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JUNE 2018

STORIZEN HARINDER SIKKA Decoding - An Incredible True Story of 'SEHMAT' and her sacrifice for the NATION

Alia Bhatt on the sets of RAAZI, Bollywood Film based on 'Calling Sehmat'


Now Available on:


– IBN BATTUTA

“TRAVELING – IT LEAVES YOU SPEECHLESS, THEN TURNS YOU INTO A STORYTELLER.”


WHAT'S INSIDE 6

EDITOR'S NOTE

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STORIZEN FEATURE Harinder Sikka on 'Sehmat' and her sacrifice for the nation - Pria

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BEHIND THE SCENE Harper@Cinema

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STORIZEN EXCLUSIVE Are you Happy... Now? - Steven Matthew Adams

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BOOK LAUNCH Obsessed

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- Ruchi Kokcha

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STORIZEN NEWS Meghna Pant on her story Fifty shades of Cow - Meghna Pant

STORIZEN TRAVEL The Perfect Road Trip - Pulkit Singh

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STORIZEN TRAVEL Kolkata Diaries - Aparna Mukherjee


WHAT'S INSIDE 46

STORIZEN TRAVEL Changing the life's Perspective

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– Anshul Kumar Akhoury

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STORIZEN TRAVEL Travel is a Part of Life

ANAMIKA PART - 3 Short Story - Ketaki Patwardhan

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- Parth Lakhani

BOOK REVIEW How to Create Miracles in Our Daily Lives by Oswald Pereira - Himani Gupta

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AUTHOR'S JOURNEY Path to get published - Sujay Malik

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BOOK REVIEW Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka - Swapna Peri

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AUTHOR'S INTERVIEW Anuradha Prasad in talks with Storizen team - Sana Shekh


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Letter From the Editor

ravel while you are young! I realized this when I had a trip to Hong Kong back in 2015 and later a trip to Dubai back last year. Traveling is necessary to expand your horizons and gain exposure to what's out there! Keeping this in mind, we kept the theme for the June issue of the Storizen Magazine as 'Travel Diaries'. We are so grateful and glad to feature 'Harinder Sikka' an exveteran and now the Group Director, Strategic Business at the Piramal Group – “the man who told the story of this young Kashmiri Muslim girl - A brave heart girl who gave a huge sacrifice for the nation “in his latest book 'Calling Sehmat' which is now a blockbuster Bollywood movie 'Raazi' with the role of Sehmat played by Alia Bhatt.

This issue also covers the recent unique events held in the publishing world, “The Harper@Cinema” which was held in Delhi in association with the Habitat Film Festival along with the book launch of Obsessed by Ruchi Kokcha. Meghna Pant, who has worked as an anchor with renowned news channels, shares about her latest story “Fifty Shades of Cow” which has now been longlisted for the prestigious “Commonwealth Short Story Prize” (2018). We are glad to include Storizen Exclusive - an international contributor, Steven Matthew Adams - an author who provides his insight on being happy, the thing which most of us are forgetting about. Packed with loads of interesting travel stories and book reviews, you will surely enjoy this edition. We would like to explore and evolve and that is possible when you (readers) share your feedback as this is the only tool which can allow us to reach your heats more effectively.

Follow us on: Saurabh Chawla Editor in Chief editor@storizen.com


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BEHIND THE

SCENE

HARPER@CINEMA HARPERCOLLINS INDIA, IN ASSOCIATION WITH HABITAT FILM FESTIVAL, PRESENTS HARPER @ CINEMA


STORIZEN EVENTS

HarperCollins India, in association with Habitat Film Festival, presents HARPER@CINEMA, a first-of-its-kind event organized by an Indian book publisher, that celebrates cinema and books with masterclasses, conversations, music and more. JUNE 2018

HARPER@CINEMA is a great platform for cinema enthusiasts to interact with the ‘Masters of the Game,’ showcasing an eclectic gamut of speakers including Gulzar, Vishal Bhardwaj, Rakeysh

Omprakash Mehra, Nandita Das, Tisca Chopra, Gautam Chintamani, Shubhra Gupta, and Kaveree Bamzai. There was a performance of R.D. Burman songs sung by his biographers Balaji Vittal and Anirudha Bhattacharjee. STORIZEN MAGAZINE |

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STORIZEN EVENTS

Vidyun Singh, Director Programmes-India Habitat Centre says, ‘We are delighted to have HarperCollins on board for the Habitat Film Festival. The content and experts that came on board, thanks to their collaboration add a meaningful and important element to the Festival and the HarperCollins Day promises to be one of the popular highlights.’

