Storizen Magazine July 2020 | Tanaz Bhathena

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STORIZEN HOME TO YOUR STORIES JULY 2020 Exclusive Feature on PAGE 8 Write Your Own Story Tanaz Bhathena
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EDITOR'S NOTE 7 COVER STORY Write Your Own Story - Tanaz Bhathena - Pria 8 HOT OFF THE PRESS If It Bleeds by Stephen King - Hachette India 18
HOT OFF THE PRESS Getting There by Manjula Padmanabhan - Hachette India 19 HOT OFF THE PRESS Chandra Shekhar by Roderick Matthews - HarperCollins India 22 STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE IF YOU WANT IT, BECOME IT! - Abhrekha Jain 38 HOT OFF THE PRESS Executive Presence by Shital Kakkar Mehra - HarperCollins India 20 HOT OFF THE PRESS OVERDRAFT: Saving the Indian Saver by Urjit Patel - HarperCollins India 24 HOT OFF THE PRESS Dalai Lama: An Illustrated Biography by Tenzin Geyche Tethong - Roli Books 26 HOT OFF THE PRESS To Kill a Man by Sam Bourne - Hachette India 28 HOT OFF THE PRESS Together by Dr. Vivek H. Murthy - Hachette India 29 STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE Finding Hope in Hopelessness - Mansi Mehta 32 STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE Are you looking for the Light in the end of Dark Tunnel? - Stuti Gogia 36
STORIZEN POETRY And So the Crow Flies - Vidya Shankaral 84 STORIZEN POETRY I was there - Syed Basha 86 STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE When Almighty Becomes Your Savior - Aparna Mukherjee 56 BOOK REVIEW A Burning by Megha Mazumdar - Swapna Peri 60 STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE The Play of Hope & Despair - Sumana Bhattacharya 52 BOOK REVIEW Boons and Curses by Yugal Joshi - Kavitha Yarlagaddaar 80 STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE Life is fab, Goodbye Depression! - Riya Gulati 44 STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE A Ray Of Hope Amidst Misery - Varada Hegde 48 BOOK REVIEW Soul Rivals by Nadeem Farooq Paracha - Swapna Peri 64 BOOK REVIEW Vijyant at Kargil by Col. V.N. Thapar & Neha Dwivedi - Swapna Peri 68 BOOK REVIEW Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena - Swapna Peri 72 BOOK REVIEW In the Land of the Lovers by Sakoon Singh - Swapna Peri 76
FOLLOW US ON : HASHTAG: #STORIZENMAGAZINE To read Storizen on the web, visit Follow Storizen on Instagram @storizenmagazine. CLICK HERE TO READ NOW! BOOKMARKED Storizen June 2020 Books we are loving this month

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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

Isimply can't build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery and death... I think... peace and tranquillity will return again. Anne Frank's wonderful message through this simple quote is that, there is always a hope amidst misery and one should never give up on hope. Our July 2020 issue is dedicated towards the same theme. "A Ray of Hope amidst Misery!"

Medieval India and Fantasy when mixed together becomes a powerful story Enter the Fantasy world set in medieval India "Hunted by the Sky" by our Featured Author, Tanaz Bhathena. She inspires the readers by her notion, "Write your own story!"

Lots of new releases this month for our readers Do check out the Hot Off The Press Section to activate the reader inside you.

We take pride in announcing that Storizen Magazine is now also listed on Renowned Newsstand platforms Paperboy, ReadWhere, Google News! Do subscribe, and share!

Mental Health is becoming a serious issue in the modern times. We, at Storizen is evolving and we have set up a team of experts who would answer your questions regarding mental health. From August onwards, we are introducing a new column for mental health issues

We have a great time reading this month and we have compiled together six book reviews for you to learn more about your favorite books!

A mix of stories, articles, poetry, you would love to read this issue again and again!

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


Author of acclaimed books, 'A Girl Like That' and 'The Beauty of the Moment', Tanaz Bhathena is back with a Fantasy Novel India has been waiting for, 'Hunted By The Sky'

I woke up, excited. The day I had a virtual meeting with our Cover girl of my very own magazine has finally arrived. The meeting was scheduled at 12 noon.

I finished up my morning chores, "It's only half an hour left!" I hurriedly picked up my hair brush, combed my hair so that I don't look like a just woke up kid!

I had so, so much pending, had to

recollect the story I read, revisit the questions I had and a lot more. I quickly poured my black coffee in the cup and sat on the sofa comfortably. The iPad was fully charged.

"Thank goodness!"

The meeting was just about to start. I sat in the comfort of my cozy living room staring at the screen in front of me, waiting for her to join. A nudge was heard and a beautiful face with short hair appeared on the screen.

Write your own story

A couple of Hi's and Hello's were exchanged and she began by introducing herself. "My name is Tanaz Bhathena and I’m a young adult author based in Canada. I was born in Mumbai and raised in Saudi Arabia, where I lived for fifteen years before moving to my current hometown of Mississauga, Ontario. I have written two contemporary novels, A Girl Like That and The Beauty of the Moment. Hunted by the Sky is my first foray into fantasy fiction."


I wanted to know how did it really happen? what inspired her, what was the trigger? She was quick in responding back. "When I was about five or six years old. I wanted to describe a cloud formation in the sky and put it on paper. I was about

eight when I attempted to write an actual story, which I didn’t finish, but had a lot of fun with."

Choosing the characters is something tricky especially when it comes to writing a Fantasy Novel! She draws her characters meticulously.

"I always use a combination of characteristics about people I know in real life to portray my characters —whether it’s contemporary or fantasy fiction."

However, none of my fictional characters exactly match these people; most would likely not know I’m writing about them."

Hunted By The Sky is set in the medieval era. I was curious to know why she chose that time to write a

I always use a combination of characteristics about people I know in real life to portray my characters—whether it’s contemporary or fantasy fiction.


fantasy novel. She was quite excited on sharing her love with history and how she enjoyed reading about the Mughals, Rajputs. "As a teenager, my favourite history classes always involved medieval India. I was fascinated by stories about the Mughals, the Rajputs, and the Marathas, and was always trying to find out more about the culture during that time period."

The challenging part was to mix and match the characters and their back stories.

"Initially, I found Cavas’s perspective challenging to write. I needed to figure out his back story and how it would fit into the larger plotline. I also had to understand how his arc would develop and change, while also linking it to the book’s themes and also Gul’s arc."

"I have a question. How do you plan your plot or storyline?" I took a sip of my coffee "I don’t like outlining books in too much


detail as that, for me, ruins an element of surprise in my writing. My process is a lot more organic. I write a few chapters, roughly plan out where the next scenes will lead to and then just let the story flow naturally."


Not only the history, but the book also is a mix of cultures. On this mix, she explained the reason behind it impeccably. "I am a Parsi or a Zoroastrian of Indian origin. For me, being Parsi has always meant an amalgamation of Indian and Persian cultures. This comes through in all of my books in some form or another. For Hunted by the Sky, it worked particularly well as Persia had a huge influence on medieval Indian culture.

Persian was the language of the royal courts, epics like the Mahabharata were translated from Sanskrit into Persian during Emperor Akbar’s time. I decided to incorporate both Hindu and Zoroastrian mythology in the book and for that I re-read the Mahabharata and the Shahnameh. I didn’t want Hunted by the Sky to be a retelling of mythology, but I did use existing myths as a base to create my world’s stories and magical creatures."


