner, which further expands your mental horizons. You learn to deal with things on your own, which ultimately teaches you a lot. You face the most difficult times of your life alone while living abroad, but you eventually come out stronger and develop a wiser & clearer sense of self.



The concept of personal space varies in different countries. While most of the population in the east gives less importance to personal space and privacy, the people in the west are highly respectful of privacy & personal space. It is considered “rude” here to call an employee if he/she is on holiday or even after office hours. While you learn to respect each other’s personal space when you stay abroad, you equally miss the gossip sessions since there are no “Pados-Wali Aunties” to intrude into your lives.

New Perspective of the Whole World

Living abroad changes your complete outlook towards life. The change in pace and change in the quality of life brings so much change in your mindset. You become more accepting of different people and cultures and ultimately realize that people around the world are the same. No matter what prejudice you had of the world before you moved, you will become a different person with a changed outlook. Living in a different country unfolds your true self, and you will gain a different perspective of the world altogether.

Born and raised in Delhi, Mansi currently lives in San Francisco. She is fueled by her passion for understanding the nuances of crosscultural public relations and marketing. She considers herself a ‘forever learner’ and always keen on learning new ways to work on ordinary things.

Speaking of hobbies, home decor, gardening, and art are what keeps her sane. All the colors make her happy, but yellow is her favorite.

She is “her people” person and cannot be an extrovert all the time. It takes special people who she can be herself with; otherwise, she is entirely a “quiet” person.

She is still on her way to know herself better!

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Road Trip to Our Paradise

Being an adventure freak and travel enthusiast, I believe travel has the power to heal and it certainly ignites a strong sense of purpose in me.

Venturing into unexplored territories, meeting new people has helped me embrace life. One such life-changing experience was my recent road trip to Leh Ladakh.

We were 8 ordinary individuals (I along with my 7 friends) navigating through the backdrop of snow-clad mountains, appealing valley,passing through the most picturesque places on earth our journey covered Srinagar, Sonmarg, Kargil, Leh/ Ladakh.

Personally, it was a dream come true for me, to ride a bullet (old heritage, mean machine, which

is not a bike but an emotion to the cult followers) in the Himalayas. Through this piece, I would want to take you through the less traversed roads and share a few emotions I went through while navigating through prominent places that were being visited.

Guarded Journey from Srinagar to Kargil

The distance from Srinagar to Kargil is approximately 205 kms. Witnessing the beauty around within travel of just a few kilometers, we realized that the drive to Sonmarg is going to be the most scenic journey. During our journey, we witnessed orchards (apple & cherries), a garden of pine trees. We also observed there were a lot of army men who were posted every 50 meters on difficult terrains just to ensure the area is safe for tourists to hang around freely


On enquiring, we were informed the situation had improved quite a bit compared to a decade ago. During this, I realised how fortunate and blessed we all were and keep cribbing about petty issues of life Having witnessed the tough conditions in the valley and hearing the problems faced by the locals in their daily lives we prayed that the tension in the area gets over as soon as possible so that if not his generation, their next-generation gets to witness normal life and enjoy the comfort and freedom we all possess. The Sonmarg valley was mesmerizing with the snowcapped Himalayas. Sonmarg means 'meadow of gold' and is fully covered in snow in months up to April and looks beautiful with the backdrop of snow-clad mountains, Sindhu/ Indus river, and Thajiwas Glacier

With the appealing, beauteous valley and snow-clad mountains/ glacier and lush green surroundings, even the worst of photographers would end up capturing mind-blowing pictures of the landscape that was on the offering We continued our journey and reached Drass, the second coldest inhabited place on earth, which is also famous for the epicenter of the Kargil war that took place in 1999.