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‘Everybody loves the movies, and at HarperCollins, we have the most extensive publishing on cinema, both award-winning and pure entertainment. We are so glad that we could partner with the IHC Film Club and bring the magic of cinema to Delhi, through our books, conversations, music and more,’ says

Ananth Padmanabhan, Chief Executive Officer – HarperCollins India The topics for the sessions ranged from Cinema & Acting, Word to Screen, Masterclasses, Music, to Reminiscing Kal Aaj Aur Kal.

JUNE 2018


STORIZENEVENTS

HOT OFF THE PRESS

HarperCollins India presents 'Obsessed' by Ruchi Kokcha A Tale of Lust and Murder – Obsessed by Ruchi Kokcha 'Obsessed' is the debut novel by Ruchi Kokcha, a teacher, she holds a Masters in English Literature from Delhi university

JUNE 2018

and she is a lover of stories. Ruchi Kokcha is a writer and a poet who truly believes in her saying, ‘People come, people go, poetry stays.’ Disturbingly dark and full of shocking surprises, Obsessed traverses a path along the razor’s edge of twisted love. How far will

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STORIZEN EVENTS

Avik’s and Ananki’s obsessions take them? Avik is an investigative journalist who finally finds out one case that could bring him glory, or death! As the mystery behind millionaire Kalki Rajput’s murder thickens, Avik is forced to risk it all to bring out the truth that has eluded many before him. If only he could uncover what the victim’s daughter had witnessed. Of course, that would mean diving into the depths of her madness.

He had thought he could resurface with the truth. Now, he will count himself lucky if he makes it out alive. And sane. Populated with characters that pose at the chasm that separates the real from the unreal, in prose that belongs to worlds not our own, Obsessed will snatch you from your comfort zone. None will ever guess the identity of the killer until the book chooses to reveal it.

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STORIZENNEWS

A 'Prized' Possesion MEGHNA PANT, the awardwinning author, columnist, speaker and journalist, has added another feather to her short story cap. Her latest story FIFTY SHADES OF COW – which was mentioned by The New Yorker as a raunchy satire they enjoyed reading – has now been longlisted for the prestigious COMMONWEALTH SHORT STORY PRIZE (2018). It was in the top 200 out of more than 6000 story entries. In the history of the award only one Indian author has won the coveted short story prize. The author has a unique story behind this story: “I wrote this story in the throes of being a new mother ... on hallucinatory dawns when I hadn't had a wink of sleep ... when my escape from exhaustion was in my writing. The story has taken an interesting journey. While it 14

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didn't make the shortlist, it still feels like a triumph, because sometimes the victory is in the doing rather than the winning, the double helix of being a writer and a woman.” JUNE 2018


STORIZEN NEWS

Pant’s debut collection of short stories HAPPY BIRTHDAY (Random House India, 2013) was longlisted for the world’s biggest short story award: THE FRANK O'CONNOR INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2014 and shortlisted for the prestigious SAHITYA AKADEMI AWARD. ONE AND A HALF WIFE (Westland, 2012) – her debut novel – won the national Muse India YOUNG WRITER AWARD and was shortlisted for the AMAZON BREAKTHROUGH NOVEL AWARD. Her short stories have been published in reputed international literary magazines, as well as in anthologies like Namita Gokhale's THE HIMALAYAN ARC. Pant also won the FON SOUTH ASIA SHORT STORY AWARD (2016) and the BHARAT NIRMAN AWARD (2017) for her writing. Pant has three upcoming non-fiction books with top publishers: FEMINIST RANI (Penguin Random House), HOLY 100 (Rupa), and HOW TO GET PUBLISHED (Bloomsbury UK).

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STORIZENNEWS

Her articles have been published in The Huffington Post, Times of India, DNA, Tehelka, Hindustan Times, MidDay, Mumbai Mirror, Vogue, India Today, Scroll, Firstpost and DailyO. Pant curates the popular event ‘Feminist Rani’, and interviews leading female leaders like Shobhaa De, Chanda Kochhar, Kalki Koechlin and Deepa Malik on She’s The Boss (Firstpost), First Lady (Firstpost), and Get Real (SheThePeople.TV). Pant has spoken at the nation's biggest literary festivals and conferences, including TEDx, Times Lit Fest, and Kala Ghoda Festival. She has associated with several charities for underprivileged girls, like the Avanti Young Women Leadership Program, The Blue Ribbon Movement, Kehkasha 2017, Srujna Sheroes and

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served as a mentor for Sheroes and Vital Voices (a woman empowering initiative by Hillary Clinton). @MeghnaPantOfficial

@MeghnaPant

JUNE 2018


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COVER STORY

DECODING AN INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HARINDER SIKKA WITHOUT WHOM, THE TRUTH OF 'SEHMAT' WOULD HAVE BEEN HIDDEN FOREVER! by Pria Being at a prestigious position of Group Director – Strategic Business at the Piramal Group, the work pressure would be enormous! How do you manage the time to write the book? Some writers describe themselves as planners, while others plunge right into the writing? 18

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I mostly write after 10 pm. Since I don’t party, nor drink, nor have interest in eating out, I get good time at night to pen down my thoughts. What comes to my heart gets expressed on a piece of paper.