Why Fantasy? "I loved reading fantasy fiction as a child, but never thought I had the imagination to write a story in the genre. After trying and failing to write a science fiction dystopian novel, I decided

Don’t let anyone else define you or your potential. Only you can decide what you are capable of. Write your own story.


to give fantasy a shot again I also decided to change the setting to one inspired by medieval India and that’s when I found the story I wanted to tell. I enjoy reading most genres, but my favorites tend to be contemporary, historical and fantasy romance."


The Character of Gul depicted in the story is a powerful one. I wanted to know her stint with power. "I think women in general are powerful, but we all exhibit our powers in different ways. Gul is brave, but she also goes through a very traumatic experience at a young age her parents are killed. Vengeance is what keeps her going and gives her a reason to live."

Her message to young girls"Don’t let anyone else define you or your potential. Only you can decide what you are capable of.

Write your own story."

"I feel people often underestimate the strength of women. But you only need to look back into our recorded history to find strong female politicians, warriors and leaders —Nur Jehan, Chand Bibi, Razia Sultana, and the Attingal Ranis of Kerala are some examples. Indian women are often portrayed in singular ways: as devoted spouses and mothers, as obedient daughters. But all women have shades of gray to them and more than strength,

I wanted to depict that reality. People aren’t perfect and women should not have to bear the burden of perfection either."


"Apart from reading books, I love walking and listening to podcasts. I also enjoy nail art; it’s something I’ve taken up more recently over the past couple of years and it helps me relax."


About the favorite books" The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, Tales from Firozsha Baag by Rohinton Mistry, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. All these authors mentioned are favorites.


Tanaz was a bit saddened as she finished the book. There was a sense of relief though, but no surprises.

The sadness was due to the fact that she was enjoying writing the book which was finished! "If you think you can predict the plot, you may be in for a few surprises. There are a couple of turns the story took that surprised even me while writing the book."

On the upcoming plans for movies or web series, she said, "I am currently working on edits for the second book in


this series. There are no plans yet for a motion picture/web series." The interview ended up with a smile and goodbye's! It was lovely talking to her. "Finally, time to write the feature!" I finished up the coffee by sipping the last few drops of my black coffee and headed to my desk to begin writing.

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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.


Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl Gul in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance―and discovers a magic he never expected to find.Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort...a world with secrets deadlier than their own.


We help you increase your book sales.

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A collection of four uniquely wonderful long stories, including a stand-alone sequel to the No. 1 bestseller THE OUTSIDER.


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A funny, fierce and frank travel memoir featuring a quest for spiritual awakening and weight loss, love and betrayal, and eventually selfdiscovery

A young woman’s quest for love, truth and weight loss. Late 1970s, Bombay. Manjula is in her twenties, struggling to earn a living as an authorillustrator. Then, a deceptively routine visit to a diet clinic and an encounter with two tall Dutch men turn her life inside out.


EXECUTIVE PRESENCE: The P.O.I.S.E Formula for Leadership

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?


Shital Kakkar Mehra is India’s leading Executive Presence coach. With twenty years of experience, she has trained over 45,000 professionals across industries, including numerous CEOs from leading multinational and Indian companies. Her book, Business Etiquette: A Guide for the Indian Professional, has sold over 50,000 copies and has been translated into several regional Indian languages.


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?

Crack the code for Executive Presence with:

Physical Presence: Refine body language skills

Online Presence: Build your global personal brand

Influencer Presence: Master executive maturity; learn to ‘speak up’

Stage Presence: Inspire teams with effective public-speaking skills

Engagement Presence: Build strong and diverse networks




On the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, HarperCollins announces a new biography of the strongman from Ballia by historian Roderick Matthews

The India of 2020 faces a crisis as dire as the one in 1990-91 when Chandra Shekhar wa s Prime Minister. This new biography shows how he took the right decisions to save the country at that time and the lessons his experience holds for the India of today.

CHANDRA SHEKHAR served as the eighth Prime Minister of India. He took charge at a difficult moment in India’s history, after the fall of the VP Singh government in the aftermath of the post-Mandal Commission agitations. From November 1990 to June 1991, Chandra Shekhar headed a minority government of a breakaway faction of the Janata Dal, with outside support from the Congress, as a stopgap arrangement to delay elections. At that time, the Indian economy was in a shambles, and Chandra Shekhar’s government was forced to authorize the mortgaging of gold to avoid default of payment. The prime minister also had to face up to challenging issues such as the Ram Janmabhoomi–Babri Masjid dispute; secessionist movements in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Assam; and the controversy erupting from India’s decision to allow US aircraft to refuel in Bombay during the American invasion of Kuwait. There was political chaos too, as Rajiv Gandhi pulled the rug from under Chandra Shekhar’s feet, leading to his fall in just five months. Chandra Shekhar’s time in office was short but critical in laying

the groundwork for the liberalization of the economy. Chandra Shekhar And the Six Months That Saved India looks at the pivotal role the strongman from Ballia played in the transition of power at a decisive juncture and the lessons his tenure holds for the India of today.

RODERICK MATTHEWS is a writer and Indian historian. Born in 1956, he studied Modern History at Balliol College, Oxford, and has written articles and reviews for a number of British and Indian publications. His previous books include The Flaws in the Jewel: Challenging the Myths of British India, Jinnah vs Gandhi and The Great Indian Rope Trick.


Saving the Indian Saver

All of us love to spend. But before we can do that, we have to have earned or saved some money. Only sovereigns don’t have to: they can print money, or borrow; in our country, where they own banks, they can use our deposits to lend and splurge for goals that may not always be economic in nature.


Urjit R. Patel served as the twenty-fourth Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. During his tenure he was a director of the Bank for International Settlements, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Financial Stability Institute. Before his governorship he was the Deputy Governor in charge of monetary policy; he chaired a committee on strengthening monetary policy.


Sometime in 2015, news of unsustainable bad debts (nonperforming assets or NPAs) in the Indian banking sector started to first trickle out, and then became a flood. In the forefront were some of India’s largest government banks, and a series of tycoons who were running their empires on unpaid debts. The banks’ problems landed on the table of Urjit Patel when he became Governor of Reserve Bank of India in September 2016. Based on thirty years of macroeconomic experience, he worked out the ‘9R’ strategy which would save our savings, rescue our banks and protect them from unscrupulous racketeers. In this book,

he explains the problem and how it blew up; and how he would have resolved it if he had not been prevented.

The government is responsible for ensuring adequate capital for banks that are under its ambit on a urable/sustainable basis. The dominant owner pre-2014 didn’t question risk controls in government banks even as it received significant dividends. Several government banks did not have senior management in place, and governance suffered. This is a perennial shortcoming on account of bureaucratic inertia and political meddling…




On His Holiness’ 85th birth anniversary, we are delighted to reveal the cover of His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama: An Illustrated Biography by Tenzin Geyche Tethong

This visually-stunning biography of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama – blessed by His Holiness himself – is an authentic and intimate profile of the world’s greatest living spiritual figure.

