Storizen Magazine July 2023 | Georgi Gospodinov & Angela Rodel

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Celebrating 5 Years of Storizen! STORIZEN HOME TO YOUR STORIES JULY 2023 International Booker Prize Winner for his book Time Shelter, Explores the Human Connection to Past, Present, and Future Exclusive Story on Page 6 Giving Voice to the Beauty and Nuances of Bulgarian Literature
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Cover Story

Georgi Gospodinov:

Illuminating the Intersection of Time and Literature

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Editor's Note, p5

Cover Story, p6

Georgi Gospodinov: Illuminating the Intersection of Time and Literature

Storizen News, p14

articles/short stories/poetry

Travel like a wanderer to behold wonders within you - Ankur R. Gupta, p20

A Journey of Enlightenment - Sreelekha Chatterjee, p26

My Red-Letter Solo Trip - Aparna Mukherjee, p34

Monthly Horoscope: July 2023 - Himani Goyal, p46

book events/interviews, p14

Book Launch: Smoke and Ashes by Amitav Ghosh, p16

Book Excerpt: The Global Trade Paradigm by Arun Kumar, p30

Book Excerpt: The Perfect Way: Osho, p24

book reviews (by Swapna Peri, Saurabh Chawla & Kiran Adharapuram)

Indian Ideas of Freedom by Dennis Dalton, p38

Akbar and Birbal by Delshad Karanjia, p38

Awe by Dacher Keltner, p39

Doongaji House: Selected Plays by Cyrus Mistry, p39

Mrs. K.M. Mathew's Finest Recipes by K.M. Mathew, p40

The Greatest Indian Stories Ever Told by Arunava Sinha, p40

The Peacemakers by Ghazala Wahab, p41

Trading Flesh in Tokyo: Nine Short Stories and a Play by Rajesh Talwar, p41

Yellowface by R. F. Kuang, p42

A Lost People's Archive Rimli Sengupta, p42

AI Rising India's Artificial Intelligence Growth Story by Jayanth N Kolla and Leslie D'Monte, p43

Diamonds Are Forever So Are Morals by Arun Tiwari & Kamlesh Yagnik, p43

Awaken Your Genius by Ozan Varol, p44

Set Boundaries, Find Peace by Nedra Glover Tawwab, p44


from the editor

calling all writers!


You can also be a contributor Mail us your entries at Your smart ideas and inputs help us create our informative issues.

ife is a vast ocean, and we are all sailors navigating through its unpredictable waves, chasing dreams, embracing adventures, and discovering new horizons ” In this month's issue of Storizen Magazine, we embark on a literary voyage, setting sail with captivating travel stories that weave the theme of 'Sailing through Life '

We are honored to present an extraordinary talent on our cover this monthGeorgi Gospodinov, a luminary of the literary world, whose works continue

to illuminate the intersection of time and literature through his latest book, a literary gem ‘Time Shelter’, translated by Angela Rodel and the winner of International Booker Prizes 2023.

As the days grow longer and the call of adventure lures us, our collection of travel stories will transport you to distant lands and exotic locales. From soul-stirring accounts of backpackers braving uncharted territories to reflective narratives of inner exploration, each tale serves as a compass guiding us through the vast landscapes of the human experience.

Through the eyes of our contributors, we embark on journeys that evoke wanderlust and a yearning for discovery Be prepared to be immersed in the sights, sounds, and emotions of these sojourners, as they share their encounters with diverse cultures, the serenity of untouched landscapes, and the profound connections forged with fellow travelers along the way

As we set sail into the captivating realm of 'Sailing through Life,' we extend our gratitude to all the writers, poets, and artists who have graced us with their inspiring creations It is through their creative compass that we find direction, our hearts filled with wonder, and our minds open to the possibilities that life's journey has to offer.

Thank you, dear readers, for joining us on this voyage. May the currents of imagination carry you far and wide, and may the stories within these pages kindle a spirit of exploration within your hearts.

Fair winds and happy reading,


Georgi Gospodinov

A Storizen Exclusive Feature
Photo: Gorgi Gospodinov (Wikipedia)

ime Shelter: An Exploration of Past, Present, and Future

Georgi Gospodinov, the first Bulgarian author to win the prestigious International Booker Prize, takes us on a captivating journey through the complexities of time in his novel Time Shelter Unraveling the collision of temporal dimensions that shape our lives, Gospodinov delves into the moral and ethical dilemmas of manipulating time and reflects on its intertwined relationship with nostalgia and perception.

A Milestone for Bulgarian Language and Literature

With his novel originally written in Bulgarian, Gospodinov's International Booker Prize win marks a significant moment for the Bulgarian language and literature He hopes the recognition will open doors for other Bulgarian writers and inspire young talents to pursue their literary dreams However, with newfound fame comes a challenge for the author in finding solitude for his writing, an essential aspect of his creative process

Time's Lack of Harmony - Seeking Order Through Writing

Navigating the past, present, and future in Time Shelter, Gospodinov portrays the lack of harmony between these temporal dimensions, showcasing their constant collision. For him, writing serves as a refuge to cope with the deficit of the future and make sense of the chaotic world Writing sets the world in order, providing clarity amid the tumultuous flow of time

becomes a natural refuge amid the uncertainties of the present, but Gospodinov challenges readers to ponder the dark side of nostalgia. He explores the political manipulation of personal and collective nostalgia and how the past can haunt and become a nightmare

Inevitability and Redemptive Cracks

Gospodinov delves into the concept of inevitability, viewing it as a force shaping our lives. However, he searches for redemptive or comforting aspects within this certainty. The novel presents a unique perspective on time held by an Andean tribe, which challenges conventional thinking. He also explores the transformative power of storytelling and literature in altering the course of history.

Parallel Timelines and Alternate Realities

The intricate multiverse concept in Time Shelter is crafted with a metaphysical and satirical approach Gospodinov examines the consequences of imitating the past and recreating it artificially The novel raises questions about the wisdom of revisiting history and the potentially catastrophic outcomes.

Moral and Ethical Dilemmas of Manipulating Time

Contrary to novels about characters returning to the past, Time Shelter delves into the attempt to bring the past into the present collectively. This dystopian theme raises moral dilemmas concerning the manipulation of the past Gospodinov prompts readers to reflect on the impact of memory loss and how society handles the nightmares of the past

Time as Refuge and Danger

In Time Shelter, time is depicted as both a sanctuary and a daunting force. The past

Photo: Georgi Gospodinov (

Historical Backdrops Shedding Light on Contemporary Issues

The historical backdrops in Time Shelter are part of people's lived memories, making them personally experience history. Gospodinov weaves history and biography, linking the past to the present and highlighting their interconnectedness. The novel serves as a reflection on contemporary issues through the lens of history.

Nostalgia's Influence on Perception of Time

Nostalgia, a human feeling deeply explored in Time Shelter, is likened to glasses with the wrong prescription, distorting reality Gospodinov examines the manipulation of society through nostalgia and its impact on how we perceive time and reality

Fragility of Memory and the Quest for Identity

Gospodinov delves into the fragility of memory and its link to identity. He questions what happens when someone is forgotten, and how memory shapes our sense of self. The novel prompts readers to contemplate the significance of memory and how we remember and are remembered.

The Interplay of Love, Loss, and the Passage of Time

Love, loss, and the passage of time intertwine and turn into the past Gospodinov reflects on the fragility of life and the value of experiences due to their fleeting nature Writing becomes a desperate attempt to preserve and extend the existence of these delicate moments.

Photo: Georgi Gospodinov and Angela Rodel (L), Angela Rodel (R) (Credit:

Seeking Solace in Temporal Shelter

Gospodinov places his faith in storytelling as a refuge and source of comfort. He believes literature connects individuals across time and space, providing solace and meaning to their lives Finding solace and meaning is a true purpose of literature, according to the author

An Unconventional Approach to Storytelling

Gospodinov's unconventional approach to storytelling invites readers into an ongoing dialogue. He weaves language, rhythm, and unexpected twists, encouraging readers to think deeply about the world and their own memories.

Inspired by Memory and the Anxieties of Time

The inspiration for Time Shelter arose from a sense of something awry in the clockworks of time Gospodinov found inspiration in the disintegration of the world, populism, and the selling of both a 'bright future' and a 'bright past ' The novel raises questions about living with a deficit of meaning and the future

The Process of Writing and the Power of Language

Gospodinov's writing process involves deep reflection and careful attention to language. He writes his novels sentence by sentence, following the narrator's voice and letting the story unfold naturally. The novel's intricate plot is not meticulously mapped out in advance, but rather shaped by the language and stories themselves

The Translator's Role in Preserving Context

Working closely with translator Angela Rodel, Gospodinov appreciates the importance of conveying context in addition to the text The

novel's interweaving of various historical periods and languages required careful consideration to maintain the richness of the original work

Celebrating Translated Fiction for Empathy and Connection

Gospodinov emphasizes the significance of translated fiction in promoting empathy and understanding between cultures. He believes storytelling can save the world, and translation allows stories to be shared and understood across languages, uniting readers in their shared human experiences.

