Storizen Magazine December 2022 | Swami Mukundananda

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STORIZEN HOME TO YOUR STORIES DECEMBER 2022 Exclusive Feature on PAGE 8 A MANUAL FOR LIFE Exclusive Digital Issue For more Columns and features, scan the QR code S W A M I M U K U N D A N A N D A Celebrating 4 Years of Storizen!
Editors Pria Raiyani For Advertising, Contact us Book Reviews Swapna Peri Cover Story A Manual for Life - Swami Mukundananda FOLLOW US ON: Saurabh Chawla Brand Partners Hachette India HarperCollinsIndia Penguin India Fingerprint Publishing Pan Macmillan India Roli Books Bloomsbury India Westland Books Rupa Publications Aleph Book Company

Editor's Note, p7

Cover Story, p8 A Manual For Life - Swami Mukundananda

hot off the press

The Half Known Life by Pico Iyer, p18 Penguin India

Walk with the Weary by Dr M R Rajagopal, p18

Aleph Book Company

Andamanush Nicobarese by Partha Sarthi Sen Sharma, p19 Rupa Publications

A Dismantled State by Anuradha Bhasin, p19 HarperCollins India

arti cles/short stories

IIT Madras Presents Saarang - The Annual Culturual Festival 2023, p20 Saarang 2023

The Present is a PRESENT, p24 Suparna Rijhwani

Solace in Flawed Beauty, p28 Ankur R Gupta

Girl with Large Eyes, p34 Sangeetha G

The Way to a New Beginning, p38 Sreelekha Chatterjee


book reviews

The Making of a Catastrophe by Jayati Ghosh,p44

Swapna Peri

Dare, Dream, Do - The extraordinary life of Anandiben Patel by Anurag Garg, p47

Swapna Peri

The Te ch Phoenix by T. N. Manohar and & V.Pattabhi Ram, p48

Swapna Peri

Rajaraja Chola by Kamini Dandapani, p51

Swapna Peri

Misfortune's Favourite by Srinivas Rao Adige, p52

Swapna Peri

The Nation and Its Citizens by Sukumar Muralidharan, p56

Swapna Peri


A clean slate..., p60 Madhumathi H

Pegasus, p62 Vidya Shankar

Phoenix, p64 Sangita Kalarickal Krivosik

New Beginning; New Life, p66

Aparna Mukherjee

horos cope

Monthly Horos cope: January 2023, p68

Himani Goyal
FOLLOW US ON : HASHTAG: #STORIZENMAGAZINE To read Storizen on the web, visit Follow Storizen on Instagram @storizenmag. CLICK HERE TO READ NOW! BOOKMARKED Storizen Magazine November 2022 Books we are loving this month Exclusive Digital Issue For more columns and features, scan below



from the editor

"EYou can also be a contributor Mail us your entries at Your smart ideas and inputs help us create our informative issues. very moment is a fresh beginning.” T.S. Eliot said it right. I also believe that death is only the beginning The previous moment dies and the new one is calling you o start afresh.

calling all writers!

The year 2022 had its own highs and lows. As it is coming to an end, we want to make sure that the New Year 2023 starts with a bang. Thus the theme – “Giving Life a Fresh Start…!”

Talking about life seems simple and complicated at the same time To sort it out, we are super excited to feature Swami Mukundananda in Storizen this month.

He is back with another feather in his cap, his latest - Golden Rules for Living Your Best Life. Do check out the cover story on page 8!

Bibliophiles want to end their year with the best reads We have got you covered Check out the hottest new releases this month!

After two long years, IIT Madras is finally hosting the Annual Cultural Festival, Saarang 2023 offline, and this time they are back with a bang IIT Madras in association with Storizen presents Saarang 2023 Check out the coverage on page 20 inside!

A lot has happened backstage and more is yet to come. We are thrilled to share with you that we hit the milestone of a Million Visitors to Storizen Website organically in 2022. Thank you all for your great support and for showering your love upon us!

We got a lot of submissions and love reading all of your stories and poems. Keep showering your love and support so we can continue to bring on valuable insights for you every month

Happy Reading!


A Storizen Exclusive Feature

In this issue, we bring to you our candid conversation with a great spiritual leader, best-selling author, and Vedic scholar Swami Mukundananda A mind management guru, Swami ji is an alumnus of the prestigious IIT Delhi and IIM Kolkata. To answer his greater calling, he joined the order of sanyas under the guidance of Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj Swami Mukundananda will be giving live discourses across many cities in India. This is a golden opportunity to interact with Swamiji personally and also get a signed copy of his latest book, Golden Rules for Living Your Best Life Know more at


Highlighting the five vital sections of the bestselling book GOLDEN RULES FOR LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE, Swamiji explains the relevance of a Guru in our lives, “ The path to accomplishment is never easy, and left to us, we could easily succumb to obstacles. Whether it is professional work or academics, or any other worldly pursuit, mentors play an invaluable role to top up our hard work. Their guidance equips us with reliable knowledge and saves us from countless mistakes and years of fumbling in the dark. Not allowing

complacency with our previous achievements, Mentors challenge us to keep raising our bar for ever greater life successes. Their feats are the fodder that inspires us to emulate them and help us see the light at the end of the tunnel.

In the spiritual field, such a mentor is the Guru. The word ‘Guru’ contains two syllables gu and ru. Gu means ‘darkness’, and ru means ‘one who destroys’. Therefore, the Guru is one who destroys the darkness of our ignorance and brings us to the light of divine knowledge. In school and college, we learn with the help of textbooks and teachers Similarly, the Vedic scriptures are like textbooks, while the Guru is the teacher who explains their essence by distilling such vast knowledge and helps us to practically implement the same in our personal journey of life. Even Lord Ram and Lord Krishna received instructions at the feet of Their Guru. God Himself established a precedent for us to emulate by accepting a Guru in the journey to the highest perfection.”