Tenzin Geyche Tethong is one of the longest-serving members of His Holiness' Private Office (1963 to 2006). A trusted and integral member of His Holiness' most intimate circle for over four decades, he was by His Holiness' side during some of his most challenging yet rewarding years. Tethong has been a trusted aide to His Holiness from the early years in exile and has accompanied him on many official international visits over four decades. His proximity provided him unprecedented access and insight into the life of His Holiness. This is the first time he has written about his remarkable years in the service of His Holiness. Jane Moore, a seasoned photo researcher from the UK, has curated the visual material. The Dalai Lama’s youngest brother, Tendzin Choegyal is a close friend to Tethong and has acted as a mentor for this book project. He has written the foreword for the book. Featuring previously unpublished photographs, documents, archival material and memories of those closest to the Dalai Lama, this book draws critical attention to his life in exile and the wealth of his compassion in the face of on-going struggle for his homeland, Tibet The result is a memorable

portrait of an icon who has won the attention and the hearts of billions across the world. With blessings of His Holiness, the book will soon be published globally in multiple languages including English, German, Dutch, Russian, Italian, Czech, Estonian, Lithuanian, Slovak and many more.


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Loneliness, Health and What Happens

When We Find Connection


MIND Peace Corner &

We at Storizen are evolving and with that we want to help and establish connection with every reader of ours.Introducing a new column space for interaction for lifeenhancing, and anything that's lifeenhancing is worth doing that would want you to live forever.You can always edit a bad page but can’t edit a blank page.We here want to help you choose happiness over sufferings. Making space for the unknown future to fill up life with yet-to-

come surprises.We welcome questions to be answered by experts to help you deal with the situation you are in! Send

in your queries
Coming Up from this August!

Finding HOPE In Hopelessness

It would be crazy to say that it is easy to stay positive amidst these difficult times. The year 2020 has caused a lot of disruption in people's lives across the world, from deadly virus to worrisome skirmish at Indo-China border to devastating cyclone in West Bengal. Fear, anxiety, and worry are spreading from individuals to families to communities. With such lofty burdens of the negative emotions, it is challenging to persevere when the normalcy looks like a distant dream.

While it's impossible to avoid what is happening around us, we must look for

things that help keep the hope alive in us, be it talking to a friend, watching a favorite TV show, learning a new skill, listening to music, or any activity. Hope begins in the dark, and if we wouldn't let the darkness defeat us, the dawn will surely come. As a prayerful nation, we should be calmed with the fact that God is still in control and will sail through these difficult times, through his love and grace.

Winter always turns to spring; however, we will only be able to enjoy the bloom of spring if we diligently challenge ourselves in winter and keep moving forward without getting defeated.

The key to victory lies in how hard we struggle when we are in these challenging times, how wisely we use that time, and how meaningfully we live each day. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but first, we must inhabit the darkness with complete faith that respite awaits us.

JULY 2020

Cultivate Spirituality

Now, more than ever is the right time to set an example for our future generations on how to rise above and be strong in hard times, and the best way to do that is to cultivate a spiritual practice through heart-centered awareness.

The heart has that powerful force that gives a push to action. The initial inspiration to do any activity always comes from the heart. Having a dedicated spiritual practice expands the mental horizon and plays a vital role in helping us embrace the unknown and see more possibilities in known. We usually seek wisdom and hope outside; however, it has always been within us; we have to bring forth the courage to seek within.

Cultivating a spiritual practice helps us give that courage to seek within and provides direct access to our inner voice.

Spirituality means different things to different people. For some, spirituality means devoting to religious faith. In contrast, for others, it means seeking a more personal connection with their

spiritual side by engaging in activities such as yoga, meditation, spending time in nature, listening to music, or any creative expression. These practices help in connecting more deeply to the soul, to the silent witness that rests within. The more we shift our focus towards the path of spirituality, the more we begin to see good things in life.

Practicing Nichiren Buddhism gives me hope

My inclination towards spirituality has always been there for as long as I can remember. I have always been very inquisitive and wanted to dig deep into the facets of life. The hunger to understand the aspects of life in depth became even stronger when loneliness took a toll on my mental health after moving to the States.

I felt very vulnerable and hopeless. That's when I got introduced to the practice of Nichiren Buddhism, a branch of Mahayana Buddhism. Soon after getting into the practice, I realized that taking charge of my happiness and recognizing my own potential was something I had been missing in my life.


I chant “Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo” morning and evening with faith, and it has changed my life. I’m a much more liberated person now. However, the change wasn’t magical; it came naturally and built organically within me. Hardships and problems don’t scare me now; in fact, I happily embrace them. With my thorough efforts and determination towards the practice, I realized that my challenges and hardships are the opportunities to see the light and transform my karmas.

Hope through kindness

Creating hope in any formcan go a long way. A small gesture of kindness not only spreads hope among others but also brings back positivity in our lives too. It is during the difficult times that words of encouragement, gestures of kindness, and actions of compassion are most helpful. Take time to sprinkle kindness, extend a helping hand, and bring hope to others' lives. You’ll never know how far it’ll go.

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!

JULY 2020


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Light On The Other Side Of The Dark Tunnel

It was May 2016, I remember important days and month very clearly because they mark as major milestone in life and you know what triggered you so much that you took a step up and reached to point where you are now

Anyways let’s get back to the point, it was May 2016 – the lowest point in my life. Now you will ask how will I judge/decide that it was lowest and I think I have enough reasons to justify the same , I felt that I was lost, there was nothing in my life to look forward to, I woke up each day with no new hopes or no new goals, the people and things around me, no more excited me and above all there is Zero zeal left to do even the basic task(s) and if you agree with my points I


would further want to say that I actually had hit Rock-bottom and I have no shame in saying that. Just a break up caused this me (mind it while writing today I am saying just a break up but at that point of time it was something huge , that bothered me so much that I stopped living a normal healthy life), getting back to story again. Each day I felt like I am going through a Dark Tunnel seeing no light at the end of it but what I did was, I kept going each day every day One day at a time

I wrote this for me and read it daily Sun Rising up in a sky after a long dark night, Winter turning into Spring after

months, Caterpillar turning into Butterfly, Coal turning into Diamond after it is buried under earth for years, Stone turning into Pearls into deep dark ocean, Storm and Lightening helping to emerge a Rainbow and You are still believing that there is no light at the end of this Long, Dark Deep Tunnel.

Stuti is a Software Engineer by profession and a writer by nature. She realized her love for writing while blogging for her own page. Her work has also been appreciated by Quora users. She is God's true evangelist and her work speaks volumes about it @stutigogia

"The greatest lesson of life is that you are responsible for your life." - Oprah Winfrey

There was a small bird called Siya. She lived with her mother in the nest in a dense forest. While growing up she saw her mother struggle to get food and often saw her mother sleeping empty stomach as she used to feed everything to her Those sacrifices made Siya dream big, she dreamt to fly high and reach the sky. She wanted to put an end to all the struggle in her mother’s life. She was too young to understand the complexities of life, but that did not stop her to dream big.

Whether we achieve or not, one needs to dream and have goal in their lives. After growing up little, she started thinking how to save her nest from storms or animals in the forest. Basically, to build a stronger and sustainable nest She started picking wood pieces, solid branches one by one and made a descent nest, but it was too weak to sustain storms and her nest was broken after few years.