Inspirations that Shaped a Writer's Path

Gospodinov's literary journey was influenced by his grandmother's stories, which blended fiction and reality with magical elements The heartwrenching story of 'The Little Match Girl' by Andersen also left a lasting impact, as did the works of Thomas Mann and Borges, exploring time, memory, and personal history


Conclusion: Georgi GospodinovIlluminating the Intersection of Time and Literature

In Time Shelter, Georgi Gospodinov masterfully weaves together an intricate tapestry of time, memory, and human experience. His exploration of temporal dimensions, nostalgia, memory, and identity challenges conventional notions and leaves readers with a profound appreciation for the power of storytelling and literature As the first Bulgarian author to win the International Booker Prize, Gospodinov's achievement marks a significant milestone for Bulgarian language and literature, opening doors for future generations of writers to share their unique voices with the world Through translated fiction, Gospodinov's work continues to inspire empathy and connection, bridging cultural gaps and reminding us of our shared humanity amidst the complexities of time.

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.


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Former President Barack Obama Denounces Book Bans as Profoundly Misguided

Barack Obama, the former US President and acclaimed author, is an inspiration to many He recently voiced his opposition to the increasing number of book bans in the US, calling them profoundly misguided Obama believes that books have shaped his worldview and credits writers like Mark Twain, Toni Morrison, Walt Whitman, and James Baldwin for teaching him about his country's character and fostering empathy for diverse experiences. He emphasizes the importance of engaging with different ideas and points of view, asserting that silencing voices goes against what makes America great. Obama praises librarians for their efforts in fighting book bans and urges people to defend their freedom and rights, as open dialogue is fundamental to American democracy A report by PEN America revealed that 874 books were banned in the USA from 2022 to 2023, primarily targeting LGBTQ+ and authors of color

Irish Actor Cillian Murphy Draws Inspiration from Bhagavad Gita for Oppenheimer Role

In Christopher Nolan's film 'Oppenheimer,' Irish actor Cillian Murphy takes on the lead role To prepare for his character, Murphy read the Bhagavad Gita, finding it a beautiful and inspiring text. The movie tells the story of Robert Oppenheimer, based on the Pulitzer Prizewinning book 'American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J Robert Oppenheimer' by Kai Bird and Martin J Sherwin. Oppenheimer, known as the "father of the atomic bomb," was an American physicist who also had a deep interest in Sanskrit and quoted from the Bhagavad Gita after the successful atomic bomb test, saying, "Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds "

A Hungarian government office fined Lira Konyv, the country's second-largest bookstore chain, for violating a law that prohibits depicting homosexuality to minors. A fine of 12 million forints ($35,930) was imposed for placing the graphic novel "Heartstopper" by Alice Oseman in the youth literature section without proper packaging. Hungary's "child protection" law also restricts LGBTQ+ content in media, education, and public display Critics see it as stigmatizing, while the government claims it protects children The European Union took legal action against the law, and the fine coincided with the upcoming Budapest Pride march Lira Konyv must ensure lawful distribution or face strict consequences

Photo - Barack Obama (Wikipedia)
Hungarian Bookstore Fined for LGBTQ+ Graphic Novel Display Photo - Cillian Murphy (Wikipedia)

HarperCollins India Releases 'Anandibai Joshee: A Life in Poems' India's First Female Physician Honored

Anandibai Joshee's life was tragically cut short at 22, but her story continues to inspire As India's first female physician, she is remembered with reverence HarperCollins India has published 'Anandibai Joshee: A Life in Poems' by Shikha Malaviya, a book that beautifully captures her journey from childhood in Maharashtra to her marriage and the loss of her child, which ignited her ambition to become a doctor. Malaviya, the poetauthor, discovered the universal struggles of finding one's voice and purpose in a patriarchal world through Joshee's life. The book has received praise for its deeply moving poems that uncover the remarkable story of this pioneering figure in Indian history

Francisco Ibáñez Talavera, a beloved Spanish cartoonist, passed away at the age of 87 on July 15, 2023. He was renowned for creating the popular Mortadelo and Filemón comic strips and books, which brought joy and laughter to generations Talavera's distinctive style of absurd humor, exaggerated characters, and dynamic illustrations defined an era in Spanish culture. His comics, with roughly 30 million copies sold, were as iconic in Spain as 'Astérix' in France or 'Tintin' in Belgium. Talavera's passing leaves a void in the world of Spanish cartooning, but his unique legacy will continue to entertain and inspire for years to come.

Around a hundred tourists were stranded at Agatha Christie's former residence in Devon, England, when a fallen tree blocked the main road to the Greenway property. The National Trust promptly informed visitors of the road closure caused by the fallen tree. Despite the unexpected situation, the trapped tourists made the best of it, enjoying tea and friendly games of croquet on the estate's lawn. Caroline Heaven, one of the tourists present, estimated that around a hundred visitors were unable to leave. The National Trust assured everyone of their efforts to provide comfort during the wait. Interestingly, this incident resembled Christie's novel 'And Then There Were None,' where a group of individuals is trapped in a remote mansion. Fortunately, the stranded tourists were eventually rescued as workers cleared the fallen tree and reopened the road with the assistance of local services.

Renowned Spanish Cartoonist Francisco Ibáñez Talavera Passes Away at 87
Tourists Stranded at Agatha Christie's Former Residence Due to Fallen Tree in Devon, England Photo - Francisco Ibáñez Talavera (Wikipedia)

Renowned Author Amitav Ghosh

Unveils 'Smoke and Ashes': A Captivating Exploration of Opium's Profound Historical Impact


elebrated author Amitav Ghosh delves into the intricate influence woven by the opium trade on the tapestry of world history, while shedding light on its lasting impact on our present reality in his upcoming literary masterpiece. Entitled "Smoke and Ashes: A Writer's Journey Through Opium's Veiled Narratives," this captivating magnum opus will be published by the esteemed HarperCollins imprint, Fourth Estate, on the momentous date of July 15

Ghosh reveals that his forthcoming book emerges from the extensive knowledge he accumulated during the meticulous research conducted for his trilogy of novels, written between 2005 and 2015 "Smoke and Ashes" transcends traditional boundaries, skillfully blending elements of a captivating travelogue, a reflective memoir, and a captivating exploration of both the economic and cultural aspects of history.

This literary work intimately uncovers Ghosh's personal connection with the hidden chronicles of opium, serving as an introspective memoir of a writer. It offers profound insights into the creative process behind crafting the remarkable "Ibis Trilogy," which consists of the acclaimed novels "Sea of Poppies," "River of Smoke," and "Flood of Fire," as conveyed by the publishers

Reflecting on his initial intentions, Ghosh candidly shared, "When I set out to write the novels, my main focus was the transportation of indentured workers from India to Mauritius in the early 19th century. However, much to my surprise, I stumbled upon an alternate trade involving a precious commodity transported in staggering quantities from India to China opium."

Accordingly, "Smoke and Ashes" unravels the enthralling saga of how India, under the auspices of the British Empire, emerged as

the foremost opium producer between the 18th and 19th centuries. Ghosh illuminates the diverse conditions under which opium was cultivated across various regions, leaving indelible marks on their respective landscapes

Moreover, the book traces the transformative and far-reaching consequences of the opium trade on India, China, Britain, and the United States, significantly shaping the genesis of the modern world and the intricate web of contemporary globalism.

Ghosh highlights the remarkable nature of this tale, driven by the presence of a humble yet potent plant the opium poppy. "While other plants such as sugarcane, tobacco, and cotton have played pivotal roles in history, their significance has diminished over time. In contrast, the opium poppy has persistently surged forward, accumulating even greater potency Today, it manifests in the devastating opioid crises gripping the world," he asserted

Within the pages of "Smoke and Ashes," Ghosh skillfully weaves the narrative threads, illustrating how this unassuming yet formidable plant has indelibly shaped our modern world, while simultaneously contributing to its present unraveling.

Udayan Mitra, the accomplished executive publisher at HarperCollins India, echoes the sentiments shared by readers captivated by Ghosh's body of work. Mitra describes "Smoke and Ashes" as one of those rare books that resonates at a profoundly intrinsic level, leaving an enduring impact on its fortunate readers "Here, Amitav recounts the enthralling journey immersing himself in the realms of economic, social, and cultural history as he researched and eventually penned the 'Ibis Trilogy ' He unveils how the knowledge he acquired shaped him both as an individual and as a wordsmith," Mitra affirmed.