Emotional Journey through Kargil War Memorial: Kargil War Memorial (‘KWM’) is built on the foothills of Tololong Hill -alongside the Tiger Hill, in the memory of our martyrs who gave the supreme sacrifice for our motherland in the Kargil war. The road we took to reach KWM was the Indian national highway (NH 1/ 1A) connecting Srinagar to Leh cutting through Kargil. As we rode, our memory flashed images of Kargil war and how our brave soldiers foiled the plan of intruders to capture the highway whose strategic importance we are all aware of. As proud citizens, we were getting goosebumps by just imagining the valiant effort put in by our brave army men, in hostile


conditions due to difficult terrain.The path that leads us to the memorial of our brave jawans is nicely decorated/ surrounded by India flags, has a huge epitaph with names of all the officers and soldiers who were martyred. The fluttering sound of the flag gives you the kick of patriotism, which cannot be explained KWM also displays a howitzer gun, MIG plane, and Bofors gun. With moist eyes, we realised that our jawans are the real heroes who live by the word and go through any extent just for the pure love for our country and loyalty towards it. No amount of praise, respect, wealth, flashy words can do justice to the supreme sacrifice that these brave jawans do for our country. Our martyred jawans are truly immortal who always held their love for motherland superior to heaven or worldly material things/ pleasures.

Blissful Journey through Gurudwara Sri Pathhar Sahib:

Just a few kms away from the magnetic hill, there is Gurudwara Sri Pathar Sahib, which has gained prominence and is told to be built in the memory of Guru


Nanak. It is believed that sometime during the 15th century (period of 151518) while returning to Punjab from Tibet, Guru Nanak Devji rested for a while at this place.

Based on local records, it is said that there was a wicked demon who used to trouble the people staying in the region and ate them after killing. Terrified, the people prayed to the almighty for seeking help. Guru Nanak Devji settled on the banks on the river below the hill and blessed them with his grace. The locals called Guru Nanak Devji, ‘Nanak Lama’ and were quite happy to have his divine presence around. Seeing this, the demon got furious and decided to kill Guru Nanak Dev by pushing a large rock (boulder), down from the hilltop. The boulder on touching Guru Nanak Devji’s body, while tumbling down at great velocity, came to halt and turned into a soft wax

The demon was shocked to seek Guru Nanak Devji alive and kicked the boulder to push and kill Guru Nanak, instead, his foot got embedded in the wax-like boulder.

The story of the re-birth of this Gurudwara, goes something like this: In the 1970s, while construction of the LehNimu road was on-going, inspite of all the efforts the holy boulder couldn’t be moved. When the workers/ army men were informed about the sacred rock and Guru Nanak Devji’s past incident by local


Lamas, a Gurudwara was built. The holy site came to be known as Gurudwara Sri Pathhar Sahib. The most prominent aspect this Gurudwara is that it is located at an altitude of 12,000 feet and is managed by the Indian Army. This very Gurudwara has a huge rock with the imprint of Guru Nanak Devji’s body and demon’s footprint.

All regions have one objective and preaching which is: live a truthful life with purpose, believe in one God (who is the creator of the universe), respect others, and have high moral standards. We all sunk in the blissful environment and offered our prayers to the almighty. Like every place of worship, divine energies/ vibes and calmness embraced us from all around, so we spent extra time before Guru Granth Sahib. We also had food/ langar (food prepared in community kitchen) that was being served by the army men to all the visitors irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, gender, ethnicity or economic status of individuals. There was a lot to learn from the entire atmosphere for each one of us.

After spending a blissful time at the Gurudwara, we headed to cover other local places of interest.

The journey of contentment and borderless love:

While we were heading to Turtuk, we came across 2 kids who were crossing to the other side of the rusty iron bridge. I stopped by and started interacting with them. I found them extremely friendly, innocently charming and cute I couldn’t resist but got playing with them as was smitten by their simplicity. This place taught mea great lesson of life i.e. to observe and learn how people with just bare necessities, no visibility on their future are divinely happy and satisfied with whatever comes their way, then be it strangers, harsh weather, almighty’s grace or attacks by unfriendly neighbors. They just do not complain at all and seem to be devoid of any visible stress in life. After getting enlightened in the cute company of the kids, we headed to Turtuk, which was just a stone’s throw away from the bridge.

Turtuk is a remote village, that is only 2.2 kms away from the LoC (India Pakistan border). This village earlier was under Pakistan’s control and only after the Indo-Pak war in 1971, it became part of India. The people of this village speak Balti, the language that is a mixture of 2 languages, Tibetan and Persian.