She was shattered and started crying furiously as for her, the world had come to an end,

she had no shelter and now was exposed to storms and animals of that dense Jungle. Her mother had also left for heavenly abode and by then she was all alone, all by her own self to face the real world. For all these years, her mother used to protect her and get food for her, she was not allowed to go far from nest and was always told to be in the forest, near the tree, near the nest. For all her life till now, she had only seen that, protection, love and care.

The only reason Siya was not breaking free and escaping from the jungle as over the time she adopted the belief that it just wasn’t possible. She was made to face the complexities of the Jungle, strong winds, wild animals and darkness. Howling voices and continuous attacks on her had shaken her completely. She once thought to surrender herself to animals in Jungle and give up her life, but then sitting on the branch of tree, she saw a colony of ants, they were


climbing the tree, and after reaching at certain point, a strong wind used to knock them down and they again had to start from ground to reach their destination or goal This happened almost 8-10 times, before the ants could reach the place they wanted to go.

She was overwhelmed with the perseverance demonstrated by those ants. She then noticed a butterfly cocoon. Siya kept seeing the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Until it suddenly stopped making any progress and looked like it was stuck. A kindhearted man was passing by, he decided to help butterfly He took a sharp knife from his tool kit and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly came out of cocoon easily, although it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man didn’t think anything of it and sat there waiting for the wings to enlarge to support the butterfly. But that didn’t happen. The butterfly spent the rest of its life unable to fly, crawling around

with tiny wings and a swollen body. Siya also kept watching the butterfly for next few days. Despite the kind heart of the man, he didn’t understand that the restricting cocoon and the struggle needed by the butterfly to get itself through the small opening; were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings. To prepare itself for flying once it was out of the cocoon.

That moment and incident was a game changer for Siya, her life now had new hope, she understood that our struggles in life develop our strengths. Without struggles, we never grow and never get stronger, so it’s important for us to tackle challenges on our own, and not be relying on help from others. She then built her nest again, this time stronger and at relatively safer place. She started seeing all beautiful things in her life and started counting her blessings. After all, she had wings and was not crippled like that butterfly. She chose to fight back and roar, soar high in sky, this time not only to dream but to achieve.


In our lives too, we experienced such situations, Siya, Ants or Butterfly, they are nothing but reflections of phases of our lives, the dejection felt on loosing your loved ones, bullying, attacks ,struggles, disappointment, threat to selfrespect, integrity etc we all face these somewhere or the other in our lives and we would be lying if we don’t agree that those were some of our lowest points in our life and suicidal or negative thoughts did come to us then.

Our struggles in life develop our strengths. Without struggles, we never grow and never get stronger, so it’s important for us to tackle challenges on our own, and not be relying on help from others No matter how much the world tries to hold you back, always continue with the belief that what you want to achieve is possible. Believing you can become successful is the most important step in achieving it. One such incident which always inspire me is story of my friend Varsha,

who has fought all odds her in life courageously and today is an inspiration for many women like us; unlike other women she did not give up on her life but used her best skills and abilities to come out of hardships of her life and start a business of her own Usually, women are devastated after facing financial crunches and challenges in life.

But Varsha was some of other kind, a self-sustainable, confident, hard working woman who just used her skills and craft taught by her grand mom to start her business of organic handloom, with just few thousands in her pocket. Today she is living her dream and not only fulfilling her own needs of raising her child single handedly, she empowers other women too like her, she stands for ultra violet which means finer collection.

She is one living example of how women can empower themselves if they have vision and courage.


Her business, gives livelihood to rural women, takes care of environment and protects are cultural heritage of rich and fine textile. Kudos to Varsha’s hard work and determination. To sum up, below are few famous lines to summarize

“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of another people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice.

And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Meet Abhrekha Jain Sahlot, the name is derivative of her parent’s name ( Abhay & Rekha) She is full of life, energy and enthusiasm. A gold medalist computer engineer she has been working with top MNC for over 13 years now.

Blessed with an incredible supportive family, Husband Tushar Sahlot stands behind her as the strongest pillar of strength, shouldering equal responsibilities at home. A doting mother of 2 boys ( Nabhanyu & Daksh Sahlot), life has given her various opportunities to explore and she seems to have taken best of everything. From singing, painting to acting, swimming and basketball, she has been into various co-curricular activities from artistic ones to the sports ones

However, currently, she enjoys sharing her blessings with fellow women by addressing women and parenting forums and helping women in her capacity and spread message & the importance of being happy & content @abhrekha

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Life is fab, Goodbye Depression!

Alike your physical health, your mental health also needs attentiveness as more than 264 million people around the globe suffer from depression. Depression is often regarded as a taboo to be talk about as it is the normal people who oftentimes mock and label it asa mental disorder. One might feel superior after bullying, defaming, nagging, pressurizing, denouncing, befouling, misguiding and constantly altercating a person but it can apparently contribute to depression.Depression is a silent killer which results from a complex interaction of psychological, biological and social factors. It is noteworthy to mention that mental health and physical health are interdependent. If one is mentally exhausted, it will lead to physical malady.

The other factors that causes depression includes major life events like flunking exams, losing a job or income, failed relationship/marriage, grief from the loss of loved one, (physical, mental, sexual & emotional) abuse which provokes mood fluctuations, defiant behaviour, vocal outbursts, sobbing, low

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energy, difficulty in concentration, isolation, sleeping &appetite disorders, fatigue, anxiety and irritability.

Aw,Depression- let’s conquest it!

We often say that life is unfair and full of challenges,but one should never complain about the difficulties inlife because the director (God) always gives the hardest roles to his best Actors. We need to accept the fact that unfairness is part and parcel of life as it would give us the maturity to live our life wisely, instead of playing the victim card.

The society we live in is very villainous, dodgy, phoney, derogatory, imperious and nasty where the survival of a benignant is just like the survival of the fittest. Learn to be kind to yourself and look at the bright side of life. It is easier said than done but it is true that nothing lasts forever. The cycle of life will bring you to the utmost happiness and sorrows which will keep on rotating, but you need to learn to be calm and abandon all attachment to the results of action to attain supreme peace. Everything in your life has happened for a reason and you have to live through the worst days so that

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you don’t take the best parts for granted. There is no need for you to fit in the society- be yourself and live independently according to your own standards and code of honour.

The reason why the dead people receive more flowers than the living ones is because regret is more powerful than gratitude. You should learn to live in harmony with yourself and the people around you so as to create a magical memory. Everything in your life is temporary: thoughts, emotions, people, the cycle of happiness-sorrow-success-failure, materialistic pleasures- so don’t get carried away and go with the flow. Bad thoughts are attention seekers so try to ignore them. Share your story with the one you trust the most. Do what you love even if it is childish or crazy. Realize the fact that the life is short so enjoy every moment of it. You were not born to live a depressing lifeyou are precious, you are loved, your existence matter! Good or bad, nothing lasts forever. Today it rained but tomorrow it will shine You will heal with time. When life will give you hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have zillion reasons to smile. In the midst of chaos, there always lies a beauty

JULY 2020 P h o t o b y e m r e c a n a r ı k

CHEER every moment, LOVEwithout limits, LAUGHoften, ENJOY deeply, SING out loud, DANCEuncontrollably, POSE tupidly, DREAM big,DISCOVER new hobbies,SHARE your blessings, PLAY hard, PRACTICE daily, TRY always, GIVE without expectations, WORK hard, MEDITATE sincerely, HELP endlessly, SPEAK gently, RELAX well, IGNORE quickly, FORGIVE more, FORGET past, LIVE in the present, WORRY LESS about the future, AVOID procrastination, LEARN from your mistakes, BE happy, THINK positively, STAY strong,STOP comparing, KILL jealousy, RESPECT everyone,HAVE faith, REMAIN loyal, BUILD character, GET in a routine, REJOICE in nature, EXPRESS gratitude, AVOID over-thinking, ACCEPT the reality, KEEP shining, TAKE chances, BElike a kid (again).