Discussing the importance of food and sleep for a healthy mind and body. Swamiji emphasized, “Vedic books of wisdom explain that the coarsest part


of the food we eat is eliminated via excretion; the subtler part becomes flesh, and the subtlest part becomes the mind. Hence, food not just makes up our physical body but also determines the state of our mind. This food could uplift our energy or diminish it.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Shree Krishna describes the food as being in the mode of goodness (sattvic), mode of passion (rajasic), or mode of ignorance (tamasic), in accordance with the three modes of material nature (Maya). For example, fresh, local, seasonally grown fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and milk

are sattvic in nature. These promote thoughts of peace, tranquility, gratefulness, etc. Consequently, they propel us to behave in harmony with our inner nature and others. Foods that are fried or spicy are rajasic and are known to increase restlessness, anxiety, tension, and passion. Tamasic foods like a Nonvegetarian diet, refined, processed, or overcooked foods, alcohol, etc. stimulate anger, lethargy, laziness, selfishness, pride, ignorance, etc. So everyday choices of food determine the quality of our life. Hence, we need to be wise in choosing the ‘beneficial’ over the ‘pleasant’. If we can convince ourselves of the harm wrong foods

“There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants and the other is getting it.”

cause us and the pain they inflict upon us, we will be able to break their gravitational pull. Simultaneously, being conscious about the benefits of the right foods empowers us to easily choose them Repeated contemplation over the consequences of food choices builds the necessary control to rise over cravings


To raise more culturally aware children in modern times Swami ji emphasized, “ In this age of technology and fast-paced lifestyle, raising a child with good values and character is of utmost importance. This can be enabled by inculcating cultural traditions and spirituality in children by emphasizing the vast wisdom inherent in our Indian culture. One of the good ways of introducing our culture is to daily read scriptures or divine literature

at home together as a family. Limit screen time and expose children at a young age to wisdom stories from the Puranas, Mahabharat, Ramayan, and others. Discuss the moral takeaways with real-life application. Reading books to kids improves bonding, increases their attention span, and instills a habit of lifelong learning. Further, celebrate the many festivals that India has around the year. Explain the meaning of rituals to children and encourage them to enjoy the celebrations by bringing God into their hearts, alongside having fun. Take them to meet the Guru. Make regular Satsang part of their lives. Go to places of worship together. Teach them to sing and dance on Vedic themes and bhajans. These are imbued with divine nectar and wisdom. The profound meaning in the lyrics is uplifting for the mind. Reading and reciting the mantras, shlokas, and bhajans helps instill in children divine tenets, strong ideals, noble thoughts, and skills to make


their overall life success. Engage children in creative projects of arts and crafts on devotional subjects. Encouraging them to volunteer on philanthropic projects is a powerful way to instill the culture of daanor charity which our Vedas prominently emphasize.


To live a healthy life one should enjoy their life and live stress-free and cultivating a hobby is the most pivotal part of this. Swamiji further explains, “ Over eighty percent of professionals around the world are unhappy with their work. If you find

yourselves in the same situation and your passion lie elsewhere, you would have a natural desire to make your life’s passion and hobby a good source of income. However, there is no guarantee that following your passion will bring the bread to the table. In such a case, the practical and realistic option is not to quit your present work as it meets your physical needs and provides you with financial security. Instead, do it in the spirit of Karm Yog, i.e. do it as an offering to God. This will provide you the strength to tolerate the ugly aspects of your job. To enrich the quality of life and make it purposeful, pursue your passion on the side, in the evenings, or on weekends.

Stress is not the result of any situation. It is the consequence of how we perceive the situation.
- Swami Mukundananda

Stress is not the result of any situation. It is the consequence of how we perceive the situation. Stressful situations are actually catalysts for progress, that inspire us to develop our abilities. Spirituality builds our selfawareness skills which enable us to discern what are the thought patterns that are stressing us out and empower us to rectify them. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, karmany-evadhikaraste ma phaleshukadachana ma karma-phala-heturbhur ma tesango ’stvakarmani

This popular verse elucidates that in any given personal or professional situation, we should do our duty wholeheartedly rather than getting obsessed with results. In material consciousness, we think that we are the proprietor of all that we possess and maximize our enjoyment. Conversely, Spiritual

consciousness helps us comprehend that God is the owner and enjoyer of this entire world. We are His tiny parts and merely His selfless servant. Since our inherent nature is to serve God through all our actions, we must use all that we have in the service of God.


While explaining the importance of living a positive life, Swami ji shares, “ We all wish to be successful in our endeavors. However, adversity is a reality we cannot escape. In fact, failure is more common than success. Statistics reveal that nine out of ten start-ups fail. So, losses are a part of life. Successful people have their share of failures as well. But what distinguishes them from the unsuccessful ones is their capacity to handle the loss and deal with disappointment. Adversity is always accompanied by a silver lining. It forces us to exert our physical and intellectual abilities, thereby bringing


In this book, Swami Mukundananda brings together a hundred gems of wisdom to constantly elevate the quality of your life in five key areas— spiritual and emotional wellness, good health and well-being, harmony in relationships, professional fulfillment, and financial abundance. If you can effectively manage these five dimensions of your life, all the other aspects are automatically transformed. This, in turn, will enable you to become the best you can be, today and every day, and win the game of life.


out the best in us.

An avid reader and favorite books Swamiji is an avid reader and sharing his love for books Swamiji added, “ I have always enjoyed reading. In fact, in grade eight I read a book on how to meditate. It inspired me to take up the practice which continues to benefit me today. I sincerely believe that knowledge is extremely empowering. Even one gem of wisdom, if taken to heart, can transform your life forever. This faith motivates me to write and share whatever wisdom I have with others.

I read countless books until I took sanyas. But now I prefer to study the sacred texts of the great religious traditions of the world. My personal favorites are the Ramcharitmanas by Goswami Tulsidas, Shreemad Bhagavatam by Ved Vyas, and the Upanishads. The first two are ancient texts that are imbued with nectarine wisdom on how to cultivate devotion to God. The Upanishads give us insights into our soul nature, principles of Vedic philosophy, and the science of Godrealization.”

About Pria - Young mesmerizing freelance blogger, social enthusiast, and an economics graduate from Jharkhand University with a Master's 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.


WE DON'T SELL BOOKS We help you increase your book sales.

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IIT Madras Presents

SAARANG 2023 The Annual Cultural Festival of IIT Madras is Back Offline and with a Bang!

fter two arduous online years, IIT Madras’ annual cultural fest Saarang is returning to its full offline glory this year and is ready to storm the campus streets. A festival that dominates the cultural scene of South India, Saarang is back with a vengeance to make three generations of students marvel at its grandeur. Saarang offers a unique platform for rising young artists and performers coming from a diverse array of art forms and interests like freestyle dance, photography, acapella, graphic designing, and stand-up comedy.