Over the period I edit it many times till I am satisfied with the flow.

"I was always aware and convinced of the value of my story. And there were many production houses who made every effort to get the book." JUNE 2018


Harinder Sikka with his book 'Calling Sehmat'


COVER STORY

The subaltern view of the book highlights patriotism, even after 70 years of existence as separate nations, the India – Pakistan equation is incessantly stressed - Your views. India and Pakistan’s tensions are stressed because the two

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nations in general, and Pakistan in particular, want it to be SO. It’s a game of mind, being played by those who do not appreciate the fact that everything that we give comes back to us. Neither do the Pakistani Generals appreciate that the nuclear energy they

are sitting on is worthless. If and when the paradigm shifts, we shall all start from zero. Their egos however refuse to accept the truth.It's a pity that we put up a grand show of hostility every evening at the Wagah Border slamming gates at

JUNE 2018


COVER STORY

each other. What are we feeding to our citizens? We are forever fed by a brand of HyperNationalism where most films, media have etched the stereotypical image of ‘dushman’ in our minds – “Calling Sehmat “decimates the whole structure – Your views. The book ‘Calling Sehmat’ describes patriotism and loyalty of a woman without hatred and animosity. She performed her karma but did not wish to be rewarded. In the process however, she had to even kill many and suffered herself. Its an emotion which a very large number amongst the future generations in JUNE 2018

general, and our politicians in particular, are bereft of. Selling negativity connects faster to the voter, it seems.

was left with no choice but to agree on this requirement of mine.

"Selling negativity connects faster to While looking for film the voter, it seems." adaptation of your book ‘Calling Sehmat’, did you have any actor in mind, if Yes, who? For Calling Sehmat, I had decided on Alia Bhatt as the actor and Meghna Gulzar as Director much before signing the contract. I had given a written document to this effect to Meghna. Since it was a ‘Not for Profit’ project for me, there was no way I could have suffered any loses. Therefore any producer wanting to deal with the subject

What inspired you to write this story? Could you please share the history behind “Calling Sehmat?” Calling Sehmat is a story of a Kashmiri Muslim woman who made supreme sacrifices for the sake of her ‘watan’, Hindustan. I was all along under the impression that I was a brave man, given the fact that I have taken many bold initiatives that a normal person

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COVER STORY

The Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC receiving the book 'Calling Sehmat' from Mr. Harinder S. Sikka

wouldn't even dare to undertake. But when I learnt about her story, the bubble burst. I felt humbled. It was not easy to build the story given that she was reluctant to speak out much. Having emerged from deep depression thanks to a saintly soul, she had moved herself into a spiritual cocoon from where she was not willing to emerge. It was difficult to pierce through this comfort 22

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zone of hers. By making a pillars out of bits and pieces of information from her, I visited Pakistan twice, in 2004 and 2007, with an aim to get an insight of her stay there. This helped me build a stronger base around these pillars. I was always aware and convinced of the value of my story. And there were many production houses who made

every effort to get the book. Every Kashmiri is not a traitor or a terrorist -The book is written with this thought. What made this transition possible? What are your thoughts in the present times? Every Kashmiri is not a traitor or a terrorist is as much a fact as ‘one swallow does not the spring make’. According to Dr. JUNE 2018


COVER STORY

Farooq Abdullah, there are thousands of Sehmats in the Valley who know for sure that the interaction of their children with Pakistan or Pakistanis can only mean a death knell for their children. They are simple and humble people, unfortunately also gullible, thus are being abused to the hilt by those with vested interests. I believe selected politicians, traitors and terrorists are making money in exchange of body bags of youth from both sides. 26/11 terrorists Kasab and Wani from our valley are glaring examples.Such people have no religion or loyalty. They belong to no nation. They believe in one goal, to make money, at

JUNE 2018

whatever it costs. It wasn't a coincidence that Osama Bin Laden was found in Abotabad. Someone, somewhere was paying bagful for his accomodation from the Paki's top brass. Varied incidents involved risk during decoding the truth How did you convince yourself to get going? Did the People involved support you in your moves?

once and if you live right, once is enough”. My company, Piramal Group supported me to the hilt and so did my parents and my family. There were hurdles galore. Its only when you travel the crests and troughs of life that you enjoy, deep within, the essence of the journey.

"I personally believe the theory that “you live once and if you live right, once is Life is full of risks. enough”. My There is no guarantee company, Piramal for the next breath. I personally believe the Group supported me theory that “you live to the hilt and so did my parents and my family.