Thank you Nani &Nanaji (Asha Khanduja & Kashi Lal Khanduja),Dadi& Dadaji (Prem Gulati & Ram Prakash Gulati), SSI (Sanjay Gulati, Surekha Gulati & Ishita Gulati) for your valuable inputs.

Riya Gulati is a Paralegal at Law Offices of Caro Kinsella, Ireland. She is LL.M (Intellectual Property & Information Technology) from University College Dublin & BA.LLB from Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University.


A Ray Of Hope Amidst Misery

Loosing yourself into the woods seems beautiful. It is spectacular when you get drenched in the pure water that is descending from the dark emerald leaves of the giant trees. You travel the route ahead not knowing what lies beyond, under the warmth of the sunshine that paves the way by shedding light, at times, even in the darkest of shadows in this wild place called life.

And then in light of Almighty, voluntarily or involuntarily you get thrown into this deep pit. Unbeknownst to you, there you are. All alone. All by yourself.That chirping sound of birds, that promptly running water of the stream, that fragrance in the air, all seem to be gone or taken away. And when people smell the fragrance and you can’t, you are labelled an oaf. You try. You try extremely hard to assimilate all the happenings that led you there when you had EVERYTHING you need to have to have a smooth peregrination. And there in that pit, The Dark Night rises. In between the flusters causing to you to convince the world around you for no reason you forget to love yourself. To care for yourself.

As the turn of recent events has made us to think, rethink, comprehend and contemplate to have the cognizant of mental health, scores of common people, renowned personalities, not just the filthy rich but even the middle class have discussed, tweeted and posted about how necessary and important it is to seek professional help, if in need. I wish to recount my horrible story too. The dreadful days of my soon to he 20 years old life.The two years at my Pre University college, or said differently, classes 11th and 12th got me all drained.


That is the pressure that all, literally ALL THE TEENAGERS give through. You know what they say? Few have this ‘inherent ability’ to go through these numerous formulae, mathematical and chemical equations. Only and only the capable ones can do that. Others, or in those mighty and degrading professors' words, only the ‘intelligent kid’ or that Sharmaji ka beta or Chatur from the acclaimed 2009 film 3 idiots can do that. Others can’t . They simply can’t.

I was this heavily vulnerable kid who was cocooned within the comfort of her pampering parents. I hadn’t yet stepped out of that shell. And when I did I didn’t have the slightest of idea that my regular classes in the place (read college) where my put myself in , would all be about letting each other down, insulting, hurling abuses and even in the worst scenario causing the social isolation of that student. I couldn’t get great grades. And I don’t blame them. It was totally my mistake. Because every time I sat down to study, I would remember how guilty I ought to be. For letting my parents down, for letting few “only-to-ask-yourmarks" relatives down. I felt sad. Extremely sad. The unhappiness

struck me like a thunderbolt. And to an extent it wasn’t just sadness. Or unhappiness. I would roam around the campus for no reason, dying within, faking at a smile at those who really cared. I would lock myself in for hours in my room, wouldn’t come out, wouldn’t eat anything, had tears rolling down my cheeks ALL THE TIME. I once wept so hard in the middle of the night, I went to the bathroom only to come out all fatigued and having suicidal ideation in the morning.

The daily dose o mortification given to me by lecturers and classmates(not all),the social isolation that caused due regular low grades, the terming that I was ‘unintelligent’ finally took a toll and I realized that it wasn’t just sadness. It wasn’t just unhappiness. It was DEPRESSION There! Am I weak? Well, up to you to be judgmental and not understand what this is about or to sympathize and provide support to millions of such.Now few might undoubtedly question how can that be? Isn’t depression something that is internal? Well, it is internal. BUT IT CAN BE CAUSED BY SEVERAL EXTERNAL FACTORS TOO! Constant bullying, deliberate social isolation, just providing discouraging and destructive criticism to that person, many like that.


Not that I didn’t seek professional help fearing judgement. My parents are extremely supportive. They still are. Though I realized it was too late to do so. But guess what? It wasn’t. The class 12th results weren’t as expected but now I realize that I was not just a failure. BUT A PROUD FAILURE. But I am a fighter too. Fighter of this invisible diseasedepression. Even at nineteen, I am constantly reminded to swallow the cipralex tablet every night before I go to bed. (Yeah, I am a professional forgetful creature). There I was climbing the rope thrown into the lit to help me get out of it. And the clear vision engulfed my eyes and I could see it. See The Ray of Hope amidst all this misery. So? Here’s the moral: Depression is real. It is okay not to be okay. IT DOESN’T SIGNIFY THAT YOU ARE WEAK. Heed to professional help, if you need to. There’s nothing wrong. It isn’t sinful to do so. You know, we should just take just a step forward to spread a little kindness and respect, despite the differences. It can be as simple as smiling at someone who you come across regularly. And be a little more grateful to all your loved ones for simply loving you! And as for Sushant, may his soul rest in peace. Let’s not forget there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

Varada Hegde, an undergraduate student of Bachelor of Computer Applications at Rani Chennama University, writes about mental health and has keen interest in writing and has been doing poetry for quite some time. Varada Hegde recently participated in a national level writing competition called “Penlightenment" which was arranged by the non profit organization- Rehana's Dreams, which is run by the students of National Law University Jodhpur, in which she secured an honorary mention. As for her achievements and accomplishments, she definitely has a lot to do (of course she cant name each and every achievement since 2nd grade) and is a budding and an aspiring writer still developing and discovering writing and is looking for opportunities to tell stories.

50 | STORIZEN MAGAZINE JULY 2020 @VaradaHegde @ the.crescent.poet


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The Play of Hope & Despair

I don’t usually give in to despair. I take pride in being an out and out optimist who bounces back in no time from any challenging or desperate situation, be it professional or personal. But when I rarely do despair it sinks in very deep, leaving me incapacitated emotionally, making every day feel like drudgery. The lockdown due to COVID-19 was one such rare occasion. For almost a month I felt as if my world would collapse, at times I felt I would break down. There were times at night when I would wake up, gripped by anxiety for the well-being of my loved ones, an odd fear that I may die all alone. One night I woke up startled by the sound of an aeroplane, a warplane I thought, that would drop a bomb and roof would collapse over me. The fear froze me for a few minutes. Maybe there was no plane, maybe it was just one of those special aeroplanes, can’t say for sure!

Past few months have been difficult, the lockdown has been hard on most of us. For me, staying alone, I was suddenly hit by a feeling of complete


isolation. It’s not that I have a thriving social life, or even miss not having one. I am selectively social at best, catching up with a close friend over a coffee or beer after work or on the weekends. Many weekends I happily spent with myself - reading, writing, cooking, watching something, or just doing nothing But once locked in, I started missing the routine. I missed going to the office every day and greeting my colleagues. I missed my infrequent evening outings terribly. Though I have been working from home, virtual meetings and phone calls were an everyday affair, it didn’t feel the same. I would talk to my friends and family every day, sometimes on video, but I so missed the human touch.