After walking a few meters, we reached the northernmost village of India called the Thang village. Interestingly, before 1971 the twin villages namely Thang and Pharnu (now on Pakistan side) were in India and people used to stay at one place and work at the other place. But after the war in the year 1971, on December 16th and 17th, the villages were separated by the LoC and ironically the families were separated and till date, there are members from the same family that are living in two different countries and are divided by borders.Extremely sad, but true. This 10-day trip has potentially transformed my life, giving me new perspectives and turning me into an author before I could even come out of the trip hangover.

Kamlesh Kaltari, a Chartered Accountant by profession, is social and fun-loving young chap who loves to travel with friends and family. He likes to spend quality time with near and dear ones and loves to explore new things be it food, places, adventure activities, languages, creating own recipes, organising events etc. This is his amateur attempt to share his travel experience and spread the joy of giving, through this book.


Quieting the Cacophony of the Mind

Swati Moheet Agrawal is a freelance writer based in Mumbai, India. She has contributed to the Times of India,Café DissensusEveryday,Indian Economy & Market Magazine and India’s premier mind-body-soul magazine, Life Positive. When she's not reading or writing, she likes to engage in creative pursuits like decoupage artwork She also has a penchant for aimless walks and deep starry skies. She can be contacted at

ometimes all we hear are thoughts, a barrage of thoughts flitting in and out of our minds.There is a constant inner monologue that refuses to die down.The monkey mind jumps from one fragmented thought to another. It’s literally a swarm inside our heads. It is said that the average human mind churns out 60,000 thoughts per day Sometimes it gets so noisy in there that we desperately ache to drown out the din. Some of us even resort to sedatives to calm our frayed nerves.

Nagging thoughts about health, finances, relationships and work can leave us feeling frazzled.

Running errands, tending to the elderly,managing children, thoughts centered around bodyimage,world news, Instagram feed, Facebook feed, even thoughts about fixing a leaky faucet or flickering tube light can overwhelm us.It appears as if modern life is designed to seduce our attention.

Much like a tape-recorder, the mind plays the same thoughts over and over again. We get sucked into this labyrinth of thoughts that interferes with our ability to be firmly anchored in the present moment. For instance, you go to the kitchen, you open the refrigerator, you

"Much like a taperecorder, the mind plays the same thoughts over and over again. We get sucked into this labyrinth of thoughts that interferes with our ability to be firmly anchored in the present moment."

wait for a while, not knowing why you opened it in the first place. Consider another scenario: You are conversing with a friend over the phone, but time to time your mind floats away, until your friend yanks you out of your reverie.

We miss out on the beauty of everyday moments because we are always on autopilot. There are so many opportunities to savour moments: How many of us make time to watch the sun sink? How many of us spare a moment to admire the starstudded night sky? These are beautiful ways to disengage with the mind. Make a conscious effort to disconnect, easier said than done, especially when innumerable thoughts are jostling for attention, when the mind is riddled with fears, doubts, anxiety and stress. However, if you intentionally make time to drink in your surroundings, you will begin to notice how it gets fairly quieter inside.

The Quiet Manifesto:

Nobody ever stopped overthinking because they were told to stop overthinking. However, overthinking can become pathological in severe cases. Below are strategies to quieten the mind, if not eliminate the noise completely:

Take interest in things outside of yourself: Pay attention to the moon and you will realize you’re a tiny speck in the Universe The

To quote Blaise Pascal, “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Universe was here long before you were born and it will be here long after you die. It has very little to do with you or your problems; incidentally, it is our ego that magnifies our problems. The only way to find peace is to stop focusing too much on ourselves. Life does not revolve around us;


everything in life is not about us.Furthermore, how can we arrive at a solution if we are lost in the energy of a problem? We have to learn to objectively see our problems instead of being entangled in them.

Get to know people, get genuinely interested in people, it might give you a whole new perspective. Practice listening wholeheartedly, you will be able to see the world through another’s eyes, you will be able to view things from a different vantage point.