The theme for Saarang 2023 is ‘Mystic Hues’ which celebrates how deeply intertwined colors are with each and every fragment of our culture and traditions. The festival which will be held from 11th - 15th Jan 2023 is open to all college students and the general public.

One of the largest student-run festivals in India, Saarang hosts more than 100 events, attracting a footfall of over 80,000 from over 500 colleges across the country. This year celebrates the 28th anniversary of the fest.

The five-day fest is teeming with events from the Institute’s many cultural clubs, ranging from oratory and comedy to fine arts and writing and the nascent, culinary arts club. These events include competitions,

workshops, and talented performances from across the world.

Another event that definitely promises to be the highlight for many is the ‘Spotlight lectures’. The first lecture is by the multi-talented actor Ramesh Aravind of Hoomale and Weekend With Ramesh fame. Among others who will be gracing the fest with their presence are actor Vishal and playback singer Karthik.

The Professional Shows boast an impressive lineup of well-established and up-and-coming artists alike, whose performances are sure to have the crowd singing their hearts out. KAAZE kicks off with an electrifying show for ‘EDM Night’ on 13th January 202.

The night of 14th January promises to be a smashing one with Rock Night’s acts, Girish and the Chronicles, and Pineapple Express. Finishing off on a strong and truly melodious note, the final act of 15th January, the Pop night artist is the versatile Sunidhi Chauhan.


Farhan Akhtar at Saarang

For this year’s social cause, Saarang launched ‘Panacea’, a campaign surrounding health and hygiene awareness. Aiming to encourage healthy habits to thwart disease breakouts among other events, Panacea is inspired by the Greek goddess of universal well-being. The five buckets under the social campaign which represent the most important facets of health and hygiene are personal well-being and fitness, environmental hygiene, public, and general health awareness, sanitation, and sexual health.

A plethora of means of spreading the message of cleanliness and sanitation are underway. Ranging from informative presentations in middle and high schools to fun yet educational textbased games, several initiatives are set to be released in the weeks leading up to Saarang. Other aspects of promoting Panacea include a podcast, a breast awareness campaign, and a cyclathon

Saarang is set to have an explosive comeback with great entertainment and a commemoration of art and culture like no other. With 850 young minds working together to make Saarang the kind of magnificent phenomenon it is, the festival is not just another college fest. Rather, it is a celebration of a collective effort taken to realize a dream and make it happen.




The Present is a


ometimes in the business of life we become like robots, frenzied, automated, and mechanical. Even our social outings sometimes seem to promote repetitive behaviour or repetitive activity. Thus, life goes on, the mind numbs out and everything seems pointless! Until of course nature, fate or destiny strikes through.

It happened to me, it was all as described, repetitive, automatic and frenzied. A family, a job, a social life, and loss in the middle is me. Nothing much-made sense other than fait accompli or out of a sense of duty. Morning till night and over the weekends it seemed like I am plugged into a socket draining my soul away.

Then one day my fate stepped in, as a health scare. It was nothing overtly major but significant enough to throw me off balance, unexpected, painful, and completely blindsided me. I needed surgery. I went through with it, endured it, and in its aftermath was confined to my house for a while as I recuperated.

There I was on my bed, with my body protesting any movement and time was on my hand asking me to play devil with my mind. Thoughts crashed through, emotions washed over me, and I contemplated. Of opportunities missed, love lost, friends gone, and moments snatched away. An article made its way to me, about the needless time we spend on the past and some more on contemplating the future.


The present is a ‘present’ waiting for us to reopen. I decided to make that present mine and searched up my close friends whom I had lost touch with over the years, over reasons irrelevant in my mind. Thank God for Google and social media I located a few, sending friend requests. I was open to the idea of not being able to reconnect at all, that a lot of water has flown under the bridge, and we won’t be able to connect at all!

Surprise! I heard back from a few close friends who were more than happy to reconnect and connect we could like never a day has been lost between us. Sharing stories and just saying Hi!

So at this juncture giving a fresh start to life could be as simple as reconnecting, doing that course I have been putting off, dipping my fingers in a field I so wanted to try out, all this and more!

Life is too uncertain, too full of curve balls to hold grudges, plan ahead (COVID at least taught us that!), and surrender to regrets. Not anymore, I decided, I will open myself to every opportunity and give a fresh start every day Life is beautiful when surrounded by the people you love, and care and they return that emotion many times over!

Suparna is a creative person with a strong inclination toward education and writing. She loves to travel, do maths & be a parent. Over the course of years she has written for many blogs and maintains her own personal blog, along with that she co-founded an online magazine Festive Riot, focusing on festivals.

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Solace in

P h o t o b y
R o k s o l a n a Z a s i a d k o
Wabi-Sabia Japanese
Flawed Beauty Based on

he Indian cuckoo bird (Koel) is always valued for its melodious voice and not shunned for its color. Green mosses growing on a rustic old wall are considered artistically beautiful, not ugly. We acknowledge the beauty in the imperfections of mother nature. Then, why do we Humans want everything about us to be perfect? A perfect career, life partner, family, and looks? We never expect a melodious cuckoo to be as beautiful as a peacock as we accept them with their flaws.

Then, why do we tangle ourselves in comparisons and are overly critical of our imperfections? With the desire for perfection, we keep burning ourselves under the constant pressure of excessively high standards to prove ourselves to others. Often, such compulsions lead us to disappointments and discontentment.

In the contemporary world where we are constantly living under materialistic pressures, Wabi-Sabi an ancient Japanese ideology reflects a fresh insight into living It reveals to us, the art of living in imperfection and simplicity to enjoy an optimistically contended life.

permanent as everything in nature keeps changing and fades with time. Hence nothing is defined as Perfect. It also theorized on embracing the things with their flaws, damages, and incompleteness.

The Origin:

The Wabi-Sabi ideas came into existence by Sen no Rikyu, the sixteenth-century Zen monk who also started the concept of the famous Japanese tea ceremony. As a young lad, he went to a renowned tea master named Takeeno Joo for training. The latter wanted to test the abilities of his new apprentice and asked him to take care of the garden.