And the fact that I am somewhat of a perfectionist, trying to keep my house spick and span while meeting all the deadlines at work, only made things worse. I would jump off the bed every morning, rush through chores like sweeping, mopping and dusting, open my laptop by 9 a.m., for somehow with work from home the deadlines only got steeper. I would be completely drained by the end of the day, often surviving on Maggie.

One evening the sinking feeling gripped me so hard that I called my cousin who happens to be a psychiatrist. A long chat with her, friendly, sisterly, sometimes her professional tone helped. I decided to let go, I decided to focus on the positives House could be messy, it’s ok if start work at 9:30, I told myself


I would spend hours in the balcony gazing at the stars or my little flowers. Nature that healed since the lockdown, helped me heal. The promise of a special someone that he would be with me moment the flights resumed gave me hope.

But when the time came for him to arrive, he let me down. I was stunned, the sudden turn of events left me numb. I was afraid that I would sink to despair again, but surprisingly, I held my own. I went on with my days as usual, feeling less isolated as the restrictions eased Despite my heartbreak and some moments when I would feel miserable (still do at times), I managed to look ahead with optimism and hope. My emotions found expressions in Lockdown Songs – a few poems that I penned. Cliched as it may sound, I chose to believe the boomerang theory –whatever’s mine will come back to me if it doesn’t, it never was.

And it did come back, I don’t know for how long,but I decided to hold on to hope, on matter what. Or maybe, I finally realized, only I can make me happy!

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



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When Almighty Becomes Your Savior

Can you evade unfortunate incidents in your life? You cannot. When a mishap or an unfavorable situation knocks at the door of your life, you have no other option but to resort to Almighty. In times of difficulty, when you are surrounded by a problem, a ray of hope comes to your rescue. There comes a time in everyone's life when people do not understand how to get out of a tough situation. If you are feeling the same right now, then you should know that your problems are transitory. Without losing hope, you should believe in the miracles which can happen at any time in your life. Today, I will share a story with you which will not let you fall in the pit of disappointments.

It was the day when my parents and I decided to go to Tirupati. It is believed that Lord Vishnu's abode is in Tirumala hills. One who seeks His blessings gets free from all miseries. The term misery can be interpreted in many ways. Misery differs from a person to person. The misery we faced is a little different from others.

We were excited to go to the Lord Venkateshwara's shrine at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh. We have boarded the train from Mumbai and reached Tirupati station at the right time. After reaching the station, we took a cab and the driver drove us to the enchanting Tirumala Hills.

In order to reach Tirumala, one has to cross seven hills. Our Lord resides at the top of a hill. The driver helped us reach safely on Tirumala Hills. We have our hotel room reserved which was situated in the hills. The large premise of the hills was echoed with "Om Namo Venkatesaya". If you want to visit heaven, then you should come to seek the blessings of Lord Balaji in Tirumala hills.

By God's grace, my parents and I had glimpses and blessings of Lord Balaji in the temple. Everything was running smoothly. We were having a peaceful and wonderful time in the hills of Tirumala until we bumped into a problem while driving down to Tirupati. It is said that if you seek


We had our stay in Tirumala for a week. On the fifth day, we booked a shared cab and drove down to Tirumala. We were enjoying the captivating views of the mountains and valleys. The hills were covered with dense forest and fog, as we started our journey to Tirupati early in the morning. The tall mountains which were standing amidst the forest were beckoning tourists to delight in the exhilarating location of Tirumala. We reached Tirupati safely and had performed puja to the Goddess peacefully. Now, it is time to drive back again to Tirumala hills.

As it is said that problems do not forewarn you. It was evening time. Sun was setting behind the hills. As we were driving up the hills, the beautiful view of the

setting sun caught our eyes. The journey from Tirumala to Tirupati was indeed tiring. My parents and the other family were exhausted due to gruelling journey. As we were driving up the hills, our cab came to a sudden halt. As we stepped out of the vehicle, we came to know that the two tyres got punctured. Getting a mechanic shop in the hills is next to impossible. Driving on the hills of Tirumala is risky, as many animals come out of the forest as night sets in. Darkness prevailed in the hills and on the roads. Few vehicles were passing by the roads. We decided to get back into the car and wait for assistance. It's been almost two hours and there was no help from anyone. We were not only dead tired but we all were extremely hungry.

After we came out of Tirupati temple, we had been to see other temples which were close to Tirupati. As we were traveling all day since morning, we skipped eating lunch outside. We managed with the fruits which we carried with us. Before getting in the cab, we had only a plate of idli sambar. It was almost 6 pm then. Now, it is 20:00 pm and we are stranded with our conked car in the middle of the road blessings of Lord Balaji, then you must seek blessings of His Consort, Goddess Padmavati. Knowing this, we decided to book a cab and go to Tirupati to perform our Puja to the Goddess. There was another family who wanted to share a cab with us. They too wanted to go to Tirupati.


amidst rocky hills. There were hardly any street lights on the roads of the hills. There was no food and no water left with us at this moment.

We were completely at sea. Our minds have stopped working for the time being. I had my old parents with me. The other family who was driving with us also had an elderly person with them. All we wanted was to get out of the place as early as possible. It has been four hours that we have been stranded at one place. My back started hurting badly. The sight of the hills at 22:00 pm was horrendous. The headlights of our cab were switched on.

There was a tree close to our car. We could catch sight of a large snake crawling on a tree. The horrifying view made us icy cold.

At that moment, the only thing I could do was to pray to God to come to our rescue. I want to save my parents and the family who was driving with us. It is 23:15 pm now and there was no trace of a person or a car moving on the road of the hills. We lost all hopes that we would get out of the

place. Not only our bodies, but also our eyes were tired. The driver and the passengers had put their heads down and slept. My parents fell asleep in a sitting position. I was constantly chanting the name of God. It was around 23:45 pm now. I could see a ray of hope in the form of a four-wheeler from a distance. As it came close to our car, the fourwheeler stopped and knocked the window glass of our car.

I made my parents, driver and other passengers who were with us awake. Two men were standing outside our car. They asked if we needed help. On enquiring about them, we came to know that they were security incharge of Tirumala hills who patrol around the seven hills at the night. I believed it was Lord Balaji who had sent these two men for our help at odd hours. They drove us in their jeep and helped us reach safely at our hotel in Tirumala.

We had no strength left in our bodies. We had little snacks and slept in no time. The next morning we started packing our bags, as it was time to leave our Lord's abode and come back to our home. That night I


realized that God is always around us and He helps His children in the time of their need. The Almighty was dressed in the attire of the security people who came to rescue us that night. We should never lose hope nor lose trust from God. Your problems might seem to be unresolving for you. But, have profound trust on the Almighty at all times. He will be your savior and He will show you the light when you pass through a dark tunnel

In a few words, Aparna defines a woman who beholds high aspirations and firmly believes in expanding her horizon. She holds a Master degree in English from Mumbai University. By profession, she is an online content writer and blogger who writes informative articles for various UK and US blogs and websites.