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COVER STORY

After I made Nanak Shah Fair, a multiple national award winning film – that was Sehmat’s blessing to me - I was more than convinced that ‘Calling Sehmat’ should hit the silver screen and destiny took over from there on. The journey of writing the book and then seeing it turned into a movie, how and what was your experience? It took me eight years to write the book and publish it in 2008. It took me another few years to minutely correct and rewrite the same. Penguin India came as a blessing and took the book to a new height. After I made Nanak Shah Fair, a multiple national award winning film – that was Sehmat’s blessing to me - I

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was more than convinced that ‘Calling Sehmat’ should hit the silver screen and destiny took over from there on. How much time you have devoted to writing this book? I spent many months to reshape the book. 'Calling Sehmat' is a passion in motion to someone deep within me who was emotionally attached to this amazing character. I wanted to ensure that the lead character did not go away unsung.

It must have taken enormous effort in researching about Sehmat and her story. Where it all did began? Did the story leave you feeling heavy and haunted? Researching on Sehmat itself became a passion for me. It began from a point where I heard the sentence “my mother wasn’t a traitor”. I witnessed from close quarters many Sehmats helping our forces. Sehmat's acts of valor and courage pierced the soul within, brought me JUNE 2018


Life of an Indian Kashmiri Spy and her SACRIFICE... CLICK BELOW TO ORDER NOW!

Photo source: Indiatimes.com

Alia Bhatt on the sets of 'Raazi'


COVER STORY

Its only when you travel the crests and troughs of life that you enjoy, deep within, the essence of the journey.

down to ground zero. I actually feel better now, and humbled. Giving a massive positive review about the movie, what are your thoughts on the cast? Was everything perfect, from characters to direction? The film is a small portion of the entire book but two people were very vital for me - one was Sehmat, played by Alia Bhatt and the second was Abdul, played by Arif Zakaria. Arif had played the role of

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‘Bhai Mardana’ in my film, Nanak Shah Fakir. Therefore I knew he would deliver his best and Alia’s confirmation had come from none less than Sehmat herself. Her innocence filled facial expressions, natural talent and steely determination is second to none. I see Sehmat in her. Almost single handedly, she took the film to box office. She's my Hero!

Any message that was given to you from Sehmat regarding the book and the movie which you would like to share with the readers. There are two messages which are of vital importance: a)“If the Lord grants you karma, there cannot be a better reward”. b)“If injustice is done to you by humans, consider yourself lucky. Nature will compensate manifold at its chosen time”.

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COVER STORY

Any message you want to share or give to your readers and well-wishers? I want people to read the book with an open mind & heart and appreciate that even a small journey undertaken in life, not necessarily travelling for decades, with a positive frame of mind and with loyalty, commitment and dedication, leaves in its wake a permanent mark that in turn gets etched forever in the memory of the unknown minds on earth and the Almighty above. (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. @mystery_pria

@Loudest_Mystery

pria@storizen.com

JUNE 2018

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A R E Y O U H A P P Y . . . N O W ? STEVEN MATTHEW ADAMS

I

t’s a very simple question, and yet, most people tend to have a less-than-simple answer. In modern society, given all that we’ve achieved in making many aspects of our lives presumably easier or more convenient, it’s difficult to say that people are, on average, notably happier than at other points in human history. One could potentially argue that we have an even more challenging time both becoming and remaining

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happy than ever before as many of our lives are built upon the ethos of struggling now in order to be potentially happy at some point in the future. This is clearly absurd as we are not guaranteed any time at all but this very moment. It’s impossible to ignore the tragic irony that while our quality of life has seemingly improved, the quality

of our living has been simultaneously deteriorating. Such were the kinds of existential musings that began to preoccupy my time in the months leading up to the point when I began to write my first book, On The Way (itself a practical guide to cultivating sustainable happiness). Ironically, although JUNE 2018


Steven Adams


STORIZEN      EXCLUSIVE

I’ve been a writer my entire life and had made multiple unsuccessful attempts at writing a book before, it was actually not my intention at this particular time to even do so. As part of a sincere desire to make sense of one of the most challenging periods of my life, I began writing daily notes to myself that echoed all that I was thinking and feeling. I did this in the hope that having an external mirror for my internal state, I would somehow be able to resolve my issues by 30 |

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becoming more consciously aware of how I was living my life and what was necessary for constructive and meaningful change. Looking back, I can honestly say that this entire experience was a perfect marriage of serendipity and fate, as it not only gifted me the inspiration that would ultimately lead to the publication of my first book, but would also be responsible for reshaping my entire life.