These philosophies center around balancing our life on the wheels of impermanence, imperfection, and incompleteness. Wabi-Sabi conceptualized that nothing is

Rikyu immaculately cleaned it from top to bottom. However, before presenting his work to his master, he shook a cherry tree, and Sakura flowers fell on the ground. This touch of incompleteness brought beauty to the scene and born the concept of WabiSabi. It believes that imperfection and incompleteness leave behind a scope for improvement and transition.


I have already shared my views on minimalistic living as one of the principles of Wabi-Sabi in my article Minimalism —

The Way to Rediscover Life. Here are my thoughts on finding the essence of life in imperfection through the lens of Wabi-Sabi philosophies.

# Highlight Your Competencies

The shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese flute, beautifully inherits the ideas of WabiSabi of highlighting one’s inner competencies. A flute is a simple structure made from a rough bamboo pipe, open at both ends with holes and a bottom end made from the bamboo stalk. Its craftsman has not devoted much time to its outer appearance and sophistication. But the long years of craftsmanship and refined engineering have been done to bring out its inner competence.

The melody carved out from this simplelooking instrument inspires us to work more on polishing our inner strength and skills than our outward appearance.

The Learnings

In today’s world, where your looks come with a higher stake, this ideology of WabiSabi is a need of the hour. We spend endless time and money on our physical appearances but still remain unsatisfied. On the contrary, by investing more of our efforts in brushing up our knowledge and skills, we can achieve to be much more confident and successful. At work, it is our skills and competence that stand out. Even in the glitz and glamour world, looks may give you the first break, but success comes with your craft to perform.

Skills are like diamonds, the more you edge them the more they sharpen and shine and radiate you with an optimistic persona.

#The Beauty of Aging

A brilliant philosophical idea of Wabi-Sabi I get to witness is the art of creating bonsai, miniature trees. This ideology contemplates growing more beautiful as time passes with patience, wisdom, and gratitude.

Growing old is the natural cycle of life and being a wise, contended, loving self is the beauty of aging. This philosophy needs to be understood well in today’s world, where every second person is going berserk in the horde of looking younger and perfect. In 2020 alone, the size of the anti-aging market worldwide was estimated to be about $60 billion U.S. Dollars. It is alarming to see how people are going under the knife for sculpted bodies and faces and later live with health issues. What’s the point of having a perfect exterior when your inner aura remains in a mess?

#Resilience in flaws

Another outstanding extension of the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi is the art of Kintsugi which sees beauty in imperfection by highlighting the flaws.

Origin of Kintsugi Art:

The Kintsugi art came into existence around the fifteenth century, when the Japanese Shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, sent his favorite teacup, which broke, to China to get it repaired. The teacup was returned to him unsightly stapled with metal ligatures


and was of no use. It was then sent to Japanese craftsmen for repair. The craftsmen decided to transform the cup into a jewel filling its cracks with lacquered resin, glue-like tree sap, and powdered gold, which gave a unique dimension to the teacup. Hence came into existence new art of repairing broken pottery named Kintsugi. In the ancient Japanese tea ceremonies to date, the Japanese teacups used are asymmetrical shapes based on Kintsugi art.

Under this craft, the broken pottery is not thrown away but repaired. The main principle of art is to not hide the scars of the shattered ceramic but to highlight them more strongly and beautifully.

The Learnings

In our lives, through the art of Kintsugi, we understand how to reconcile with failures and accidents and remain

optimistically resilient. Whether it’s recovering from a personal loss or a job, injuries, divorce, or other traumas, we have two choices, either we miserably hide behind it or confront it head-on. Kintsugi provides us the insight to confront our problems by showing us that things can be repaired. It reveals how to find beauty in our imperfections by embracing our golden cracks of hurts, failures, and flaws. By Accepting the imperfection in you and learning from failures you’re always moving forward in life by giving it a new dimension, similar to a broken pottery that gets repaired under Kintsugi craft.


To conclude, Wabi-Sabi principles distinctly conceptualized that not a single person in this world is flawless nor is any relationship, whether it’s with your career, family, or a life partner. By chasing perfection, you’re denying

Skills are like diamonds, the more you edge them the more they sharpen and shine and radiate you with an optimistic persona.

yourself a continuous flow of change and further self-improvement.

Dr. Rachel O’Neill, LPCC, a therapist at Talk space, says, about Wabi-Sabi philosophies, “Embracing the imperfect means that we celebrate our strengths. This shift of mindset from striving for an impossible ideal to embracing our strengths leads to a more positive and strength-oriented mindset.”

Imperfection is a form of FREEDOM setting you free from the chains of being perfect. Let’s adapt to Wabi-Sabi ideologies to give a beautiful twist to our lives.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New year.

Ankur R Gupta - I'm a blogger, an author, and a certified content creator. My writings revolve around the simple motto “Write to bring Smile”. I believe in understanding behavioral aspects of human life linked with their different phases and then ink my words about them in a simplified way to spin out positivity and purpose associated with them.

A hardcore history enthusiast and traveler. I love to read & explore our ancient cultures and civilizations. My reading page is inkmyword -the reader community.


Gift Yourself A
Rethink Ageing by Nidhi Chawla and Reshmi Chakraborty Slow is Beautiful by Gunjan Ahlawat Rishi Sunak: The Rise by Micheal Ashcroft The Sound of Waves by Kalki R Krishnamurthy

Girl With Large Eyes

nita had not fully unpacked the things when he returned from the office in the evening. The process was long, uninspiring, and tiring. Necessary utensils, clothes, and toiletries had found their homes. Books, curios, and fancy crockery still lay in the carton boxes, waiting for their turn.

“How do you find the new place? Did you meet the neighbors?” Mithun asked while sipping the hot tea.

“I did not get time to move around much. The unpacking is taking longer than I had expected,” she said.

“A girl had come during the noon time to meet me. A thin girl with large eyes. She stays in the neighborhood,” she added. She looked slightly excited about having met at least one person during the day.

“A girl?” He expected more information.

“She should be ten years old. She was timid and barely spoke anything. She

did not even smile at me. Kept staring at me with her large eyes. I offered her the sweets we had bought for our previous neighbors. She did not accept them and ran away quickly,” Anita said.