Hailing from Kolkata, Ghosh's formative years were enriched by the vibrant cultural tapestry of India,


Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Among his illustrious repertoire of works stand acclaimed masterpieces like "The Shadow Lines," "The Glass Palace," "The Hungry Tide," "Gun Island," "The Great Derangement," "The Nutmeg's Curse," "Jungle Nama," and "The Living Mountain."

The profound impact of Ghosh's literary prowess has transcended linguistic boundaries, with translations of his works available in over 30 languages In 2019, his exceptional contributions to the English literary realm earned him the prestigious Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary honor, marking an unprecedented achievement for an English-language writer.

© STORIZEN 2023. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Photo - Amitav Ghosh in conversation with Shekhar Gupta (Editor in Chief and Founder of ThePrint)

When Amitav Ghosh embarked on his research for the Ibis Trilogy, he discovered that the lives of nineteenth-century sailors and soldiers were shaped by the currents of the Indian Ocean and the opium trade. In "Smoke and Ashes," Ghosh explores how the opium trade transformed Britain, India, China, and the world. This trade, orchestrated by the British Empire, not only sustained the Empire but also influenced major corporations, powerful families, and globalism itself. Ghosh reveals the profound consequences in India and highlights the opium poppy's role in history, emphasizing its cyclical nature and continuing presence. Recognizing its power and intelligence is essential for finding peace with it.


urray! That’s the one reaction that always remains the same in our entire life span when we decide to go on vacation. “We’re jumping with joy”. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited about escaping the daily grind behind for a while? It’s like a breadth of fresh air, a chance to relax and rejuvenate

The thought of traveling makes me picture myself lounging on the sandy beach of Goa, sipping a tropical drink, and soaking up in the sun The sound of waves crashing against the shore is like music to my ears, soothing my soul and washing away any worries and stress. On the other hand, the lush green rainforests of Indonesia and the rustic experience of the rustling wildlife of Madumalai in Karnataka create a sensory experience that is both so calming and invigorating. The Fun frolic rides from Disneyland in Paris to trekking high on the serene hills of Ranikhet in Uttarakhand evoke a sense of so much adventure and exhilaration Not to forget the exotic local cuisines having unique flavors of that place and culture. My favorite spot, however, is exploring the historical monuments, the remnants of the past that tell stories of civilizations long gone

All these thought-provoking experiences not only broaden my outlook but also takes me away from all my worries leaving a calm and serene ME I feel a simple trip can squeeze out so many facets of you buried deep into the rustle of daily life. You enrich yourself by exposing yourself to diversified culture, architecture, food, and people Above all, you get a chance to connect with the real you


We, humans, are natural-born travel junkies. An insatiable wanderlust drives us to explore every corner of this beautiful planet Restricting to moving around means caging your knowledge and trapping yourselves in your little bubble that gets stagnant with time. We all got the first-hand experience of being caged at home during a pandemic and its psychological impacts on us, especially the kids The personal growth of the children faded away during that time


Whether it's exploring the Mediterranean cuisine of Spain, immersing in the disciplined, simplistic life of Japan, or the vibrant lifestyle of Europe Each new destination offers a chance to get exposed to many different ways of life, traditions, languages, and diversified thinking. While on a trip, you visit famous landmarks, interact with local people, participate in their festivals, enjoy the local cuisines, and even try speaking a few phrases. When you explore all these, you understand the uniqueness of each culture and place and try to imbibe a few as part of your lifestyle This helps you to challenge your preconceived notions and forces you to question your own beliefs.

You’ll learn tolerance and acceptance as you begin to, realize that there is “no one right way to live” or “each way is unique in itself” It was traveling, that changed my preconceived notion that I cannot enjoy seafood Now, I love to add many such local cuisines as part of my daily platter I also highly appreciated the European

With each mile, you broaden your outlook toward life.
With each mile, you gain more confidence, independence, and freedom. It also boosts your self-awareness and problem-solving skills.

punctuality concept and the Japanese community efforts and tried to imbibe the same to better myself

TRAVEL IS NEVER A MATTER OF MONEY, BUT OF COURAGE- PAULO COELHOWandering into unknown territories pushes you out of your comfort zones and forces you to adapt to new situations. It builds resilience and selfconfidence within you as you navigate through unfamiliar new cities, communicate with people from different cultures and languages, and overcome unknown challenges on your own

You learn to think outside the box as, when you travel, there will always be bumps in the road as anything can happen- from getting lost or sick to dealing with luggage issues or flight delays You'll need to deal with such problems without getting stressed out with limited options available.

Try traveling Solo to test your capabilities and resilient skills My daughter when fourteen went to Manali from Bangalore. It was her first solo trip and travel to the mountains. Contrary to the comforts of home, she was exposed to conditions like - minusdegree temperatures at night in a tent, jumping from the cliff in a rapid river, and trekking on the narrow muddy patch where one mistake and you fall into the raging waterfall. Initially, she was jittery to go on such a trip alone But once at the campsite, she adapted soon to overcome her discomfort and fear and learned to survive with bare essential things. To date, she recalls the memories of that trip with a smile that gave her a new confident persona


A behavioral intervention I like to make after my return from vacation is to memorize the peaceful moments and understand what was different or missing from my present life Such retrospection is a crucial reminder of what one should do every day For instance, during traveling, I realized the relevance of giving me much time to eat breakfast. I understood how it recharges me for the entire day and incorporated into my daily routine

A winter trip to Kashmir helped me adapt to appreciate simple things I took for granted in life. It is tough life in the mountains-scarcity of food, water, or other essentials for living But the locals had no complaints and expressed with a smile gratitude towards nature that simply won my heart.Many such encounters during my various vacations left a gratifying impact on me Whether it was helping locals of Russia despite the language barrier or the carefree attitude of people in Singapore and Goa that taught me how to live each moment of life. Experiences like these keep on reminding me that the world is full of amazing, kindhearted people and encourages me to adapt to the same

With each mile, you learn more tolerance and acceptance
With each mile, you think creatively and adapt to all sorts of situations.

In conclusion, traveling has a profound impact on well-being. It reduces stress, improves mental health, increases happiness, and provides an opportunity for self-reflection So, pack your bags and embark on an adventure that will break the chain of getting stuck in a rut of monotonous daily life and contribute to your overall happiness and well-being. You'll have a treasure of lifelong memories to cherish

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


A mind stretched by a new experience can never return to its old dimensions
– Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


In "The Perfect Way," Osho offers profound insights into the essence of meditation and provides guidance on how to initiate and maintain this practice in our daily existence. With a perfect blend of precision, thoroughness, humor, and compassion, Osho expertly shares his wisdom. His brilliance shines brightly as he skillfully directs us, using words, toward the profound realm of self-discovery and the tranquil zone of inner silence.

Excerpt is taken from 'The Perfect Way' by Osho

It happened in a village. Someone asked me how to find God I asked him, ‘Have you found yourself so now you want to set out to find God?’

We want to know God, but we don’t even know our own selves, we don’t even know what is closest to us! No other entity is closer to us than our own self so ignorance can be defeated and destroyed only there For one who is ignorant there, it is not possible to have first-hand knowledge on any other level.

The flame of knowing begins to burn first in man’s inner being This inner being is ‘the east’ of knowing; the sun of knowing rises there. If there is darkness there, you can be certain there cannot be light anywhere else Know yourself, not God This ray of light will ultimately grow into the sun It is by knowing one’s self that one realizes that there is sat-chit-anand, that there is being, consciousness, and bliss, but that there is no ‘I’, no ego That very realization is the realization of godliness

Man is a soul shrouded by an ego and this is ignorance. A soul that is rid of the ego is God and this is knowing Where are you going in search of your soul? It is nowhere to be found in any of the ten directions But there is one more direction, an eleventh. Do you know it? I will show you this direction

You yourself are that eleventh direction and you can find this direction if you stop looking in the other ten. The eleventh direction is not like the other ten In reality, it is not a direction at all It is no-direction, the negation of direction It takes you where you have never left It is your own entity, the state of your own self-nature. All of the ten directions go outward. What they create together is the world The ten directions are the world They are the space, the gap But the one that knows all of these directions and moves in them must certainly be separate from them, otherwise, it could neither know them nor move in them It moves and at the same time, it does not move because if it were not firmly still in its own isness, it wouldn’t be able to move

At the center of all its movement there is stillness, at the center of its revolving wheel there is a still point Have you ever noticed the wheels of a carriage? The wheels are only able to move because the axle is stationary. There is always a fixed thing holding and sustaining any movement Life is unstable and transitory, but the soul is permanent and stable The soul is in the eleventh direction One does not have to go anywhere in search of it simply nowhere. Drop all searching and see who resides in you. Wake up to the one who is This is possible only by non-searching It is possible only by stopping, not by running

Stop and see. In these two words lies the crux of religion, of all spiritual endeavor and practice Stop and see, and the eleventh direction opens up for you Through it, you enter the inner sky That inner sky, that inner space is the soul.