To give a bit of historical context, I graduated university with dual degrees in finance-related disciplines just shy of twenty years ago. Interestingly enough, I knew right at the moment I graduated that this was not the direction my life was supposed to take. However, having committed so much in the way of time, energy and resources to my education, I felt powerless to slow down the train on which I was being carried away, let alone change its course altogether. It would be many years until I not only knew what to do with my life, but gained sufficient courage to do just that. Fast forward to November of 2016, I had finally reached a point in my life where I was not only at a complete loss for what to do from both a personal and professional JUNE 2018


STORIZEN        EXCLUSIVE

perspective, but was becoming increasingly and almost inconsolably unhappy. Although blessed with so many gifts and opportunities, as well as being incredibly ambitious, committed and doing all the “right” things, my life did not look anything like how I wanted it to look. A true blessing in disguise, this experience drove me to the point where I had no choice but to consciously, honestly and earnestly evaluate how I was living my life. As part of this journey of self-exploration, I began to question the very nature of happiness itself, as well as the ways in which we’ve been conditioned by society, to not only define happiness but also seek it. These themes would become the backbone of On The

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Way’s central thesis, namely, that if we wish to cultivate a present and sustainable experience of happiness, we must prioritize resonant behaviors in the present over desired outcomes in the future. The only time we have is now and the only aspect of life that we have complete control over is what we do and don’t do. This profound shift of perspective is not only tremendously empowering, it is the only path to cultivating sustainable happiness. At the time of this article’s release, On The Way has made its way (no pun intended) to over 12 32

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countries around the world, all without the support of the traditional publishing mechanisms and with very little in the way of promotion beyond Instagram. I attribute much of the book’s success thus far to not only its theme or content, but the spirit in which it was written…I was nothing short of compelled to bring On The Way to life. I truly believe that people somehow have a sense of that when they read it and deeply connect with that.

In that vein, what the book underscores demonstratively is also what I believe to be the most meaningful and substantial guidance that I could offer aspiring writers, or really anyone finding their way through life. That is, do only what you feel compelled to do. Regardless of what happens, you will not only be living honestly and authentically, you will continue to grow as a person and find your way toward becoming sustainably happy. When what we do is

JUNE 2018


STORIZEN      EXCLUSIVE

When who we are is aligned with what we do, anything is possible.

aligned with what we we are, literally anything is possible. The alchemical mixture of inspiration, necessity, passion and personal connection is what is required to create truly important work that will meaningfully resonate with others. Even in an era undeniably saturated with content lacking any tangible substance, work that originates from the heart and carries with it the most noble of intentions will be recognized for what it is and ultimately celebrated.

Steven Adams is a highly-respected writer, speaker and wellness coach, based in NYC. His work is primarily focuses on helping others manifest holistic spiritual wellness through the accessible explanation and practical application of spiritual concepts. His revolutionary new book, On The Way, is fastbecoming a definitive disruptor in the field, as it overturns the existing social conventions that not only define the experience of happiness, but also the ways in which we seek it.

@stevenmatthewadams On The Way by Steven Adams

JUNE 2018

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STORIZEN TRAVEL

On our way to Rohtang

On our way back to Manali

A PERFECT ROAD TRIPÂ UDHAMPUR TO ROHTANG PASS by Pulkit Singh

T

here is something that

vagaries of highways.

itching to leave

has to be said about

This is the story of the

Udhampur for a

harebrained plans.

lessons that they

vacation. Young that

More often than not,

learned from their first

we are, reckless that

they work out just fine.

bike trip.

we may sometimes be,

This is the story of two

The protagonists of this

we decided that

wanderlust-bitten

tale are Praveen and

wherever we go, it had

young travelers who

his self-confessed

to be on the hubby’s

recognized not the

better half me. It was

bike. After thawing out

whims of nature or the

year-end and we were

many options, we

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JUNE 2018


SEE THE WORLD FROM A BIKER'S

PERSPECTIVE WE HAD COVERED MORE THAN 100 KM FROM JAMMU IN ABOUT AN HOUR AN HALF. NOT BAD. WE HAD ANOTHER 100 TO GO.

WE REACHED MANDI, 107 KM FROM PALAMPUR, IN A GOOD TWO HOURS. THE ROAD FROM MANDI TO MANALI, ANOTHER 110 KM.

zeroed down on Manali.

rucksack. “I have put all my stuff and only one-fifth space has been taken!” This got us both excited. I stuffed another pair of shoes, an overcoat, a few mufflers, and caps. Let it be said, it was for the sake of fashion and not utility.