Her poems got published in the digital Reflection Magazine and in the Indian literature website named Facestory' She is a budding author too. Her first story on romantic theme got published in a book named "Memoirs Of Love".

As a person, she is open-minded, downto-earth and amiable in nature. Her world revolves around creativity. She wishes to make her mark in the literary world, hoping to leave an indelible imprint on her readers' minds.

A Thoughtful Read

When religion and blind beliefs overpower the common sense, the ability to think becomes difficult. And there are times when people's lives are at stake for a simple reason. If that reason is entangled with many shades of religion, then the aftermath of wrath is impossible to even anticipate. For some years, this kind of discrimination against religions is very rampant. There are many incidents where some people are tortured for eating the authentic food that belonged to their community. Likewise, there was also an incident when two young women commented on social media on a mass leader's death and the country knows how those were tortured. The basic freedom of speech is many a time tormented with such polluted ideologies. And, this holds good to every belief system in the country which is very painful to accept. This is a small intro to the very important aspect on which author Megha has penned this book This book, 'A Burning' by Megha Majumdar is a very complex read in terms of a strong story and great narration. The book deals very pragmatically with the things

everyone is aware of. There are sometimes where each one of us wants to raise our voice and voice our opinion, but back off due to the ' pressures' we foresee. But somewhere one's the inner voice which when arrested for a long time keeps thrusting to come out. In such cases, visual or print media take a great place. In such circumstances, with such incidents and events, this book acts as a face.

STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 61 B O O K R E V I E W JULY 2020 Click here to get your

Book Title: Fascinating Book Cover: The cover aptly complements the title.

Characters: The story has three main central characters Jivan, Lovely, and PT sir. Everyone's story is intertwined with each other and is indirectly linked.

Language & Grammar: Wonderful Narration. Doesn't seem like a Debutante's work.

About the Author:

Megha Majumdar was born and raised in Kolkata. She moved to the United States to attend college at Harvard University, where she was a Traub Scholar, followed by graduate school in social anthropology at Johns Hopkins University.

My Final Verdict: This book is strongly recommended and during these days of lockdown, this book definitely entertains the readers.


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!


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Reimagining Sufism

Soul Rivals discusses the many strands of Sufism

State, Militant and Pop Sufism in Pakistan

Sufism has always been a contested space in Pakistan. Successive governments, political parties and religious organisations have attempted to coopt it or reject it to suit their own political agendas.


Book Title: intriguing and tricky

Book Cover:

The cover image of the book is an artistic representation of an elderly Muslim man in traditional attire that usually is worn by many men who follow Islam.

A Must Read:

Very strongly I recommend this book to the readers of certain age groups who are interested in international political scenarios and geographical challenges with cultural changes.

'Soul Rivals'

Paracha is a very new book to me because of many reasons. Though familiar with some information about Muslims, this book has surprised me with so much new information. This book has given a new perception to see many things. Being a fan of Sufi music that I have been hearing from Indian musicians and singers from many other nations especially our neighboring nation Pakistan, the birth and metamorphosis of Sufism in various directions is described well in this book. There are literally many things that looked so unfamiliar and after reading this book I could sense a feeling of achievement that I have learned something very unique. This is my first book that happens to be written by a Pakistani Writer. It has always been a pending interest to read books from all countries. Due to various reasons, I skipped the idea. But this book embarked on me with a new beginning of my reading journey.

'Soul Rivals, this book is all about how Sufism has evolved in history. Being a naive person about the history of Sufism and politics related

to it, this book is a perfect guide. Also, there are many other terms that I have heard for the first time other than Sunni and Shia Muslims. The book talks about Barelvi and Deobandi's ways of life that changed the history of people's life in Pakistan. The book then narrates how the relationship between the country, people, state, and sub-sects has been modified as time goes on and how did it affect the belief system. Subsequently, the author tries to encapsulate the political angle around these cultural changes that also have marked many incidents.


My Final VerdictVery strongly I recommend this book to the readers of certain age groups who are interested in international political scenarios and geographical challenges with cultural changes.


Final Rating: 3/5

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


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@swapna508 @sappy_dreamz_unlimited


‘By the time you get this letter I'll be observing you all from the sky. I have no regrets, in fact even if I become a human again, I'll join the Army and fight for my Nation.’

There is a common saying that war is never good, peace is never bad. But if looked back into the history of mankind, it is apparent that there have been wars since prehistoric ages. Although many attempts have been made to abolish such a heinous act, nothing has changed so far. The statement made by Charles Darwin saying The survival of the fittest is always quoted by those who justify wars. But deep down if introspected, wars only create sadness and void. Personally, I salute and always feel ever indebted to the war heroes who have and are saving us from cross border attacks, somewhere connecting to the soldier's


fraternity is still a challenge. Ironically, one of my cousins recently attained Lt.Gen. rank yet, I see the gap. As someone quoted, how many of us really look forward to reading books and biographies about the war heroes apart from the usual rom-com, thrillers, or sci-fi books? I can say, this book must be my 10th book on Indian war heroes. Talking about the book, this e-book titled “Vijyant at Kargil: The Life of a Kargil Hero” is published by the esteemed Penguin Random House. This is the “first-ever” biography giving a rare insight into the heart and mind of one of India’s bravest soldiers, Captain Vijyant Thapar, son of Colonel VN Thapar and Vijyant was only 22 when he was martyred in the Kargil war in 1999. The book has been penned by Vijyant’s father Colonel VN Thapar and writer Neha Dwivedi, a martyr’s daughter herself. It is a great opportunity to read and post a review on this book. I also thank Storizen Team for this.

Vijyant Thapar

Book Title: Inspiring and motivational

Book Cover: A portrait of Captain Vijayant Thapar The Story

The story of every martyr and every brave retired soldier also needs to be told.

A Must Read

It is the duty of every parent and elder to make their children read books that talk about the real heroes of the land.

P h o t o b y A l e x a n d r a G o r n

My Final VerdictThe story of a savior turned martyr!


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!

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Enter The Fantasy World

Book Title: Intriguing and enchanting

Book Cover: Captivating Narration

With a fascinating story that oscillates between cultures and characters, the story of 'Hunted By The Sky' by Tanaz is extremely entertaining.

Language & Grammar:

The language used in the story is simple and non-complex. Also, the vocabulary and other Grammar elements used are rich and uncomplicated. Because of the simple yet fascinating language and storytelling the book can be read by readers of any age.

Of late I have been really liberal in my choice of choosing the books. Maybe, due to COVID times, books are really helping me out to scrap off the pressure. At this juncture, I have been reading a lot of non-fiction and Fantasy genre books. This book ' Hunted by the sky ' by Tanaz Bhatena did not disappoint me. The book is a perfect choice for the readers who are more onto fantasy fiction mixed up with mythology\history. It was way back a decade ago when I first read The Shiva Trilogy and after that, it is observed that myth-fiction has been the happening genre in Indian authors. Likewise, though not an Indian author, but this book by Tanaz reminded me of those fantast fiction ones. In this book, what I really liked is the story. Normally, the story is taken a back seat but the narration is always the best when it comes to such fantasy fiction. Likewise, here I really enjoyed the fantasy world creation This book, 'Hunted by the Sky' is inspired by medieval India and is very overwhelming. The readers can easily be lost in the wonderful world created by the author in the story. The descriptions were so rich and amazing, especially

the food descriptions. It is no doubt that the reader reading would actually feel hungry.