I see that you are all running after something, but all this running ends in nothing but a fall Don’t you see people falling every day? Isn’t that the result of all this running? Doesn’t all this running end in death? Those who realize this truth early on are saved from that disaster in the end


he driver pulled the brake suddenly, jolting Vishal out of his sleep Irritated, he opened his half-closed eyes somnolently to find out why the car had stopped when he noticed an elderly, frail man clad in a white dhoti–kurta walking toward them He had an unshaven, oily face; his pale, bald shinning with a few rows of thin hair strands at the sides, above his ears.

“Shambhuji!” The driver welcomed him

Shambhu greeted Vishal jovially, who tried to squeeze in a smile but probably failed to hide his displeasure.

“I’m your guide I visit Shrikhand Peak every year It’s so nice to see young men like you interested in spiritualism.” Shambhu began volubly with excitement, taking the seat next to Vishal, popping a paan (betel leaf) in his mouth

Disgusted, Vishal averted his face from his co-passenger and looked out the window. Spiritualism is the least interesting to him He wouldn’t have visited any shrine in his life if his father’s friend Rupesh didn’t inform him about his father’s last wish. He wanted Vishal to embark on the high-altitude Shrikhand Mahadev pilgrimage at least once in his lifetime The Shivling is situated in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh and attracts swarms of Hindu pilgrims every year.

Vishal’s religious wife had added that Lord Shiva predestinated it Being an atheist, he believed everything was created by human beings and praying to gods was a whopping lie, a wearisome intemperance, a reason to comfort the troubled souls of worshipers along with someone to blame when things didn’t go the way they wanted.

He missed his father a lot, and thought that this pilgrimage would make him happy Probably, he’d see him from wherever he was and be satisfied about it.

arrived at a hotel in Rampur late in the evening.

The following day they reached the charming Jaon village, from where they started for the base camp in Singhgad (6,873 ft from sea level). A group of pilgrims joined them in the long haul up to the Shrikhand peak Right from the very beginning, the believers trekked the difficult terrain with utmost faith in Lord Shiva, chanting his name all the way up

Passing through the clusters of plush valleys; dense transcendent forests of deodar, pine; ravines, they reached Kali Ghati, where a small temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali

Their next destination was Bhim Talai, a beautiful lake surrounded by high peaks on all sides like a natural amphitheater, with tiny waterfalls flowing down the mountains A few shepherds were found strolling along with their flock of sheep. It’s believed that Bhim, one of the Pandava brothers, used to take bath over there

Vishal was captivated by the azure sky and the fascinating scenery of huge, milky-white waterfalls at Kunsa. Bhim Dwar provided a commanding view of profound valleys, deep gorges, enormous waterfalls, and some small glistening streams flowing on the Vishal was captivated by the azure sky and fascinating scenery of huge, milky-white waterfalls at Kunsa. Bhim Dwar provided a commanding view of profound valleys, deep gorges, enormous waterfalls, and some small glistening streams flowing on the way nature endowed with soothing enlivenment, alive and responsive, yet far from true life.

It’s said that during Pandava’s exile, they resided at Bhim Dwar Parvati Baag, where Goddess Parvati used to stay (as per legends), was just 3 km away.

Parvati Baag was adorned with various shrubs, luxuriant bright yellow–red flowers, and rare Himalayan varieties light-yellowish Brahma Kamal flowers being one of them They halted overnight in one of the tents at Parvati Baag, set up by the local villagers of Jaon who organized hot meals and warm beds for all the travelers The spirited devotees engaged in bhajans (spiritual songs) while preparing for an early-morning journey

Shambhu and Vishal passed through the beautiful picturesque regions of Shimla and

The following day the temperature was freezing cold


when they started just before dawn. Vishal had worn two woolen sweaters, an inner, and a windcheater, but these didn’t seem to be enough Shambhu presented an effortless smile, clad in his usual white dhoti–kurta, a grey pullover, and a raincoat. Vishal wondered how a person of his age could remain undeterred by the icy-cold weather He had heard about sadhus who meditated in subzero regions of the Himalayas undaunted by the cold and the rain without a single cloth on their body. Perhaps this is the greatness of India and its people who care less for material comforts, having immense control over their mind, he thought Thus, the Himalayas are the abode of self-realization where sages, yogis, philosophers, and spiritual questers seek peace, wise passivity, solitude, and quietude.

As they left Parvati Baag, the green vegetation including grass and some high-altitude shrubs, herbs disappeared and only moraines, snow in patches were visible wherever their eyes met. During the journey, they pursued through glaciers, streams, and rocks Vishal wondered how the devotees continued dedicatedly with the arduous, fatigable trek one of the toughest journeys with occasional rains, transforming the already-risky paths into slippery, muddy mess; temperature plummeting sharply; sudden landslides; risk of high-altitude sickness and breathlessness due to scarcity of oxygen with indomitable spirit and uncontested faith in God.

First part of the trek up to Nain Sarovar formed with tears of Goddess Parvati when she was worshipping Lord Shiva was filled with snow and boulders Traversing the lake was one big obstacle, as it required a lot of persistence, and fortitude to make it through, and accomplishing that overwhelmed him with a sense of achievement

The next part of the hike from Nain Sarovar to Shrikhand peak was very steep and almost a vertical climb Vishal placed his steps carefully, fearing that he might fall, land up at a bottomless mountain pit After crossing the glacier spanning 200 meters, they reached the top of a cliff. Vishal and Shambhu paused for a while to bask in the beautiful view of the surroundings, as nothing compared to their splendor, their magnificence As they proceeded above the clouds toward Shrikhand peak, they could see giant boulders and glaciers. On the way, the surreal, breathtaking beauty of Kinnaur Mountains left him spell-bound

As per Hindu mythology, there was a demon named Bhasmasur who pleased Lord Shiva with his devotion and received a boon to reduce anyone to ashes by his touch Smitten by arrogance and foolishness, Bhasmasur wished to try his newlyacquired power on Lord Shiva himself. When Shiva learnt of his intention he fled to the mountains, hid in a cave, and later appeared on the mountain which is known as the Shrikhand peak Vishnu came to Shiva’s rescue, tricked Bhasmasur to touch his own head and burnt to a pile of ashes. This happened somewhere near Bhim Dwar where a portion of the soil is red in color

Finally, they reached the Shrikhand Peak (17,195 ft). The majestic beauty of the 75-feet-tall Shivling left Vishal awe-struck After paying obeisance to Lord Shiva, Vishal looked around mesmerized by the grandiosity of the Himalayas, considering himself as miniscule in their presence. It was perhaps a Zen moment when he sensed a spiritual enlightenment, an unprecedented blooming his existence appearing trivial; his soul purified, peaceful, liberated from the pain of shackled-toworldly-sufferings in the unique humble, unpretentious tranquility, eternally calming solemnity, an unperturbed natural aura of the strangely alive mountains

“You can see Rampur Sarahan, Shimla hills, Kinnaur, Kullu from here.” Shambhu said pointing to beautiful mountain ranges and minute habitation of villages in the valleys at the foothills

Vishal felt a huge transformation of his self, as if the person who had undertaken the journey was totally different from the one who had successfully completed it

Vishal called up Rupesh uncle, from a hotel on his way to Chandigarh.

“My journey has been successful I’m so grateful to you. You’ve helped to see what I chose to ignore all my life and altered my entire perspective, my sense of being ” Vishal barely emerged from his state of exultation

“Wait a minute. What are you saying?”

“I have been to the Shrikhand peak, uncle And if


you didn’t inform me about my father’s wish, I couldn’t have gained such profound insight about life.”

“Your father’s wish? But he never shared anything of that sort with me ”

“What are you saying, uncle? You had been to our place a few months ago, don’t you remember?”

“No I can’t go anywhere I have been paralyzed waist down for the past one year.”

Vishal stood numbed, felt the receiver slipping from his hand, quivering with inward agitation, while meaningful yet confused looks darted here and there before Shambhu looked into his eyes and smiled.

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 facebook com/sreelekha chatterjee 1/,

Twitter -@sreelekha001, and Instagram @sreelekha2023



Book Excerpt taken from 'The Global Trade Paradigm' by


While China today is known as the world’s factory, its success is built on the foundation of investments in agriculture in the Mao era. Deng capitalized on this in his initial years in power, between 1978 and 1984 During this period, as agriculture transitioned from collective farms to a household responsibility system, the investments in irrigation, farmer education, fertilizer production and use and extension services started bearing fruit Grain yield per unit area increased by 42.8 per cent, the total output of grain increased by 33.6 per cent, and real agricultural value-added increased by 52 6 per cent It was this jump in agricultural production that laid the foundations for growth in manufacturing.