Be frivolous: A little frivolity never killed anyone There is always time to be frivolous. Infuse your life with a bit of madness. Turn your attention to something lighter, for example, acting out a silly commercial can elevate your mood. Singing along to a nonsensical song or practicing tongue twisters can raise your spirits. Small bursts of endorphins rejuvenate a weary mind.

Turn to spiritual teachings–While you are alive, you are going to have to deal

with some tumultuous times. Watching motivational videos or reading inspiring literature can make you rethink the way you communicate with yourself. Whether it’s watching a TED talk or familiarizing yourself with scriptures, whether it’s listening to a spiritual Guruor chanting powerful mantras, consuming positive information will make you aware of your thoughts, and empower you to think straight.Moreover, as you begin to immerse yourself into spirituality, you will gradually stop defining what you like and what you dislike – you will begin to enjoy all of life.


Surrender control - The compulsive need to figure everything out robs us of peace.Creating thought after thought is a massive expenditure of energy. For example, if you spend your time hoping it doesn’t rain when you step out to walk, you are wasting energy The day will unfold the way it is supposed to unfold, irrespective of your incessant mental chatter. More often than not, life happens in accordance with forces far outside our control. You can think about it all you want, but life is going to happen exactly the way it is meant to happen.

Art and Craft – You can change the way you handle life’s curve balls with a little help from crafts. Repetitive activities like knitting help break the train of everyday thought Sculpting can help release pent-up emotions Gardening can help vent aggression.

Engaging in creative activities is both enjoyable and downright therapeutic, too. You are likely to lose track of time. Your mind is oriented to the present moment. Whether it’s sewing or sospeso art, scrap booking or decoupage art, creative endeavors distract

the mind, relax the body and soothe the soul. Creating something new or remodeling old things is a great way to decompress from everyday pressures.

Reclaim the lost art of lingering–Today, take time to linger Observe that newly-opened velvety hibiscus, sit up and take notice of that evening bird singing in the tree, take in the scent of mud after it rains, listen to the murmur of the wind, watch the moon play hide and seek with clouds, slow down and taste your food, feel the wind in your hair – it is okay to let yourself lie fallow sometimes.

Learn from nature. Adopt the pace of nature. Nature doesn’t hurry yet accomplishes everything:Sometimes hope is a wildflower growing through concrete, sometimes resilience is a lotus flourishing through filth, andsometimes patience is the time it takes for the crescent moon to become full.

Try a digital fast–We take better care of our smartphones than we do of ourselves. We ensure our


phones are charged but we hardly care to charge and recharge ourselves.

While social media is a wonderful platform for learning and marketing, it also feeds our obsession with other people’s lives, and sometimes, we end up playing paparazzi in our own lives.

We have lost the capacity to be alone.If you are heavily addicted to digital devices, begin with an hour a day of being completely unplugged. Remove apps from your home screen. Turn off WiFi on your phone. Turn off your phone for a few hours You don’t need to be available or accessible 24*7.Digital detox is as essential as body detox.

Make time to go within - Our focus is so much on the outside that we have become totally oblivious to the inside. If used consciously, the same mental voice that has been a source of anxiety, stress and general neurosis can become a rich source of spiritual awakening and liberation.

We all need periods of disengagement – it is the need of the hour. Find a corner in your home, sit quietly - no gadgets, no books, no distractions Shut the world out and allow silence to take over. As you start spending time in silence, all the debris will come

floating to the surface, but eventually it will settle down, you will find peace and clarity.

Thoughts are really like visitors, let them come and go. As you retreat into silence, all kind of thoughts will come to the fore, do not resist them or try to squash them, be a witness and simply observe them.

Silence is more important now than ever. A few moments of uninterrupted peace and quiet can help you pull yourself together. In fact, answers to life’s mysteries can be unraveled in silence.

Disengage, then re-engage with a full heart and calm mind.

To quote Blaise Pascal, “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone ”


Author, Executive Presence, The P.O.I.S.E Formula for Leadership

Shital Kakkar Mehra

When and how did this idea to bring forward the importance of etiquette especially in the corporate world happen?