Praveen dusted his gigantic rucksack. It seemed big enough to carry half our home in it. The packing of our travel kit is always his responsibility, for the army does train its soldiers to pack well. Civilians like yours truly stuff things in suitcases and bags for the sake of transporting them from one place to another. In my humble opinion, packing does not have to be a work of art, a point on which the hubby disagrees. So, he came to me with the

The next morning we left. The highway from Jammu to Pathankot is a treat. Dotted with many dhabas, tea stalls, and little ‘know-me-not?’ towns, it offers a welcome respite from the twisty, turny roads of the mountains. On Pathankot bypass, near Mammun Cantt, we halted at Café Coffee Day. On a clear


STORIZEN TRAVEL

I have put all my stuff and only one-fifth space has been taken!

day, you can spot Pir Panjal range from where you sit. We had covered more than 100 km from Jammu in about an hour an half. Not bad. We had another 100 to go

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to reach Palampur, our first stopover. The road from Pathankot to Palampur is a nightmare. Potholes and patchy bits take the joy out of a bike ride. However, somewhere along the way, Dhaludhars run parallel to the road. The beauty of the towering mountains does take one’s mind off the road then.

The sun sets early in the hills. We reached Palampur at 1930 hrs. It was deathly chilly, disgustingly damp and strangely depressing. After a hearty meal at a dhaba in the middle of the town, we felt proud of our first day on the bike. The next morning we left Palampur at dawn. We reached Mandi, 107 km from Palampur, in a good two hours. The road from Mandi to Manali, another 110 JUNE 2018


STORIZEN TRAVEL

km away, turned out to be the best leg of the journey. Maybe it was because the whole stretch was extremely beautiful or because we were witnessing nature in its rawest form, so untouched with the greed of humanity. Maybe it was because we were much more relaxed. We will never know. The road turning on the back of mountains,

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the truck drivers who allowed you to overtake them so easily, the deepest light blue sky and the darkest green trees, the cleanest breaths of air, and the Beas that began accompanying us from Mandi traveled with us till Manali.

After crossing Kullu, we were a mere 45 km short of Manali. The snow-topped mountains peep every now and then. There are little villages with wooden houses characteristic to Kullu valley, handloom shawl shops and STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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little stalls with the rafting gear on the way. We reached Manali in the late afternoon. The next day was spent in exploring the town that offers not much to a seasoned traveler. The shops are either eating joints or Kashmir emporiums. The third day in Manali was a

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momentous day in our infantile married life. We were heading for Rohtang Pass, on our bike. On the way, our hands froze and toes became numb. There was snow everywhere. Thankfully, the road was cleared up. At Snow Point, 13 km short of Rohtang, the civilians are allowed to proceed for a staggering sum of

two to three thousand rupees per person. This is a nexus between the police and the locals. We crossed Snow Point. The road was like a kuccha Rasta. 5kms short of Rohtang and the bike got stuck in an iced depression. The road had a layer of ice and both of us were finding it

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STORIZEN TRAVEL

difficult to remain standing. It was scary. While hubby and I were digging through the ice with rough stones, mentally I was taking stock of the amount of food I was carrying. I realized that it was going to be a tough choice- either we will perish for the want of food, or it will be due to numbing cold. If during the day it was -3 degrees, we had slim chances of making it through the night. Help arrived in form of a jeep carrying people to Lahul-Spiti valley. Somehow we made it to Rohtang. The sight of mountains and clouds dwarfing under our height was worth the troubles. We sat down on the edge, had our meager brunch of chocolates, chips, biscuits and hot water. JUNE 2018

Parents on both sides were called and a few pictures clicked. Then we headed back to civilization. I wish I could say that Rohtang was a lifechanging moment for me. When you are sitting that high, without anyone around, you are supposed to realize the frivolity of this life and about its transience. You are supposed to feel humble. Rohtang for me was more of a reminder of the life I had chosen. Six months back I was unmarried, working for the world’s best company and always a happy, lone traveler. Now I was married, had someone to share my travels with and much happier. Rohtang was like the diving line between the past and the future.

Grab your copy now from Magzter @ Rs. 67 only!

Click below -

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On our way back to Manali, on the edge of a cliff, we ate Maggi, the staple celebration/comfort food of all those who were born in the 80s. Next day we started for Udhampur. We returned better acquainted with highways, sharper travelers, and most importantly intelligent packers. We realized we don’t have to stuff bags if there is space. That on bike trips less is more and that there will sometimes be arguments on what routes to take and where to stop for a meal. That it is all going to turn out alright in the end.

Pulkit Singh is a ninja, she kids you not. She is also the founder of BlueSunride, a platform for non-commercial writing. In her corporate avatar, she has worked with Magna Publishing and Google. She quit it all to find her way around words. Yep, she is still lost. She believes in the healing process of stories and canines. Between chasing after her dog and her two daughters, she finds the time to write. @blue_sunride @pulkits @pulkit.ae

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TRAVEL WHILE YOU ARE YOUNG


STORIZENTRAVEL

KOLKATA DIARIES by Aparna Mukherjee In this hectic life, you look for a serene place where you can get solace. At times, our mind clogs facing the irritation of weather and the daily chores which we do day in day out in our life. To rejuvenate and slow time down for a while, you feel like unwinding in a place where you can just be yourself. I am a working woman who have spent half of her age in Mumbai. My parents have just moved to Kolkata and I never visited Kolkata so far. This time, I made up mind to have a trip to

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Kolkata and see the city with my own eyes. I had taken a leave from work and I flown to the City Of Joy. It was 2012 when I first set my feet in the City of Joy, Kolkata. When I was traveling to Kolkata, I had in my mind to meet my parents. I needed a break from my work and so I thought to have a quality time with my parents and with the city. I never thought the city, Kolkata, will leave an indelible impression in my mind.