In the subsequent days, Anita kept him updated about the girl when he came back from the office. She was the only visitor Anita had all those days. The girl had started speaking to her, but she never smiled back.

“Her father is an alcoholic. She and her mother stay with her uncle. The father had dumped them at her uncle’s place and left,” she said.

“Her father also is an alcoholic? Why are these men wasting their lives as well as the lives of others in the family?” he said.

Within a fortnight, Anita had found homes for all the household items. The house now looked familiar with each article finding its designated place.

“The girl seems to be traumatized. Today I asked her to come in the


evening to meet you. There was fear in her eyes when I told her about you. She ran away immediately,” Anita was looking disturbed. She kept thinking about the girl and her unspoken words.

“You are overthinking. It is not good for you. Relax. There could be nothing. You told me that she is timid. Probably she does not want to meet a new person,” he said.

The girl did not come during the weekend. They went out on Sunday to see whether the city had changed in a week. A few new shops had opened on either side of the road, drainage work had started in some areas, disrupting the traffic, and a few old buildings were being pulled down to give way for more modern ones. They did not talk about the girl the entire weekend.

On Monday when he came back from the office, Anita was cheerful. “The girl came today and she had tea with me. But she did not speak much,” she said.

She lost her cheerfulness by Wednesday evening. “What happened?” he asked. “My doubts were true. She is traumatized. I saw red marks on her body. I asked about it and she started crying. I wanted to touch her. But she withdrew herself and said that she was dirty. I asked about her uncle and she ran away”. Anita was disturbed.

Mithun pacified her. “Don’t get involved in others’ matters. It is not good for you,” he said.

Saturday morning Anita woke him up. “The girl has come. You have not seen her yet. Come and meet her. She will feel good about it,” she said.

He washed his face and came out of his room. “Where is she?” he asked.

“Can’t you see? She is sitting on the couch. Please go and sit beside her,” Anita told him.

Mithun reluctantly moved towards the couch and sat on it.

“She is afraid of men. Soon she will start hating them. Please tell her that all men in this world are not cruel. There are good men like you,” Anita said. Mithun looked at Anita with concern in his eyes.

“Hold her tight. Look, she is weeping. Wipe her tears and tell her that the world is not a cruel place,” Anita told him.

“Please tell her that she is as pure as an angel”. He held the girl by her imaginary shoulders and wiped her imaginary tears.

“She has stopped weeping. Are you seeing hope in her eyes?” Anita asked him. Mithun nodded his head.

“She is smiling at you. This is the first time I am seeing a smile on her face,” Anita was excited.


For the next three days, he did not hear about the girl from Anita. “What happened to the girl? She did not come back?” he asked.

“She did not return. It seems her mother gathered some courage and left her brother’s place. She got a small job and shifted to another part of the city,” Anita said. Certain relief was evident in her words.

He hugged her tight. “She will be okay. She will grow up to become a sensitive and loving woman,” he said.

Sangeetha G is a journalist with the Deccan Chronicle newspaper in India.

Her flash fiction and short stories have appeared in the Academy of the Heart and Mind, Kitaab International, Indian Review, and Borderless Journal. Her story recently won Himalayan Writing Retreat Flash Fiction contest 2022.


The Way to a New Beginning

h o
o b y D a n i e l J . S c h w a r z

Just when one intended to relax —warming bones in the cozy, wintry afternoon sunlight; escaping the cold in a wellheated room; or enjoying the comfort of a temperaturecontrolled air-conditioned room, reading and reflecting on larger issues of the surrounding and the world; and occasionally being lost in the reveries of a delightful life—unexpectedlyone had to confront a challenge that intimidated oneself, asking for immediate attention, demanding a solution unknown to one’s level of consciousness at the time.

This was exactly whathad happened to me a few days ago when my sixty-year-old body was diagnosed with a serious end-stage renal disease, known as kidney failure in layman’s terms.I would have continued spending my life the way it had been for the past forty years with my loving husband and my children,following the mundane, yet comfortable, routine, if I hadn’t come across this insurmountable health hurdle.


My routine life—waking up at five o’clock in the morning, completing my morning rituals by seven and getting ready, reaching my school where I taught biology to students from classes six to ten, finishing my routine by four, and returning home at five to complete the rest of the chores that every evening had to offer and go to bed by ten— suddenly received a blow that changed me completely, leaving me contemplating on the next course of action. My thoughts embroiled me in a difficult state of turmoil from which I wasn’t able to withdraw myself.

“What’s the matter, ma?” My only daughter Sukanya asked, observing me engrossed in this self-searching mode, and in a state of mute melancholy.

“Nothing. It’s just that…” My voice trailed away in an uncomfortable, unknown world.

“I know what you are thinking about, ma. I will donate my kidney and you’ll be fine.” She said in a matter-of-fact manner, looking after my retreating figure.

“No, that’s not a good option. What will happen if my body doesn’t respond to your kidney?” I spoke, between reminiscent pauses, while my eyes wandered around the bookshelves, leading up to the window and the sky beyond it, which seemed paltry, colorless.

“Medical science has advanced a lot. There wouldn’t be any such problem.” She said smilingly, regarding me with a glint in her eyes.

Agitated, I kept quiet for the rest of the

evening that she spent in my company. I was glad that my thirty-year-old daughter cared so much for me, but a worry lingered around the probability of success that would be achieved in the case of organ donation.

Smitten by guilt at the thought of living a life borrowed with the kidney received from my daughter, who would be left with only one of the pair, I cried in despair, unable to rid myself of the misery.

“What’s bothering you, ma?” My twentyyear-old son, Kunal, questioned suddenly and incisively, noticing me in that painful state. “There is nothing wrong with organ donation.” He continued with full sympathy for my internal stirrings that had deprived me of my inner peace.

“I feel like King Yayati, who had rejuvenated himself with his son Puru’s youth, leaving him old and frail,” I said frankly, quite contrary to my reserved, taciturn nature.

“I have heard about him but don’t remember the Hindu mythological story.” He said, with his eyes fixed on me.