Another key was decentralizing decision-making Provincial and local governments received increasing authority over investment approvals, fiscal resources and policies. This process had again started in Mao’s time, but the capriciousness of the Cultural Revolution had constrained it from yielding results Once stability returned under Deng’s reformist policies, provinces, municipalities and counties were allowed, even encouraged, to experiment with reforms in specific areas Successful experiments then became official policy and were quickly adopted throughout the country During Mao’s regime, even a suggestion of any foreign influence, especially Western, was not just frowned upon but could have drastic consequences for the individual concerned However, realizing that China needed global investments and know-how in manufacturing, Deng led the Chinese government to enact the Equity Joint Venture Law in 1979 The law allowed FDI into China for the first time since the Communist Revolution in 1949 Though the radicals criticized it, Deng was too powerful by then for any reversal of policy.

Another critical reform was the dismantling of internal barriers to the movement of goods, labour and capital. In the case of labour, the

hukou system was gradually relaxed, allowing for a massive movement of ‘illegal’ migrants from rural to urban areas; today such migrants comprise well over a third of the total labor force This opened up possibilities for acquiring cluster and urbanization economies of scale, affecting the amount and location of domestic and foreign investments. Around the same time, US and China normalized diplomatic relations (suspended after the CCP’s triumph in the Chinese civil war) with President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1971.

On 1 March 1979, the two nations completed the process by opening embassies in each other’s capitals. In 1980, Deng supported the ‘Four Modernizations’ originally launched by Zhou Enlai in 1976, focusing on the economy agriculture, industry, science and technology, and defence Under its Equity Joint Venture Law, China established four special economic zones (SEZs) Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Xiamen and Shantou to allow FDI This was gradually extended over the next decade, with the government enacting several laws and regulations, giving tax and other incentives to encourage FDI inflows. The approach in these early years towards FDI was cautious, reflected in the fact that between 1979 and 1991, FDI inflows into China averaged US$1 8 billion annually. Even the pro-democracy student protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and the international opprobrium that followed only proved to be a temporary speedbreaker

Starting in 1992 considered by most experts to be the second phase of liberalization China began opening up most of the country and most sectors to FDI, whilst enacting a series of regulations easing restrictions on overseas investors. The results were dramatic. In 1992, inflows of FDI into China reached US$11 billion, doubling the figure for 1991 In 1993, inflows doubled again, reaching US$27 5 billion The high growth of FDI inflows continued from 1994 to 1997. The financial crisis of 1999/2000 that hit


East Asian economies hard was a temporary speed bump. But the surge in FDI became a flood after China joined the WTO in 2002. From US$46 9 billion in 2001, FDI flows into China skyrocketed, touching US$333 billion in 2021, according to World Bank data

According to a study by the Australian National University (ANU), until the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2009, FDI inflows went overwhelmingly toward China’s manufacturing sector. From 2010, this trend slowed, even as FDI in services started picking up, and by 2014 had surpassed the annual investment in manufacturing

The spurt of FDI in manufacturing from 1992 onwards transformed China into a global factory and eventually an economic superpower By 2013, according to an article in Atlantic magazine on 5 August 2013, China was manufacturing 90 per cent of the world’s personal computers, 80 per cent of its air conditioners, 70 per cent of its mobile phones, 63 per cent of its shoes, and 60 per cent of its cement; and had 45 per cent of the global shipbuilding capacity In the initial phase, these manufacturing plants were directly owned by foreign companies or contract manufacturers. Very soon, Chinese companies emerged as competitors to their global counterparts, going on to dominate several sectors Chinese companies also started acquiring global giants. The most iconic of these takeovers were Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s personal computing division in 2005 and the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s acquisition of the Swedish carmaker Volvo (then owned by the Ford Motor Company) in 2010.

According to the United Nations Statistics Division, China’s share of global manufacturing output in 2018 stood at 28 4 per cent, almost equal to that of the US, Japan and Germany combined. According to the Chinese government, this share had risen to 30 per cent by 2021 While this is a significant achievement, it must also be noted that the population of these three countries combined is less than half of

China’s This indicates that despite its vaunted progress in manufacturing, China’s labour productivity in the manufacturing sector is still significantly lower than in the West This has implications for competitiveness and growth prospects in the future

Nevertheless, this manufacturing prowess has resulted in a spectacular rise of Chinese companies In 1990, when Fortune magazine first published its Global 500 compilation a list of the largest companies in the world no Chinese company featured in it By 2008, there were twenty-nine Chinese companies, with a combined revenue of US$1 1 trillion In 2022, the Global 500 list included 136 Chinese companies, the largest group from any one nation. That year China overtook the US, which had 124 such companies In 2021 the year on which the 2022 ranking is based Fortune Global 500 companies from Greater China (including nine firms from Taiwan) posted a record US$11.5


trillion in revenue, accounting for 31 per cent of the US$37.8 trillion total revenue for all companies on the list and topping, for the first time, the US$11 2 trillion revenue reported by US firms

The rise in the brand value of Chinese companies, as measured by the BrandFinance Global 500 ranking, is even more impressive In 2008, the brand value, as judged by BrandFinance, of the Chinese companies featuring in its list was US$60 billion. By 2022, it had risen more than twenty times to US$1 6 trillion



R E D - L E T T E R S O L O T R I P

ho does not like to travel? We all have wanderlust in us When you get time, we look forward to traveling to a beautiful place. In this hectic schedule, it has become extremely essential to fly our minds to a place where we can rest our minds and body We get so occupied in our daily activities that we forget that our mind need rest. To unwind, you block a date in the calendar and travel to an enchanting place

It goes without saying that travelling instills a new wave of energy in us. Whether you spend your holiday on a beach or on a hilly region, we all feel relaxed in the lap of nature When you travel to a new place where you have never been before, you learn many things about the place At times, life gives you a chance to learn lessons while you are travelling to a place.

It was the month of August when I was traveling to Ratnagiri by train Ratnagiri is one of the most bewitching states of Maharashtra. In the summer season, you will find mango plantations in many places in Ratnagiri During the monsoon, the same city turns out to be most beautiful and refreshing Plants, flowers, fruits, and veggies all seem to be so fresh.

When I go on a holiday, I usually go with friends or with my parents This time I decided to go on a solo trip I booked a seat in Ratnagiri Express for myself. Although people prefer flights these days to travel to their destinations Traveling by train has a different charm As I stay in Mumbai, I prefer traveling to the nearest places by train. I love enjoying the journey on the train where I can sit near the window and watch the pleasant views outside the window

hometown of two little kids is in Ratnagiri. They used to stay with their parents in the small village of Ratnagiri For the last year, the kids have been working on a construction site with their neighborhood uncle. After many months, the kids were returning to their hometown to meet their parents and relatives

In today's selfish world, we are busy making ourselves happy. We are becoming self-centered with each passing day. Fortunately, there are a few people who still exist in this world who think about the happiness of their parents The two little kids who were poor but they earned for their parents. Every month the meager payment they get, they send to their parents through their uncle

From the outside view, I shifted my attention to the kids. The boy was busy eating biscuits and the girl, his elder sister, was busy opening her small bag After a while, the girl opened her old suitcase in which she was carrying gifts for her parents and relatives Her relatives stay with her parents So, she knew it would not look good if she did not get gifts for her relatives.

The little girl was carrying a cotton saree for her mother, a cotton shirt and pajamas for her father, scented soaps and a bottle of oil for herself and her parents, three boxes of sweets for her parents and relatives, toys and chocolates for her cousins, and a few shawls and mufflers for her relatives Although all gifts were of low price, those gifts seemed to be costly for the little girl. She was so excited about the gifts that she was organizing the gifts in the suitcase every now and then

As I was enjoying the views, an eightyear-old girl and a 10-year-old boy sat opposite to my seat They were siblings who work as child labor in Andheri The

Her expression taught us that the price of the gifts is not important. Her love made the gifts valuable. People these days expect and get expensive gifts from parents, friends and relatives, still, they do not value the gifts People are more interested in noticing the price tags than the gifts After organizing the gifts, the little girl removed a wad of notes from her small bag and fanned a wad of notes Passengers in our boogie were smiling at her actions The little girl and her brother were poor They were not from middle-class or upperclass families. For her, fanning a few fivehundred-rupee notes means a lot to her. She wanted to show others that even she has money


like all people Hence, no one should degrade her or her brother Her expression was wrong but her intentions were right.

During lunchtime, she tells her uncle you order three plates of vegetarian meals As the food arrived, the little girl fed her brother The view of feeding an elder brother by a younger sister was inexplicable. After lunch, the girl was looking out of the window of the train and was enjoying the view Her brother fell asleep on her lap

Sun was about to set and it was a beautiful view to watch sunset from the train. Ratnagiri Station was about to arrive in an hour The little girl made her brother wake up and she went to the wash basin to wash her face. She changed her clothes in the washroom. Then, she got ready and made her brother ready by washing his face Both, brother and sister applied powder and combed their hair Once again, she opened her suitcase and reorganized gifts and other clothes again. By doing this, she wanted to make sure that all gifts are intact and in place. Every time she used to open the suitcase, her face had a pleasant smile She was happy from within, thinking that she is capable of earning and giving gifts to her dear and near ones. Finally, Ratnagiri Station arrived and we got off the train. For a while, I was standing at the station and looking at the girl whose face was filled with excitement She was elated to meet her family and relatives after a long time She held her brother's hand and walked in a joyful mood with her uncle.