The liberalization reforms introduced in the 1990s started showing results by 2001. But sadly, accepted corporate culture had declined sharply. Our educational system focused only on the final percentage score in the field of specialization neglecting to deliver professionals with superior communication skills or ability to present themselves with confidence and authority. This led to executives lacking in the soft skills needed for success in the business world. Keeping this in mind, I wrote my first book and it became a best-seller which sold over 55,000 copies globally and got translated into several Indian languages.

I have read your first book in 2013 during a Corporate Etiquette session held in my company which I was working. The book was a perfect guide to the employees and much more than a self-help book to new joiners.


What incidents or experiences helped you to perfectly articulate the topics covered in the book?

By the time I wrote the first book, I was already conducting workshops for India Inc. for over a decade and has interacted with more than 20,000 professionals across job functions and industries. Also, my columns in leading newspapers were much appreciated and readers wrote back asking for more information. Based on the reader’s queries and questions asked by the participants during my workshops, I wrote my first book. The book was appreciated by corporate professional and was endorsed by eminent business leaders.

In regards to a booming multinational culture in the corporate world, there are many employees in and outside our country who come from different social and cultural backgrounds. How much does a book or an



interactive session help them in understanding the importance of Business Etiquette and use it for their professional growth?

Personally, I feel it’s a wonderful time to be an Indian professional as our professionals have won a lot of respect across the world. Today, Indians are conducting business, interacting with global clients, communicating with international vendors and are doing business with every country on this planet.

In the past two decades, Indian professionals have worked hard to upgrade their understanding of global cultures and have learnt to appreciate cultural nuances. Today, as more and

more business is conducted using technology, an understanding of influencing stakeholders over a video-chat, telecom or email has become extremely important.

To emerge as game changers what is that one thing, in particular, a person must focus on?

Unquestionably, it’s your ability to articulate a thought and communicate it effectively to your audience. To this, add your ability to listen effectively and it completes the picture. While it sounds simple, it requires a lot of effort and focus to achieve.

Unquestionably, it’s your ability to articulate a thought and communicate it effectively to your audience.

In the book, 'Executive Presence' in the last section - The Art of Building Relationships two topics enticed me. One is Working with virtual teams and other Communicating with Global teams. During these pandemic times where almost every company is offering the Work From Home' option, what are the major guidelines that an employee of every level should take care?

Invest in infrastructure – superior wifi, noise-canceling headphones, good lighting over your workspace, desk at the right height, a good laptop and an ergonomically designed chair.


Response time: stick with your work schedule and remain accessible to your clients, bosses and teams, ensuring response time remains unchanged regardless of where you are operating from.


Inculcate self-discipline: Define your work hours, dress for work and stick to your scheduleseamless transition from office to WFH will ensure productivity and profit.


Convey professionalism:

Enhance your verbal and vocal presence to convey energy and enthusiasm during a video/audio call. Also, focus on maintaining a strong work ethic to show your interest in doing business and getting ahead.

Network using technology:

Schedule e-meetings with colleagues, teams, bosses, clients, potential clients, etc. Use technology to maintain your online visibility and stay on other people’s radar.

In the past two decades, Indian professionals have worked hard to upgrade their understanding of global cultures and have learnt to appreciate cultural nuances.

Shital Kakkar Mehra, India's leading Executive Presence coach and bestselling author, has trained numerous CEOs and star performers over the last two decades. In this book, she has shared her proven POISE formula for success; tools to help you maximize your potential and fast-track your career to the coveted role of a CEO. Executive Presence is the mysterious 'it' factor in leadership. How do you present yourself? Are you assertive? Do you inspire confidence? How do you engage with stakeholders?

The above question was a reaction to a few viral videos in recent times in which some employees did not adhere to the basic etiquette of professional and formal attire. Will this kind of behavior result in their performance issues?

Honestly, you have to ensure that your visual resume sends a strong non-verbal message ‘I am serious’ and ‘I mean business’.