The mythology and the history mentioned in the story is captivating and amazing. The mystery and the magic world and the subplots related are very well described.

74 | STORIZEN MAGAZINE B O O K R E V I E W JULY 2020 Click here to get your copy

My Final Verdict:

An extremely entertaining fantasy action storyet.


Final Rating: 3/5

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

B o o k R e v i e w
JULY 2020
@swapna.peri @swapna508 @sappy_dreamz_unlimited

Enter The Land Of The Lovers

Meditative, rooted in location yet filtered through nostalgia, In the Land of the Lovers is a masterfully woven fable with interlocking tales that explore struggle, loss, longing and love with brilliant insight and luminous prose. by

It is very unusual that a book entertains you to the core. Every page and every word having a story is a miracle. Until many days, I was not finding many books that made me laugh, angry, smile, and think. This was one of the reasons I switched my interest in reading -nonfiction and memoirs. I think author Sakoon wanted me to get back to my old self. I say this because her book ' In the land of the lovers' rekindled my interest in reading good fiction. Setup in the land of rich culture and heritage Punjab, the story is an artistically written tale of love and all other human


emotions. She has touched every topic and theme which makes a book a perfect entertainer with a tinge of thought to nr provoked. Irrespective of the roles that people play in their lives, to deal and experience every feeling and endure even if it is pain s one of the key points that reflects in the story. Not to forget the amount of humor the story has. At times I laughed, I smiled, I was angry, I shied and I was happy. As a reader what more do I need? This book is a definite read!!

Set up in Punjab, the story - In the land of the lovers' is a tale of love, social values, and social taboos with a taste of modern life. Though not conventional yet adhering to societal rules, though not stereotypical but with a flavor of the culture and painful but with hope on life, author Sakoon Singh's debut novel is a good read. The story also has elements related to partition, the then faced pin and wrath, the loss of loved ones, and such feelings.


Book Title: Elusive and fascinating

Book Cover: Cheerful The Story

Set up in Punjab, the story - In the land of the lovers' is a tale of love, social values, and social taboos with a taste of modern life.

A Must Read

The book as entertaining as a good love story with lots of action in it.

My Final Verdict -

The book as entertaining as a good love story with lots of action in it.


Final Rating: 3/5

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

STORIZEN REVIEW B o o k R e v i e w STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 79 @swapna.peri @swapna508 @sappy_dreamz_unlimited JULY 2020
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Our Love for READING

Boons and Curses

One need not be a follower or a believer to read history and mythology. Being a believer in science and nature, sometimes I face a conflict in blind beliefs that often exist in the world around us. And coming from a country where God or the Idol worship is one of the prominent things, tales about the yester years often confuse me. But there is definitely some magic in them which attracts

With a clear mind, I have read the book and I won't' hesitate to say that I am astonished by some tales that author Yugal Joshi has narrated. Yugal Joshi, who is Krishna to the readers of the book 'Boons and Curses'. With a great amount of enthusiasm and interest, he has written this book. The mere mention of excerpts from Vedas stands highlight in the book. This book and the tales illustrated with minute details in the book are absolutely fascinating and ageless. The book is not mythological reference but can be referred to this generation also, in many ways.

Though the book does not take much creative liberty, there are some places where the author tried explaining in context to this generation of the world.

As Ramayana and Mahabharata are the two epics that most of us are more or less familiar with, this book will again create an interest to reread the epics with the utmost attention.


BOOK TITLE: Spiritual and unique

BOOK COVER: Reminds Queen Sita of Ayodhya.

NARRATION: From the author This book offers an abundance of knowledge to anyone who wishes to read it. the author's narration and writing style for known things also are surprisingly interesting.


Clear and easily understandable

My Final VerdictA must read!


Final Rating - 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!

B o o k R e v i e w
JULY 2020
@swapna.peri @swapna508 @sappy_dreamz_unlimited

And So the Crow Flies

The rain of the previous night had rendered the morning A serene grey, emulsifying mysticism with diluted sunshine… An intuitive call had drawn me from my yoga mat to our terrace —

This not being an external intrusion but an inner beckoning, I heeded.

However, it was not in the middle of the terrace I stood As I would have wanted, arms outstretched and face turned heavenward

Peace playing upon my eyes

But stood just close to where I had stepped off…keeping a safe distance

For, along the parapet wall were a dozen or so crows

Hovering about and cawing in excitement

The frenzy, a stark contrast to the sedateness that hung in the air.

The drama soon went on to its next act when out emerged

On to the terrace, our almost-visually-challenged neighbour

With a handful of food on a saucer.Unaided.

He walked right up to the feathered gathering, scooped up Some food in his palm, placed it on the parapet and stepped back.

Soon there was a delightful clamour of thrilled pecking and gulping

And the food was all gone in minutes. As I stood gaping, he stepped

Forward as if he knew it was time for a refill, emptied

The remaining contents of the saucer, the treat to continue And stepped back again. He stood, unafraid, amidst

All the chattering and fluttering, till the last of them had bid him goodbye

Then turned around and left the terrace. Unaided.


As my eyes followed him down the stairs

I wondered what it was he “saw” that I, with clear sight, couldn't.

Maybe something similar to that metaphysical voice I had “heard”

A few minutes earlier while on the yoga mat…

Maybe I should listen with the ear which discerned

That voice from the depths of silence

Maybe then I would see more of the world

Than what my two eyesoften perceive

And live life… unafraid, unaided!

Like a bamboo bidding its time to grow, so has Vidya Shankar waited patiently to live a life of purpose. A poet, writer, yoga enthusiast, 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 husband, Shankar Ramakrishnan, and The Rise of Yogamaya), the recipient of literary awards and recognitions, and has been on the editorial of four anthologies.

Vidya has not only overcome the invisible shackles of an out-dated society, but she uses the power of her words, both written and spoken, to create awareness about mental health and other issues that oppress the world today.


@vidya shankar author


I WasThere

I was there, at the mountain’ssummit, Deep-down, I was nowhere else but at Abyss.

I was never worried about falling down, Indeed not rising up.

Have you ever done thingsat the mercy of guilt? I did.

Did you ever cringe in grief to overcome fear? I did.

What have I accomplished?After all! However, life taught me a different lesson,

Every time, whichis not of my interest. There was hardly any difference between life and death,

When nothing is permanent. Your success is not actually yours,

Although your failure affects others. It is not about the destination, but the journey!


Is it so easy to give up on self?

When you are the face of many,

What happens to the ones who follow you?

Why do people opt a permanent solution for a temporary problem?

It may take a lifetime to achieve things where you ventured in all along,

What is the point in leaving, amidst a race?

Not to forget, you know all of these would happen eventually.

Despite, why did you leave midway?

Unfinished can never mean Complete.

Not being fair to oneself is also a Crime,

End of the day, it is another end.

S. Syed Basha is an aspiring screen writer and director, who grew up near Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh. Upon completing his graduation, he gave up his job to pursue his passion towards film making. During college, Syed directed few shorts that received accolades from around.At present, Syed is working on scripts for future projects of renowned directors. Besides this, Syed is honing his skills by penning few thought provoking poems and prose Syed's goal is to direct a feature film for a prestigious production house.


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