“Yayati married Devyani, the daughter of the Brahmin demon-guru Shukracharya. Devyani had kept Sharmistha, daughter of demon king Vrishparva as her maidservant. Devyani and Yayati were married and Sharmistha followed them to their court. Yayatihad a clandestine affairwithSharmistha and later married her secretly, who gave birth to three sons, Puru being the youngest one.


Eventually, Devyani came to know about them and informed her father Shukracharya, who then cursed him to old age and invalidity. On asking for mercy, Shukracharya gave him the benediction that he could exchange his old age with one of his sons. In a state of senile decrepitude, Yayati returned to his kingdom and summoned all his sons but none of them except Puru agreed to give Yayati back his youth.

After regaining his youth, Yayati sank into the endless, deceptive world of selfgratification and material pleasure. Subsequently, spending some time enjoying unparalleled and unlimited material happiness to his heart’s content, he realized that he wasn’t satisfied even after indulging in all kinds of pleasure.

He called Puru and gave him back his youth, ultimately renounced everything, and retired to the woods followed by Brahmins and ascetics to attain a heavenly abode.

I have spent most of my time thinking about my own family and haven’t done anything worthwhile for those around me. Life is not about indulging in our comforts, getting swamped with our endless material desires.” I ended my monologue, still deliberating and trying to comprehend the real meaning of my existence—though I was but a ruin of a woman, devastated by my own thoughts and the calamity that had befallen me.

“We all get second chances in life. It’s up to you how you use it. I don’t know about the world. We all need you, ma, and it’s for our sake you have agreed to undergo this transplantation.” He said with overflowing warmth and sentiment.

I was contented to find that my children loved me so much. Amenable and compliant, I decided to accept the kidney donated by my daughter and entrusted myself to the capable hands of doctors who believed in scientific progression. But there was something bothering me, an uneasiness that kept surfacing every now and then. I had begun to look at life from an altogether different perspective. All the while I had been a marvelous daughter, a dutiful wife, and a diligent mother, but it was time to be a good human being—to start my life afresh, to do something worthwhile.

A few days after the successful surgery, I returned home. Though initially, I had to face some physical discomfort, I gradually reverted to my normal routine. One day I called the underprivileged children from the nearby locality to my place. I returned from school and found around ten to fifteen children wearing worn-out clothes, sitting in my living room. My heart was saddened on seeing their condition. I decided to provide them with food every evening they visited me. With the help of Sukanya, I arranged for cake, biscuits, fruit, and milk for them. Apart from that, I gave them new clothes, and books and also taught them science and arts.


Full of zeal and enthusiasm, they walked on the path of enriching themselves with education, thus adding a novel meaning to my existence. With the advent of a new beginning in my life, I discovered the necessity of what was lost all along my journey—a selfless act of devotion and care towards the needy. So long a veil had hung over the true significance of my presence, clouded with illusory cravings for a life full of my own pleasure in the daily face of things that were temporary and trivial, as there was greater happiness that existed in the world that was filled with compassion, empathy, and sharing.

Sreelekha Chatterjee’s short stories have been published in various national, and international magazines and journals like Indian Periodical, Femina, Indian Short Fiction, eFiction India, The Criterion, The Literary Voyage, World of Words, Writer’s Ezine, and Estuary, and have been included in numerous print and online anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul series (Westland Ltd, India), Wisdom of Our Mothers (Familia Books, USA), and several others. She lives in New Delhi, India.

You can connect with her on Facebook at, Twitter -@sreelekha001, and Instagram @sreelekha2023.

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This book by Jayati Ghosh, a former professor at JNU, who is now with the University of Amherst, narrates how the pandemic played out in India against the world.

Ghosh thinks the nationwide lockdown was stringent. She argues that cases of COVID infection went up, nevertheless, so a complete lockdown was needlessly brutal. There was a situation where even the medical fraternity and public health experts knew very little about the virus when it first erupted. Even a complete lockdown or no masking, a battle between medical science and vegetarian habits created enormous rupture among the people.

The information sharing on WhatsApp created much havoc. And the elders who had access to the internet went haywire in understanding what a virus is and how it attacks a person irrespective of being healthy or not.

The economy along with other countries sank. But the Modi government which was then already facing criticism for its economic policies including demonetization was under the constant radar of criticism by the opposition. The Author also explains the plight of weaker sections and mostly the migrant labor's relentless fight.

The book is written in easily comprehensible language with facts and figures. Though the book showcased the reality, most of it looked like criticizing the government. Overall, this book might help people to understand what happened in the country during the shocking times of COVID-19. A book for those readers who can accept anything written against the government.


About the Book

The book explains the people's sufferings and the economies in detail.

A Must Read

A book for those readers who can accept anything written against the government.

The book won't please many readers and definitely will find the writing judgemental.

Visit for full review

Micro Review

Dare, Dream, Do - The extraordinary life of Anandiben Patel by Anurag Garg

As a woman, Anandiben wasn't spared from the usual household chores and chaos. It also shows how a strong family and its support will help a woman grow in every dimension of life. This never-ending support from the family showered her with luck, and she went on to become a teacher, a leader, and a powerful person.

These small steps finally with a great investment of hope and perseverance finally led to success.

B o o k R e

A Guide to Understand Crisis Management

Reviewed by Swapna Peri

In this book, the readers travel through the times of understanding the exceptional contribution of the government-initiated revival process, narrated by the authors who were part of the process.

Some chapters explain what is not to be done at difficult times when the company faces a financial crunch. Each chapter is a lesson as well as a takeaway.

This book happens to explain one of the risky yet remarkable corporate rescue operations where the collateral damage seemed acceptable.

The book is written in understandable language with a great narration of the revival story, hurdles, backlash, strategies, and indefinite ways of rebuilding the confidence among employees, clients, investors, financiers, probable buyers, and everyone else.

A must-read for those who want to explore new arenas of corporate governance!

T.N. Manoharan is currently a member of the RBI’s Standing External Advisory Committee for evaluating applications for universal banks and small finance banks.

Pic: T.N. Manoharan

About the Book

The Tech Phoenix: Satyam’s 100Day Turnaround only begins at this point. The government swiftly stepped in and nominated a board, with leading figures from various fields. T.N. Manoharan, one of these board members, narrates the events of the tumultuous 100 days immediately following Raju’s letter, in what is the fastest turnaround in corporate history.

A must-read for those who want to explore new arenas of corporate governance!