If you are dressed for relaxing, regardless of how powerful your words or your presentation maybe, you will not be able to convince anyone that you are ready to deliver to the highest standards. Also, clothes have a psychological impact and this is well-researched


and documented by social scientists. When you dress for work, you automatically shift gears to ‘work mode’ and when you are dressed for an evening out with your friends, your mind has switched to the ‘relaxed mode’ and is ready to party.

I have read some of your articles which inspired me and always wanted to ask you, how do you prepare yourself while taking up the sessions in corporate companies. Of course, as an experienced person, you are well aware but are there any incidents that really bothered you? How did you then cope up?

If you are dressed for relaxing, regardless of how powerful your words or your presentation maybe, you will not be able to convince anyone that you are ready to deliver to the highest standards.

I prepare a lot before each session and strongly recommend doing your homework. I work with the client’s team and ask them questions about the target group to be trained – their strengths, development gaps, age, educational background, industry, etc. Once I have received all the desired information, I go back to the drawing board and design a program where I can add value and leave the with messages that can help the build a powerful persona brand.

Keeping aside your profession and its related questions, how is Shital as a person? What are her favorites in; food/hobbies/books.

I am a quiet person who leads a simple life. I read a lot and spends every free minute with my family.



Shital Kakkar Mehra, India’s leading Executive Presence coach and bestselling author, has trained numerous CEOs and star performers over the last two decades. In this book, she has shared her proven POISE formula for success; tools to help you maximize your potential and fasttrack your career to the coveted role of a CEO.Executive Presence is the mysterious ‘it’ factor in leadership. How do you present yourself? Are you assertive? Do you inspire confidence? How do you engage with stakeholders?

(Interviewed by Swapna Peri)

(Tune into for full coverage)


Our Love for Oop and Lila: Lost in the Scarabean Sea



Sometimes but rarely it happens that I really like a book from the genre that I usually don't have a taste for. The same happened this time. What made me pick the book was the author’s reputation about his writing style and the interesting cover I liked the way how the story progresses and impresses the readers. The illustrations in the middle of the story in every chapter make the book more interesting to read I traveled back in time when I first read Alice in Wonderland. I saw myself traveling with Oop & Lila in their adventure. I also conversed with the pirate(s) in the story. This feeling is not so common when a book is read but thanks to the author for making the story so lively that I immediately got transported to the lands and seas of Scarebean.

What to expect

To escape from reality and the pretensions that everyone has been facing since the lockdown times, books like this which are actually meant to teenagers and young adults please the adults also. This book is full of fun, frolic, and adventure. The story is also informative. There are

scenes where the life lessons are taught in a subtle yet effective manner.

On the whole, this is a book that takes you the adventurous and fantasy world of Oop & Lila. There are unicorns, there are pirates, there are ogres and there is so much fun.


BOOK TITLE: Adventurous and attractive

BOOK COVER: Colorful and attractive

NARRATION: A very good writer with an excellent command on English Language

LANGUAGE & GRAMMAR: Clear and easily understandable

My Final VerdictA must read!


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!

B o o k R e v i e w
@swapna.peri @swapna508 @sappy_dreamz_unlimited

A Rational Book

My Review:

Reading this book is like coming out of the comfort zone after facing extreme raw reality. It was pricking, thoughtful, piercing, emotional, irritating, and comforting and left me speechless. I liked reading it. Even though it is relatively known or something that is not new, the punch lies in the way the authors narrated it. The book unveils layers like a flower. The authors describe every emotion and feeling that the people mentioned in the book underwent in such a realistic manner.

But what really is the truth behind love jihad, religious conversions, Hindutva or gau rakshaks? Why do the media carry sensational stories which provoke the communal sentiments thus leading to hostile situations? There are many incidents when media took the power into its hands, provided wrong and doctored information to gain attention and publicity but later when proved wrong have never come out and apologized or at least made a statement.

Unlike others, in this book as per the given information, facts, and factual details, the authors Mihir Srivastava and Raul Irani undertake a sincere

and painstaking journey through western UP Meerut, Deoband, Agra, Kairana, Mathura to find out the truth. The details gathered are hereby combined and presented in the book.