After a long time, when I met my parents, their joys were knew no bounds and so was mine. After staying for few days, I was thinking to go out and explore the city. Parents had to attend a social event. So, I could not tell them to join me. I was new to the city, hence, could not gather courage to explore the city all by myself. Undoubtedly, Kolkata has breathtaking travel spots. But, I was looking for a place where there will be less or no crowd at all. I wanted to be in

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a place where I could spend a memorable time with nature. I took a hand-pulled rickshaw and was traveling to a nearby market. On the way, I happened to see the river Ganges. The soothing sight of the river Ganga pleased my mind. I halted the rickshaw near the bank of Ganga river. It was around 10 am when I started walking on the sidewalk which was on the bank of the river. The river was surrounded by lush greenery. I found a bench to sit. The view of the river Ganges was inexplicable. As it was a working day, there were no people around in the river

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bank; except a vendor who was carrying a basket of guavas on his head. I bought some fresh guavas from the vendor. The cool breeze, the hovering clouds and swaying leaves of trees made the view of river Ganges more beautiful.

From distant, I could see many manual-oared boats sailing on the river. There was a boat sailing afar which was filled with passengers. I could hear the temple bells which were ringing on end from a nearby temple. The sounds of the bells were pacifying my ears.


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On seeing the boats afar, I felt the urge of having a boat ride. As a boat approached the ghat, I stepped into the boat. It was afternoon when I started enjoying the boat ride and the views adjacent to the ghat. As the boat was moving ahead in the water, I realized a serenity all around me. Only I could hear now was the slapping of the oars on the water rowed by the boatman. With his paan-stained teeth, the boatman was humming a Bengali song. There was a peace in his countenance. I could feel he was a peaceful man with his meagre income.

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He has no demands from life. He was satisfied with what he got from life. With constant rowing, his arms and shoulders were feeling tired. But, he did not show his tiredness to the travellers. The only reward he wishes is to see his travellers enjoy the boat ride. Unknowingly,this boatman had become a source of inspiration in my life. The sounds of temple bells started fading away as the boat was rowing ahead. My stomach started growling and I grabbed a fresh guava from my handbag. As I was indulging in the taste of the fruit, my eyes caught sight of an old man a bit far away from the bank of river

who was on his fishing hunt. There were some other fishermen who had smiles on their faces. It seems that they captured a huge number of fish that day. I thought how some people can be so happy without expecting much from their life. I got lost of time as I was immersed in the beauties of the bank of river Ganges. It was time to head back to the ghat where I was sitting in the morning. The evening view was enchanting. The sky had changed its color. The orange hue filled the sky. I could once again hear the bells of the temples. It was time for evening prayer. JUNE 2018


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Some pilgrims came for their holy bath. The roaring sound of "Har Har Gange" filled my ears. I paid money to the boatman and I thanked him for giving a pleasurable boatride. As I got off the boat, I turned around to see the mesmerizing view of the setting sun in the bank of river Ganges. That night, I felt a tinge of peace in my heart. I realized that one does not need to spend bucks on expensive tours. A simple place in your locality can give you the ultimate pleasure of travel. The bewitching travel of river Ganges has truly given me the ultimate pleasure travel I was looking for. JUNE 2018

Aparna defines herself as 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 a blogger and writer who writes informative articles for UK and US blogs and websites. She has been a contributing author in the anthology "Memoirs of Love". As a person, she is open-minded, down-to-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.

@mukharji.appy18

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PAGE 13 STORIZEN TRAVEL

Changing the Life's Perspective! by Anshul Kumar Akhoury

W

est Bengal is a magical place to travel. The amount of culture, music and scenery here is so diverse that it gives some of the mainstream travel destinations a run for their money. When I traveled to West Bengal,

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it was mostly because I wanted to see Darjeeling and nearby hill stations. Little did I know that below the hills, there is a whole world that is just hidden in the plain sight? Katihar is 4 hours away from New Jalpaiguri.

As a station, Katihar is considered as the gateway to North East because once you cross this place and leave Bihar’s border, the scenery changes and so does the weather. Dry lands of Bihar are replaced by green tea JUNE 2018


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gardens. Soon clouds take over every scene and your train is no more on plains but inside a jungle and on a very slow speed because you can now in the famous elephant corridor. Jalpaiguri Station is the part of Siliguri town. Buses, taxis and shared jeeps to Darjeeling, Kalimpong and even Shillong are easily available from here. I got down at station and a shared jeep for Darjeeling was waiting for the last few passengers. I got inside, got a cramped seat with zero space to adjust my legroom. Soon the jeep started moving through the tea gardens of North East India. In 2 hours I was standing at the Mall Road of Darjeeling.