Visit for full review

Micro Review

Rajaraja Chola by Kamini Dandapani

This biographical book showcases the story of King Raja Raja Chola wonderfully. The Chola kingdom, which is famous for its administration, political model, and great valiant life, is also considered one of the best in the aspects of retaining harmony among the citizens.

With engaging narration and interesting historical references, author Kamini's writing gives a wider insight into the Chola dynasty. The book also explains how progressive the kings and their kingdoms were, along with incredible military and indigenous political framework. History is as it a fascinating subject, and this book will definitely entice history lovers!

B o o k R e

The Mughal empire in then India or Hindusthan is one of history's most talked about eras. But, among all the emperors, Akbar has gained a special place in history and most

of the monuments now that exist are from his age and later. Be it the Agra fort or the Taj Mahal; it showcases the enriched heritage of his era. People lived in harmony until Aurangazeb reigned and ruined the country.

In today's era, the Indian government remembering its efforts, launched a mission to find Dara's tomb and pay respects. The story is less known in the book, and Dara can be regarded as an unsung hero.

This fast-paced historical novel by Srinivas Rao Adige tells us the story of the unlucky Mughal prince whose fortune always proved unlucky time and again. The novel starts at Agra fort, where Dara and his companions are set to flee from his rebel brothers Aurangzeb and Murad after their defeat in a battle. After their fleeing, Aurangzeb captured Agra fort and stopped the water supply to Agra fort. He did not leave any chance that would not torture the people. Once, emperor Shahjahan said he was more fortunate if he was a born Hindu because Hindus offered water to their ancestors even after their death.


About the Book

Misfortune’s Favourite is a tale of high adventure, hair-breadth escapes, bravery, loyalty and fortitude, combined with deceit and betrayal, as larger-than-life characters leap out of its pages, in their struggle for dominion and power.

A Must Read

The story is tragic and ends on a sad note. The story has enough drama, and the book can be given a chane to read.

The story is tragic and ends on a sad note. The story has enough drama, and the book can be given a chance to read. Visit for full review

A passionate book reviewer, writer, narrator, translator, and copy editor, Swapna has a B. Tech in Computer Science and is a former SAP Technical Consultant. She is the writer, narrator, editor, and translator for three books published with Literoma Publishing, Kolkata. She created and manages the “Book Reviews Café” official blog and Facebook page that contains all the book reviews.

Swapna is also a content writer and reviewer with Storizen Magazine, CriticSpace Journals website, The Literature Times website, The Asian Review website, and the Literature Today website. She is a columnist with one of the leading women's websites in Telugu named 'Vihanga'.

o o k R e v i e w
@swapna508 @bookreviewscafe DECEMBER 2022

drastic turn with events that will be enlisted in world history for a very long time.

partition times and the right and left-wing politics that took most of the timeline of independent India are well explained in the book. The right-wing authoritarian regime with deeper dark times, fanatic forms of nationalism, and its consequences are explained well. This book reminds us of the warnings of historians. The Nation and Its Citizens: Tales of Bondage and Belonging is about nationalism as a uniquely modern political doctrine shaped by the lived experience of citizens.

Author Muralidharan tells us of the consolidation of the project of resurrecting the temple of Somnath. The restoration of temples sacked by Islamic rulers sends powerful messages. The results of majoritarian assertions are more than visible today, the consolidation of a religious majority as a democratic majority. People are engrossed in watching Instagram reels and busy buying the best car or house. It is often forgotten that the majority principle is workable and not morally just. But who cares about inequality, hunger, and deep-rooted poverty when temples are restored?

This book by author Sukumar Muralidharan details moments in the life of the Indian nation after Independence. After Independence, the life of Indians took a

About the Book

The Nation and Its Citizens offer many fresh perspectives in understanding India's unique political trajectory.

A Must Read

Nationalism has changed in its appeal through history, as have its manifestations. Getting to know these may be part of the challenge of negotiating the nation's ongoing internal and external turmoil. This blurb makes the book more readable.

The font and tone of the book will make the readers understand what is to be given importance for the better future of the country and our coming generations. Visit for full review

A passionate book reviewer, writer, narrator, translator, and copy editor, Swapna has a B. Tech in Computer Science and is a former SAP Technical Consultant. She is the writer, narrator, editor, and translator for three books published with Literoma Publishing, Kolkata. She created and manages the “Book Reviews Café” official blog and Facebook page that contains all the book reviews.

Swapna is also a content writer and reviewer with Storizen Magazine, CriticSpace Journals website, The Literature Times website, The Asian Review website, and the Literature Today website. She is a columnist with one of the leading women's websites in Telugu named 'Vihanga'.

o o k R e v i e w
@swapna508 @bookreviewscafe DECEMBER 2022

A Clean Slate...

Wave after wave, the ocean of life brings moments

Some leave joyful sparkles in our eyes Some, plant an inexplicable ache in our hearts...

Until we find a ship Until our turn comes for a voyage Let's make paper boats on the shore in hope...

Sometimes, the past becomes a hammock

Memories, a cosy villa

The present warns, "Time never stops, live the NOW..."

But do we listen?

We find pleasure in pain, allowing memories to sting! Some tears, we never allow to dry...

Our tomorrows are made of today's seeds

Why stare at a barren yesterday, where dreams can't grow?!...

We often sprinkle salt upon our wounds

Making healing, a painful trudge

Shall we begin a brand new journey

Giving life, a fresh start?

Nature mentors us everyday, beautifully...

The leaves wither, it's colder everywhere, yet The branches are brimming with hope The roots know the value of patience The joy of welcoming spring's fragrant blossoms...

Life is made of moments that make or break us

Let our flights, humble us Our fall, strengthen our hearts To unfriend our fear for hurdles, and heights...

Snap of the fingers, decades dissolve Let's gently pull our past, look into its longing eyes

Kiss on memories' forehead, and send them off

Each wave, from the ocean of life carry the placard: "NOW, is all you have..." When we have "Now", we have all! When everything is ephemeral Let's experience eternity in moments Our heartprints are the only proof We lived ecstatically in gratitude, despite all odds...