I was amazed to see the girl and her actions throughout the journey The train journey taught me that we can be satisfied even with little things in life. There is no need to chase big things in life when we can get happiness in small things The girl made us learn to be happy with things that may not have value for other people Stop carrying people inside your head. Do things that appease you. Learn to be thankful for the gifts given by your loved ones. Do not weigh gifts on the basis of price, but with love that is showered by your loved ones

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 an Executive Content Creator. Her poems got published on the Indian Literature website named Facestory. Currently, her stories and poems get published in various anthologies published by the eminent Reflection Magazine and in the renowned digital magazine, Storizen. She has received many certificates in the field of writing. She is bestowed with Indian Global Award 2022 and has been felicited with a medal in the Tagore Literature Festival 2022 by Literoma. Her poem got published in the Romance And Compendium book at the Tagore Literature Festival. In 2022, she is again bestowed with the Women Achiever Award by Literoma. In 2023, she is again conferred with the prestigious award, Tagore Literature Award 2023, where she is bestowed with a trophy and a certificate. 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.

We are Sure You got a brilliant idea for a story Let us know when you write it and publish it. We'll help you spread the good word.

Indian Ideas of Freedom by Dennis Dalton Akbar and Birbal by Delshad Karanjia

Dennis Dalton's book "Indian Ideas of Freedom" provides readers with a fascinating look inside the thoughts of notable Indian Thinkers like Swami Vivekananda, Aurobindo Ghose, Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, B R Ambedkar, M N Roy, and Jayaprakash Narayan This big book

reveals the junction of their private and political pursuits while exploring their unique viewpoints on freedom The unique features of the book "Indian Ideas of Freedom" are highlighted in Dalton's work It focuses on the essential role that freedom plays in the ideologies of all seven thinkers These ideas, which extend beyond the simple acquisition of political power, range from Gandhi's concept of "swaraj" and his experiments with truth to Vivekananda's practical Vedanta, Tagore's poetic universalism, Ambedkar's involvement with Buddhism, Aurobindo's quest for human ascendance, Roy's radical humanism, and Narayan's communitarian democracy. Dalton explains how these philosophies serve a higher good, encouraging readers to delve deeply into their relevance. The book's 10 clear, reflective, and intellectually rich chapters make it a thorough resource for students or people looking to comprehend Indian political thinking better With researchers like Nirmal Kumar Bose, Mirabehn, and VM Tarkunde, who offer insightful perspectives into the lives and ideologies of visionary thinkers, Dalton's research shows through as he describes these interactions James Tully and Ramachandra Guha, who provide an illuminating preface and an afterword, are the two well-known scholars who have praised this detailed study and endorsed the book for its contents.

This insightful book, "Indian Ideas of Freedom", sheds light on the perspective that significant Indian intellectuals used to see freedom. Vivekananda, Ghose, Gandhi, Tagore, Ambedkar, Roy, and Narayan made substantial contributions to an intellectual heritage that influenced the nationalist movement in India, according to Dalton's view.

Delshad Karanjia's Akbar and Birbal Stories is a delightful collection of folktales that brings to life the legendary duo of Emperor Akbar and his wise advisor Birbal With a perfect blend of humor, wit, and wisdom, this book has enchanted generations of readers

Karanjia's retelling of these classic stories is masterful The book has 39 stories from many stories available on Akbar and Birbal The writing style is engaging, making the tales easily accessible and enjoyable for children and adults. Each story unfolds seamlessly, capturing the imagination and leaving readers eagerly turning the pages to discover Birbal's ingenious solutions to Akbar's challenges. What sets this edition apart is the additional content provided by the author. Karanjia briefly introduces Akbar and Birbal, providing readers with valuable context about these historical figures. Furthermore, a glossary of terms used in the stories helps readers fully appreciate the nuances of the Mughal era This attention to detail enhances the educational value of the book The charm of Akbar and Birbal Stories lies in the timeless interplay between Akbar, the wise and just ruler, and Birbal, the quick-witted and clever advisor The stories entertain and offer insightful commentary on human nature, justice, and diplomacy They provide a window into India's rich culture and history, making them an engaging way to learn about the Mughal period. While the stories are generally wellcrafted, some may find a few of them predictable. Additionally, the book could have been longer to include more tales, as readers will undoubtedly crave more of Akbar and Birbal's escapades.

In conclusion, Akbar and Birbal Stories by Delshad Karanjia is a captivating and entertaining collection of folktales that will charm readers of all ages. The book's well-written narratives, humor, and wisdom make it a joyous read. Whether you're seeking laughter, inspiration, or a deeper understanding of Indian history, this book is a delightful choice.


Awe can mean many things. It's vast, yes. But awe is also more straightforward than we think and accessible to everyone,writes

a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, in his book "Awe: The Transformative Power of

Everyday Wonder " Dacher Keltner, a social psychologist, has reached a significant conclusion in his search to discover the secret to happiness: the answer is in feeling the experience of 'awe,' which comes when wow confronts secrets beyond our comprehension Keltner makes a persuasive case in his book that the advantages of wonder transcend beyond the emotional domain to include physical and mental well-being. He backs up his statements with scientific data, cultural history, and personal anecdotes and recollections. The book's contents are separated into four sections. Each section focuses on a different issue. According to the book, we can live a meaningful and rewarding life by actively pursuing moments of wonder and joy each day. Despite its inherent surprise and enigmatic character, regardless of financial resources, skill, education, or rank, awe may be found everywhere and by anybody Keltner goes on to stress the numerous benefits that come with the sense of wonder According to brain research, when we experience awe-inspiring experiences, our egos and their accompanying excesses, such as selfcriticism, worry, and despair, tend to subside As our sense of self disappears, awe allows us to move from a competitive perspective to see ourselves as important elements of linked networks. This shift in viewpoint will enable us to see ourselves in the context of family, community, and culture. Aweinduced self-transformation is a potent cure for modern society's prevalent diseases of isolation and loneliness.

Overall, it is a fascinating book that makes us think about wonders' significant influence on our lives.

Cyrus Mistry, an accomplished Indian author and playwright, won the 2014 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature for his acclaimed novel, Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer Hailing from Mumbai, Mistry's diverse talents span playwriting, journalism, and short-

story writing With his recent literary triumph and recognition, Mistry continues to captivate readers with his powerful narratives and profound insights into the human condition, solidifying his place as a celebrated figure in contemporary Indian literature. This book Doongaji House: Selected Plays, published by Aleph Book Company, showcases the remarkable works of acclaimed playwright Cyrus Mistry, encompassing his most notable plays. The collection features the award-winning play Doongaji House, which received the prestigious Sultan Padamsee Award for Playwriting in 1978. Set within the decaying walls of a Mumbai mansion, the play delves into the trials and tribulations of a Parsi family, navigating the complexities of their existence Another striking addition to the collection is The Legacy of Rage, a searing exploration of an East Indian family grappling with internal strife over their inheritance Against societal transformations that have pushed them to the brink of poverty, Mistry skillfully unravels the dynamics and conflicts within this dysfunctional family. Collectively, these brilliant plays expose the vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and contradictions that lie at the core of Indian middleclass existence. Mistry's writing illuminates the complexities of familial relationships and societal pressures, offering readers an introspective journey into the inner lives of his characters.

This collection is an invaluable addition to contemporary Indian drama, inviting readers to contemplate the intricacies of human existence through the lens of Mistry's exceptional works.

Awe by Dacher Keltner Doongaji House: Selected Plays by Cyrus Mistry

Mrs. K.M. Mathew's Finest Recipes by K.M.

"Mrs K M Mathew's Finest Recipes," released by Penguin Random House in India, is a unique compilation that exhibits the renowned Mrs. K.M. Mathew's culinary talent. This comprehensive collection includes her most cherished and adored recipes,

which have thrilled people worldwide. Mrs. Mathew's culinary talent has left an unmistakable impression on the food world. Mrs. KM Mathew, commonly known as Mrs K M Mathew, was a writer who immortalized Kerala's particular culinary history She presented readers with regional dishes that had hitherto been exclusive to Kerala kitchens, such as sticky sweet jackfruit ada, prawn Pappas, and beef pattichu varathathu Mrs Mathew, born in Polavaram, Andhra Pradesh, on March 22, 1922, had a childhood characterized by many relocations within Tamil Nadu due to her father's career. Despite growing up in a Malayali Christian home, her exposure to Tamil culture profoundly impacted her. She got a letter from KM Mathew, a suitor from the prominent Kandathil family, after studying at The American College in Madurai. They married in 1942 and raised their family in Chikmagalur, where KM handled the family coffee farm. Mrs. Mathew's enthusiasm for cooking flourished despite her discouragement throughout their stay in Bombay when she attended culinary lessons and investigated local cafes Mrs Annamma Mathew's food column, launched in a Kerala newspaper in 1953, promoted Kerala's culinary tradition to a larger audience Over the following five decades, she published hundreds of recipes in Malayala Manorama and Vanitha magazine, becoming a recognized recorder of Kerala food. Her dishes are still appreciated and utilized in Malayali homes today, helping to preserve and make Kerala's culinary traditions more accessible.