What to expect

This book 'Love Jihadis', pierces and digs deep into a range of interlinked issues political, structural, and psychological — to present a nuanced analysis of the phenomenon. With changed names in the book, incidents that reveal the drift between people due to religions even in this generation mostly in the parts of Uttar Pradesh are mentioned.

How good is the author's writing style

Authors Mihir and Rahul bring out this book to show that there exist two different sides of the same place in this New India. The focus is in the state of Uttar Pradesh which has been notoriously famous for religious riots in recent times.

In the book, the authors make it very clear that the contents of the book


Book Title

Interesting and thought-provoking

Book Cover

The cover image of the book is an artistic way of representing Islam and Hinduism which is found in equal amounts in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. The Trishul and the sacred beads represent the religions.

Who can read the book this book is for those readers who are courageous enough to see and understand the truth.

are not to investigate but, instead, provide an unbiased narrative of reality. It is this investigative manner the contents inside the book uncover and unveil shocking and surprising complications and traditions.

Final Verdict: A book to read with an open and rational mind.


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!


B o o k R e v i e w
@swapna508 @sappy_dreamz_unlimited

A Walk of Life

Slices of life discusses the emotions we deal with in life

A Taste of the Emotions

The book is a collection of stories that depict many emotions and feelings. There is love, there is distress, there is jealousy, there is death, there is sadness, there is greed and there is wrongdoing.


Book Title:

Endearing and interesting

Book Cover:

A colorful picture of slices from various fruits with the title

What To Expect:

Slices of life is a book that will appeal to serious readers as well. What it sometimes lacks in pace in some stories but can be complemented up by its beautiful story-telling and setting.

The first story, 'The Young Visitor ' showcases the difficulties of a middle-class family who depend on a maid because of the stringent timelines and stress due to work and status. This story depicts a typical middle class or upper-middle-class family who can afford a maid or rather a cook with a busy husband and grown-up children. The narration of the story is very realistic and relatable.

The next stories are very well are woven with elements that gauge human emotions and relationships. If one story is about love, extramarital affair, and divorce that leads to fatal results another is about friendship, rivalry, and togetherness. If the next story talks about jealousy another story showcases duty, drug addiction issues, and compassion. If the following story talks about good deeds and cares towards the poor and underprivileged, the next story immediately talks about the COVID -19 crisis and woes of the migrant labor that recently was witnessed by the whole country.

In this way, author Richa has touched every walk of life and presented it with great writing skills and honesty.


My Final VerdictA socio realistic drama.Expect a lot of relatable narration and some great perspectives coming straight from the future.


Final Rating: 3.5/5

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!


@swapna508 @sappy_dreamz_unlimited

B o o k R e v i e w

My Luminous Love

Astral songs you are

Swirling in luminous rhythm

Meandering through my dreams

Blossoming as a warmest smile

That makes light cascade from the eyes...

Following the trail of your whispers

I reached a garden of anklets

Made of dewdrops

The roses and butterflies wear them

Goosebumps on petals and wings...

Whiff of sandal, pulled closer

Towards the serene pond, of blushes in bloom

Only to find me awestruck

At the radiant you, in soul-embracing blue

A sculpture made of stars

Astral songs you are Absorb me into your primordial light, and I shall swirl as a note, within you...

An ardent lover of Nature, Poetry(English and Tamil), Photography, and Music, Madhumathi believes, writing is soul's Metamorphosis, a kaleidoscopic view of life through words. She loves to spread mental health awareness through writing, strongly believing in the therapeutic power of words, and takes part in related awareness activities to break the stigma, and reiterate the importance of empathy.

Madhumathi's poems are published in anthologies of Poetry Society India, Chennai Poetry Circle-CPC, India Poetry Circle-IPC, and Poetic Prism Muse India, International Writer's Journal, Science Shore, Our Poetry Archives, Positive Vibes are some of the e-zines her poems are published with


The Unseen World

I miss things, That never happened. I miss the smell of the scent, I never sensed.