A bilingual poet-writer(Tamil, English), Madhumathi. H is an ardent lover of Nature, Poetry, Photography, and Music

Her poems are published in Anthologies of The Poetry Society(India), CPCChennai Poetry Circle's EFFLORESCENCE, IPC's(India Poetry Circle) Madras Hues Myriad Views, Amaravati Poetic Prism 2015, and in ezines UGC approved Muse India, Storizen, OPA – Our Poetry Archives, IWJInternational Writers Journal, Positive Vibes, Science Shore e-Anthologies Monsoon moods - Muse India, Green Awakenings - On Environment, by Kavya-Adisakrit.

Ignite Poetry, Breathe Poetry, Dream Poetry, and Soul shores have 10 of her poems published, Soul Serenade, Shades of Love-AIFEST, Arising from the dust, Painting Dreams, Shards of unsung Poesies, are some of the Anthologies her poems, and write-ups are part of (2020 to 2022)

Besides Poetry, Madhumathi writes on Mental health, to create awareness, break the stigma, believing in the therapeutic, transformational power of words

Contact: madhumathi poetry@gmail com Blogs: https://madhumathipoetry wordpress com



No more trundling through puzzling pathways Nomore crossing precarious bridges No more roughing out on rocky crags No more sinking into wasted seas

Let’s instead to the skies, my Thozhi New expanses there to explore A raft of sunbeamswe shall make float in the fluffy foam splashing our feet Let’s flap our jocund arms glide in the breeze and when our winged friends join us a game of catch-me-please The twinkles let’s collect paste them on our skirts and if we’ve got some more left a wreath for our heads And when we come to the marblymoon Let’s haul ourselves over the edge Holding hands let’s pirouette ringing in a music new

Thozhi: bosom friend

Vidya Shankar is a widely published writer and poet, with recognition and a recent nomination to the prestigious Red Moon Anthology 2022 to her name. An English Language teacher, a 'book' in the Human Library, author of two poetry books, and editor of four anthologies, she loves experimenting with new writing techniques and exploring various poetry forms. When she is not writing free verse, she is crafting haiku and haibun. She finds meaning in her life through yoga and mandalas.



Tucked in the dappled shade of the maple tree, My parsley pot was thriving. The leaves several shades brighter and shinier than the grocery store bunch Each water droplet ran greener in the leaf veins Until one afternoon my watering can found the leaves with edges carved into neat dents. It was a neat job. The several bodies working On the leaves. Happy. The black stripes on the green forms Swollen with satisfaction

The yellow dots on the stripes stirring ever so regal as the wee feet crawled along.

I listened, silent as the river rocks. And I could hear the crunch on the plants. I swore.

I chewed at life the same way. Noisy. Greedy.

Yet at some point when satiation was far, and all manner of motivation depleted, joy bled dry.

I build my cocoon around my heart and wait within myself for a metamorphosis. The sweet fragranced pink phlox bunches tremble in the wake of the swallowtail butterfly And I know I am ok

Sangita Kalarickal has been wordsmithing since childhood and honing her craft in the forms of poetry and fiction. She is a published fantasy author with a soft corner for literary fiction. Her poems have appeared in anthologies and ezines and she is currently working on her poetry collection. She lives in Minnesota, the USA where the winter cold stretches almost half the year. She is a physicist at her day job, and currently she spends much of her time studying and honing her skills in haiku.


New Beginning; New Life

Tring! Tring! The bells of New Year Are everywhere ringing. It is the time To be happy and gay Enjoy the joyous moment Which will be pinned in your heart And the happy memories Will forever stay.

As old leaves fall off In the chilly winter And bring new and fresh leaves In the spring

In the same way Humans need to shed the leaves Of their bitter past And sow the seeds Of a new beginning.

It is the time of the new year And the time of Starting a new phase of your life Welcome a new beginning Of a new life with smiles on your face And hopes in your heart Which will never fall apart.

Leave your bad memories behind Bid adieu to insults and pain You had in the past Fill various colors In the canvas of life Light candles and celebrate The new beginning Of your new life Walk ahead with your Head held high Eliminate from your mind Fear and sigh.

Ring the bells Of your new beginning Welcome every day With hopes and positivity Kick the old life of yours Which bogged you down Raise a toast for your new life Which will be full of joys and good times This new phase of life Will be yours Be the creator and master Of your changed life.

In a few words, Aparna defines a woman who beholds high aspirations and firmly believes in expanding her horizon. She holds a Master's degree in English Literature from Mumbai University. By profession, she is a Website Content Writer.

Her poems got published in the Indian Literature website named Facestory' Currently, her stories and poems get published in the anthology books in the eminent Reflection Magazine and in the renowned digital magazine, Storizen.

She is bestowed with the Indian Global Award 2022 and has been felicitated with a medal in the Tagore Literature Festival 2022 by Literoma.

Her world revolves around creativity and writing. She wishes to make her mark in the literary world, hoping to leave an indelible imprint on the readers' minds.



This Month, Aries. You need to put extra efforts to get appreciated from your superiors. You can also improve your skills by learning new things related to your subject to be successful in your workplace.


This Month, Taurus, you will be calm and hopeful. New Year will bring blessings from the Universe.


This month, Cancer it’s time to receive new opportunities that will help you to grow financially.


This Month, Leo, you might meet your past lover and have a quality time together. e


This month, Gemini You might be feeling bored with your routine work, also no opportunities seem to be exciting for you.



This month, Virgo you will be determined and courageous to fulfil your goals and dreams. You have strong will power to chase your dreams without worrying about the challenges in your life.


This month, Sagittarians

You will be passionate about your dreams and ready to fulfil it.


This Month, you will have inner strength and courage to overcome all obstacles and challenges in your life to fulfil your goals.


This Month, Capricorns

You will be very curious and inquisitive to learn new things and gain knowledge required to improve your skills.


This month, Scorpio you will spend time with your family, and they will support you in every aspect your life. It is the time to have a joyful experience with your family.




This Month.Aquarians, you might receive lots of opportunities and everything seem to be promising.


This month, you need to be calm and have patience, things will move as per the right time.

I am Himani Goyal, By profession, I am an HR Manager working in Banglore. Reading is my hobby which led me to write reviews for my readers. I have read and reviewed numerous books so far. I am also a practicing Tarot consultant and would be sharing daily, weekly, monthly horoscopes for you all here.

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