"Mrs. K.M. Mathew's Finest Recipes" is a worthy monument to Mrs. Mathew's extraordinary contributions to the culinary world and a great resource for anybody looking to go on a delightful journey filled with the original flavors of Kerala.


Greatest Indian Stories Ever Told by Arunava Sinha

The Greatest Stories Ever Told series by Aleph features some of the greatest short stories from India's regional languages. Aleph Book Company published noteworthy works on regional literature between 2021 and 2023. The translations of Indian regional language stories

have received praise throughout the country. In this regard, this July saw the release of a new book named "Greatest Indian Stories Ever Told" by Translator Arunva Sinha and Aleph Book Company.

"The Greatest Indian Stories Ever Told" is a stunning collection of the most extraordinary literary short fiction written by Indian writers throughout the genre's development in the late nineteenth century This collection features the writings of renowned early pioneers, contemporary luminaries, and highly brilliant writers who appeared in the twenty-first century It crosses geographical, linguistic, and literary borders by presenting stories from around India The book contains 50 stories written by great Indian writers who have ruled in their respective languages for decades, both past and present. Readers will discover the astounding workmanship of authors who have garnered unprecedented renown in Indian literature inside the pages of this book. Their cumulative accomplishments attest to their enormous brilliance, as they have received prestigious awards such as the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Jnanpith Award, the Sahitya Akademi Award, and countless state, national, and international honors Each story in this anthology serves as a doorway into an enthralling universe, luring readers into the rich fabric of Indian storytelling This collection shows the multidimensional brilliance of Indian literature, from the profound observations of the genre's early masters to the vivid narratives woven by modern stars and the fresh views given by the burgeoning talents of the twenty-first century

"The Greatest Indian Stories Ever Told" is a literary treasure trove honing Indian storytelling's depth and range. It serves as a portal for readers to explore the considerable reservoir of literary talent India has created.


"The Peacemakers," compiled by Ghazala Wahab and published by Aleph Book Company, is a compelling and moving collection of stories about those who have shown great bravery and devotion to peace in the face of bloodshed and war This book, compiled by diverse

authors give optimism in a country riven by communal violence and upheaval The book contains multiple narratives, each focusing on a different period or place in India's history. Rajmohan Gandhi focuses on Mahatma Gandhi's post-independence attempts to reduce violence in Bihar and Bengal. Nandita Haksar, a human rights lawyer, investigates the difficulties of establishing peace in Nagaland, a conflict-torn region. Rahul Bedi looks at the 1984 Delhi Sikh massacre, revealing testimonies of the criminals and the brave individuals who rescued lives The book digs into the aftermath of major events as well Uttam Sengupta investigates how Bihar stayed relatively quiet following the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992, while Jyoti Punwani interviews heroic members of civil society who risked their lives during the ensuing communal craziness Teesta Setalvad, a journalist-activist, shares personal stories of the 2002 Gujarat inferno and peacekeeping operations. The stories continue to shed light on different areas of strife and resilience. Sunil Kumar delves into Maoist violence in Chhattisgarh and highlights individuals working for peace and justice in this volatile region. Teresa Rehman's inspiring story follows the work of a non-governmental organization that empowers women in Assam's once-conflictridden areas Ghazala Wahab reflects on the optimistic years of 2005-2008 in Kashmir, documenting the sacrifices and efforts made by individuals seeking a peaceful future

"The Peacemakers" is a topical and essential anthology that provides invaluable insights into achieving peace in a country dealing with its turbulent history. It is a must-read for everyone looking for motivation and reassurance in the transformational power of compassion and resilience.

Trading Flesh in Tokyo: Nine Short Stories and a Play by Rajesh Talwar

Rajesh Talwar's "Trading Flesh in Tokyo: Nine Short Stories and a Play" is an engaging collection that immerses readers in various themes and thought-provoking societal issues Talwar goes on a literary journey that explores the depths of love, poverty, crime,

passion, and the complexities of human connections via a combination of nine engrossing short tales and an engaging play This book expertly demonstrates Rajesh Talwar's narrative expertise. The book offers a rich and engaging reading experience by fusing compelling short stories with a reflective drama. This work notably appeals to readers who value different storylines that deeply delve into the complexity of human nature, relationships, and societal dynamics. This book's fantastic collection of stories captivates readers and delves deeply into the nuances of family connections, illuminating societal challenges. This book provides readers with joy and satisfaction while inspiring deep contemplation with its nine captivating stories and gripping drama Intriguing chapter headings in the book include "The Stars Are My Witness," "The Price of Revolution," "The End of an English Friendship," and "Trading Flesh in Tokyo " Each story delves into intriguing and novel topics that fascinate readers right away Whether it's the mysterious scientist who rejects global acclaim in "The Stars Are My Witness," the girlfriend who struggles without her revolutionary partner in "The Price of Revolution," or the delicately portrayed friendship bonds in "The End of an English Friendship," Talwar covers a wide range of emotions and experiences. In addition, "The Magnate's Magnet"'s introspective trip through a Chinese billionaire's recollections adds dimension to the collection The stories are painstakingly written, fusing mystery, suspense, and tender observations

"Trading Flesh In Tokyo" is an exceptional book that blends captivating storytelling with insightful explorations of family dynamics and societal issues.

The Peacemakers by Ghazala Wahab

Yellowface by R. F. Kuang

June Hayward, an aspiring author overshadowed by her cross-genre literary star friend Athena Liu, seizes an opportunity when Athena tragically dies June steals Athena's completed novel, highlighting Chinese labourers' contributions during World War I, and passes it off as her own As she rises to fame under a new identity, Juniper

Song, June finds herself haunted by Athena's legacy and faced with mounting evidence that threatens to expose her deception. Racing to protect her stolen success, June must confront the lengths she is willing to go to maintain what she believes she deserves.

"Yellowface" by Kuang is not an ordinary book; it is a scream that refuses to be forgotten This captivating novel delves into the darkest corners of the publishing industry, taking readers on a haunting journey through a writer's life As the readers embark on this literary adventure, it is better to be unprepared for the storm that Kuang unleashes with her pen, leaving the readers speechless and eager for more Kuang's fiery and bold writing reveals the hidden layers behind the scenes of publication houses and the ruthless world of social media that permeates every aspect of our lives today. With exceptional brilliance, she uncovers the imbalance between thoughtful creativity and the overwhelming influence of today's hyperactive media. Through the eyes of a corrupt writer, the novel provides striking insights into the industry's reality, forcing readers to pause and reflect. "Yellowface" defies easy categorization, for it is neither a novel, a thriller, a comedy, or a horror story It is an amalgamation of all these elements, constantly haunted by a ghostly presence and the dark sarcasm of the deceased writer Athena The resulting narrative is akin to a jumbled thought captured on paper, defying expectations Nevertheless, readers might enjoy this scrambled novel precisely because of its well-crafted intentional plot Kuang's ability to engage readers with her writing style is commendable.

While not without flaws, "Yellowface" is a memorable and thought-provoking novel that commands attention and leaves an indelible impression.

A Lost People's Archive by Rimli Sengupta

"A Lost People's Archive" by Rimli Sengupta is a strange and moving story about two childhood friends, Shishu and Noni, set against the backdrop of pre-independence India, Partition, and refugee-enhanced migration. Shishu and Noni, the two

main protagonists, meet in 1922 and form a connection that lasts through the shifting landscape of undivided India. Rimli Sengupta expertly combines history and imagination into a novel that delves into issues of love, friendship, political turbulence, and the tremendous impact of relocation on the lives of Bengali people Author Rimli Sengupta reminds us of the devastation created by partition and its life-altering impact on individuals who lived through it TShishu joined a revolutionary party fighting for India's freedom, while Noni married young Shishu is imprisoned for murder, and Noni has to deal with the difficulties of early marriage and partition They communicate via letters and poems written in a notebook, which serves as a motivational and lifesaving medium for Shishu. This narrative depicts the diverse beliefs that support or oppose British control. These activities effectively foiled the supremacy and its consequences for the established religious and ideological division. The story takes place in Patuakhali, a town in the delta where the Meghna River meets the sea Shishu and Noni create remarkable friendships as youngsters, connected by their love of literature and poetry However, their fates diverge when Shishu joins a revolutionary organization and is imprisoned for seventeen years, and Noni marries at a young age One delight of reading ancient letters is knowing they do not require an answer However, the readers grasp society, lifestyle, emotions, and social fabric in this context. The book is engrossing from the first page.