I miss the sound of typewriting a poem, I never wrote I miss the feel of victory, I never battled.

I miss the bliss and the silent waves by the ocean, I have never been to

I miss the cool breeze and admiring The sunset from the mountain peak, I never climbed.

I miss the sound of the waterfall And peace in the echoes of cavern, I never discovered.

I miss the wind and rhythm of the rain And snowfall in the winter, That never touched my face.

Nikesh Jain currently residing in Bangalore, is an International Business Management graduate from MIT-SOM College, Pune.

He says “If you don’t know where it ends, don’t run a race”. With young mind motivated and driven on business start-up “XROSS BUTTON™” , an apparel brand, he is passionate about his future

He feels the power of a pen and a book together is greater than anything else.

He has an intense love for writing and reading, and put this out as a useful tool to inspire and motivate people around him.


Bagged By Love

I didn’t know what I needed; I didn’t know what to ask for, or say, except: ‘Just bring yourself here.’

My nephew was going to visit me, And he was insistent. ‘Bag! I’ll get you a bag!’

Well, bags were a good idea. I nodded my head. ‘Colour?’

‘Hmmm… red?’ It was more a question to myself Than a reply to his query. ‘Red it is then, a red bag,’ a tone of finality, Or so I thought. But…

‘So, what shade of red? And what kind of bag?’ (Oh, so it wasn’t over yet!?)

The video call allowed him the visuals of my exasperation

And confusion. He smiled and finished the call: ‘Message me tonight, mami, for on the morrow I walk the malls.’

Glad for the bonus time, I go window shopping On Google straightaway, an unending quest for that perfect bag

Worthy of me to flaunt…me, who, just hours ago Didn’t know what to ask for, resigned as I had been With a ‘no-need-I am-contended’ attitude.

So, how did I want my bag? Shoulder?Cross-body? Roomy totes or the versatile satchel? The woman in me blinked…. And the red? Orange red? Burgundy? Patterned? Printed? More blinks…


Two days later, I eventually decide upon my preference:

A hobo that feels soft to the touch, with compartments

And a separatepouch for my phone; A bag with handles just enough to hoist comfortably

On my shoulder, neither too long nor too short;

A red bag, not a deep vermillion or burgundy,

But a flamboyant fiery shade of scarlet.

My choice, however, remains unexpressed, for,

When I call him, he says it’s too late, He’s already bought the bag!

So, all I can do now is to wait— For him to come, and with him, the bag.

Four days later, he walks in through my door, Journey-tired, but never wearied

To give me a hug, and his gift.

I hug him dearly too, then set about opening the package—

My fingers feel it first, then my eyes behold it,

For there was the bag, my bag— A hobo of flamboyant scarlet, soft to the touch,

With compartments, a phone pouch, And the handles—just enough!

Is this what is called mind reading? Or heart-to-heart bonding?

Vidya Shankar is a widely published Indian poet, writer, editor, yoga practitioner, mindful mandala artist, a “book” with the Human Library, and English teacher. She is the author of two poetry books The Flautist of Brindaranyam, in collaboration with her photographer husband, Shankar Ramakrishnan, and The Rise of Yogamaya. A recipient of literary awards and recognitions, Vidya is the chief admin of the Facebook group KavyaAdisakritand one of the editors of Kavya-Adisakrit, an imprint of Adisakrit Publishing House. She is also a member of the poetry group India Poetry Circle, or IPC. @shanvidwinsalways @vidya shankar author


The Charring Twig

Dazzling matchstick, unfurled blinding flames; fallacious, hallucinations of might clouded its intellect.

The magnificence; succumbed to the moments.

Arrogance and foolishness; impeded dissemination of blessing.

The charring twig beseeched life, as it twisted and crumbled, revealing the fiery red heart.

It turned into ashes, emanating puffs of white repulsive smoke

Shubhashish was born and brought up in the beautiful city of Ranchi in Jharkhand A fitness freak with an MBA, he presently works as DAO for the IAAD in the state of Chhattisgarh. The natural creativity coupled with the die-hard romanticism within has helped him pen down poems of various genres since his college days



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