Because the narrative is a fictitious work based on a true story, this hybrid narrative proves that reading true stories always attracts and entices readers.


Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to change how we live AI presents opportunities to complement and supplement human intelligence and improve people's lives and work by enabling high-level cognitive processes like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem-solving, and decision-making

combined with data collection and aggregation advances, analytics, and computer processing power. India, the world's fastest-growing economy with the second-largest population, is interested in the AI revolution. Recognizing AI's potential to revolutionize economies and the necessity for India to strategize its approach, the Hon'ble Finance Minister authorized NITI Aayog to establish the National Programme on AI to drive the study and development of new and emerging technologies in his budget speech for 20182019 In this regard, authors Jayanth N Kolla and Leslie D'Monte provide the globe with a compact and straightforward book named "AI Rising India's Artificial Intelligence Growth Story", which contains practical and realistic AI information The book is organized into three parts, and the information is separated into chapters With the Central Government focused on the development of AI in our nation, the book's second chapter - Artificial Intelligence in India - is one of the most fascinating and unique to read. The chapter is divided into smaller sections that discuss India's viewpoint and the Future of AI in the country in a way that will aid the country's prosperity. Indian firms are quickly catching up when integrating artificial intelligence (AI). According to a recent poll, more than half of the top 1000 Indian enterprises are moving beyond pilot and test projects and implementing AI on a broader scale The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has emerged as a major changer in India's digital payment ecosystem The digital revolution in India is explained in one of the chapters UPI has transformed how individuals trade by enabling smooth and rapid money transfers, making digital payments available to millions of Indians.

Reading biography and autobiography can be thought of as an investment in self-knowledge. An investment in knowledge pays a high dividend. Also, reading an autobiography or biography provides insight into great individuals' real-life experiences and motivates us to

pursue our goals in the real world. A good biography also informs us about the milieu in which that individual lived As a result, reading a biography is essential for us to gain various practical lessons A great person's life is often so loaded with rich details and interesting facts that it appears exciting and educational Furthermore, reading about the real-life experiences of a successful or renowned person has a favorable impact on our motivations

Autobiographies are a category that I love reading since they give deep insights into successful people's lives while teaching significant lessons. "Diamonds Are Forever, So Are Morals" is Sir Govind Dholakia's autobiography, a gripping narrative related by Mr. Dhokakia and skilfully crafted by Arun Tiwari & Kamlesh Yagnik. The book follows Mr. Dholakia's incredible journey from modest origins in a tiny hamlet in Gujarat to his ascension as a compelling motivational leader and one of the most successful personalities in the diamond business Despite coming from an agricultural background and being a dropout, his success story is inspirational and spiritually enlightening "Diamonds Are Forever, So Are Morals" has a powerful narrative style that keeps readers interested from start to finish Each chapter opens with a Bhagavad Gita shloka that captures the spirit of the chapter and Mr. Dholakia's vision.

"Diamonds Are Forever So Are Morals" offers invaluable lessons from a remarkable individual, guiding and inspiring those seeking a fulfilling and accomplished journey.

"AI Rising India's Artificial Intelligence Growth Story" showcases Leslie D'Monte's distinct method of deciphering complex deep tech topics.

Diamonds Are Forever So Are Morals by Arun Tiwari & Kamlesh Yagnik AI Rising by Jayanth N Kolla and Leslie D'Monte

Awaken Your Genius by Ozan Varol

In a world where defying convention with unconventional careers, mindsets, and perspectives is a reality for many, it's common to feel isolated and feel like the odd one out When we no longer fit into neat boxes, the number of people we can relate to and share our unique experiences with diminishes

"Awaken Your Genius" - Amarvel hardbound book that provokes thought and inspires action, urging readers to break free from the constraints of conformity and unleash their true potential. The author emphasizes the importance of embracing our individual abilities and creative instincts to lead extraordinary lives. The book is divided into three main sections, each dedicated to a crucial aspect of personal growth and transformation: Escape Conformity: This section delves into the perils of surrendering to societal norms and expectations It encourages readers to remain authentic and forge their own identities Ignite Creativity: Readers are introduced to proven strategies, including engaging in creative exercises, practicing mindfulness, and embracing failure as a valuable learning opportunity. Become Extraordinary: The final section of the book focuses on transforming our lives into something remarkable. "Awaken Your Genius" is a captivating read that challenges readers to push beyond conventional boundaries and surpass their limits. This is a practical book for impractical people. There are many practical pieces of advice and inspiring anecdotes that are a valuable roadmap for individuals aspiring to tap into their inner genius and lead a more fulfilling and extraordinary life

This transformative guide combines Ozan's exceptional talent for absorbing wisdom from the vast ocean of overwhelming information with his brilliant ability to distill and organize knowledge, akin to a whale absorbing plankton and a rocket scientist streamlining complex concepts.

Set Boundaries, Find Peace by Nedra Glover Tawwab

Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself and Building Healthy Relationships

"Set Boundaries, Find Peace" by Nedra Tawwab is a powerful and insightful guide that explores the importance of establishing healthy boundaries and how doing so can

lead to personal growth, improved well-being, and more fulfilling connections with others. Throughout the book, Tawwab draws upon her experience as a licensed therapist and her expertise in helping individuals navigate the complex terrain of boundaries She presents a comprehensive framework that empowers readers to recognize, set, and maintain boundaries that align with their values and needs Tawwab’s writing is empathetic, compassionate, and accessible, making complex psychological concepts easy to understand and apply in real-life situations One of the book's strengths is its emphasis on self-reflection Tawwab prompts readers to examine their past experiences, childhood influences, and belief systems that may have hindered their ability to establish healthy boundaries. She provides relatable examples and anecdotes to illustrate how boundary violations can negatively impact emotional well-being and hinder personal growth. Tawwab offers practical strategies and tools that readers can use to navigate various relationship dynamics, whether it's with partners, family, friends, or colleagues From setting limits on time and energy to expressing needs and asserting oneself, she provides step-by-step guidance on how to communicate effectively and enforce boundaries without guilt or fear If there is one minor criticism, it is that some readers might find the content repetitive at times However, this repetition can be beneficial for reinforcing key concepts and ensuring their practical application.

"Set Boundaries, Find Peace" is an indispensable resource for anyone looking to establish healthy boundaries in their relationships and reclaim their personal autonomy.

(Reviewed by Kiran Adharapuram)

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 June 2023 Books we are loving this month Exclusive Digital Issue For more columns and features, scan below


This month you are very ambitious and focused on your work. You are very action oriented and ready to fulfil your dreams You are very determined to make things happen. Don’t be impulsive otherwise you may fell down


This month, Taurus, you might be very creative It also indicates acting on your goals which will help you to be financially successful. It is the right month to pamper yourself with self-care It is the good month for planning a baby.


This month, Gemini you are disappointed as things are not moving as per your wishes Also, some might have a heartbreak or emotional breakdown. This is just a phase, and it shall pass soon Just release the pain and move on


This month, Cancer, you might be thinking and revisiting your childhood memories and relieving them. Also, some might meet a childhood lover or a friend and spend joyful and happy moments together It also indicates a harmonious and joyful relationship with your partner


This month, Leo, you might receive an important opportunity at your doorstep that will help you to grow financially. It also indicates, to start something new It is the week of prosperity


This month, Virgo, you might be thinking about long term goals. Also, some might be frustrated as despite hard work, you are not getting success Just have patience and continue doing your hard work, things will give result


This month, Libra you are working hard to improve your skills and are focused to achieve success. It also indicates you are learning and studying more about your skills to get master in it.


This month Scorpio, you are very emotional and joyful spending time with your family It also indicates, new creative opportunity will soon knock on your door which you were waiting for since long



This month, Sagittarians, you need financial assistance as you are facing hard times Don’t feel isolated or alone Just reach out to your near ones for help.


This month, you are facing competition in your workplace, which is not letting you to pursue your goals. so you need to work hard to get appreciated It also indicates fights and disagreement on certain matters. You need to be grounded and listen to their point


This month, Aquarians, you are self-confident and Independent. It also indicates, enjoying the luxuries of life that you have earned by yourself Some might be in leadership role in their workplace.


This month, Pisces,you need courage to face all the challenges in your life. People might try to pull you down but never give up and continue to fulfil your goals. It also indicates you might hurt in the past and still the wounds are there which is not letting you to move Just come out of the situation and move on.

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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FOLLOW US ONExclusive Digital Issue. For more columns and features, scan below