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An impromptu trip to Ghoom Between the time your train drops you at NJP station and the time you reach Darjeeling, you should be tired enough to retire and sleep in your hotel’s bed. But I wanted to make the best out of my trip. It was two in the afternoon and my hotel staff told me that the toy train will be leaving soon. The weather is perfect for a trip to Ghoom. I ran from my hotel, crossed a couple of intersections and reached the stations, lucky for me that the ticket counter was not crowded and the train was still on the station, just ready to leave. The trains leaves the station and leaves the busy markets of

Darjeeling behind. The toy trains are a unique heritage property and are under the list of UNSECO’s list of protected monuments. On a slow pace, the train passes through many villages between Darjeeling and Ghoom. The unique, gorgeous sights from the empty pathways and valleys are worth the slow speed of the train. After some 45 minutes, the train stops at Ghoom. A small trisection of train tracks is where you are left and train moves further. Earlier the train used to go till New Jalpaiguri but after an earthquake, the operations stopped. After spending time in Ghoom and visiting the enchanting Ghoom Monastery, I returned to

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Darjeeling on a shared jeep. I had one more wonder to experience.

The tea bars of Darjeeling The abundance of tea gardens around Darjeeling has given birth to a unique concept. Instead of cafes, you’ll find tea bars in abundance. These tea bars have different teas (mostly without milk) and light snacks to accompany 48

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them. Since most of them are located on the Mall Road, it is easy to visit and enjoy some tea with great views from the outside. The first tea bar that I waked into a small but fancy establishment, ran by an elderly couple. Apparently, this was one of the first tea parlours in the town and had a huge selection of tea samples. You don’t only get to taste different varieties of tea but you can also pack and take

some of them home. I sipped on a heavenly cup of Darjeeling tea while watching kids and lovelorn couples taking horse ride at Chowrasta Mall. It was evening, the weather sounded as if it will rain sooner or later. I left for my hotel.

An adventure in Mirik Travellers who come to Darjeeling, take a day trip to Mirik. Shared jeep leave at every 15 minutes that take you all the way to this beautiful JUNE 2018


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town. I woke up next morning and took a jeep that dropped me all the way to this lovely British Town. Mirik is a small village with a lake in the centre. This lake is the point of all the tourist activities that ranges from boating and horse rides. But, if you walk past this lake, you’ll get to explore the beautiful town with many colonial style houses still being

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used. Some of them are converted into heritage properties and stay homes to host their guests. The trains leaves the station and leaves the busy markets off.

Sleepless at Tiger Hill Tiger Hill is a famous spot in Darjeeling that offers the majestic views of sunrise behind the mighty Kanchenjungha Peak.

You have to wake up at 4 am to visit this place otherwise you’ll miss the sunrise. You have to book a taxi in advance. The drive is so obedient that he’ll come outside your hotel at 4 am and will start calling until you answer. He won’t leave and even if you don’t show up, he doesn’t have any problem. He has taken his payment in advance. It is all fine for him.

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So you reach Tiger Hill at 5 am, enjoy the coldest breeze you’d ever experience in your life and that too with so many people that you’ll stop feeling special for waking up this early to see the sunrise. When I went there, it was so cloudy that forget the sunrise, I couldn’t even see whatever Tiger Hills was. Walking between the foggy pathway was an amazing feeling but I kinda felt disappointed that I didn’t get to see the sunrise for which I had to leave my warm, cozy bed. After returning from Tiger Hill, I left for a small town call Tinchuley, a British cantonment that was in the middle of nowhere. I left the hillocks of West Bengal while it drizzled everywhere. As the jeep moved on the misty 50

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roads, I wondered, if I’ll get a chance to return to these beautiful mountains ever again.

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Anshul has spent more than five years traveling across India, observing the many culture and writing about it. He believes that the true essence of India lies in the festivals and at places that don’t exist on maps. Apart from traveling, Anshul often volunteers with NGOs that take care of ecological preservation and protection. He has spent months working in Dharamshala as a part of Waste Warriors and cleaning mountain trails in the town. @untamed_bachelor

https://dailypassengerr.com/

JUNE 2018


TRAVEL IS NEVER A MATTER OF MONEY, BUT OF COURAGE. T.S. ELLIOT


STORIZEN TRAVEL

Travel is a  PART of life!

A

by Parth Lakhani

s a kid, I believed that moon is following me or is traveling with me. It was always a game for me to find moon after every turn that dad took while driving. I seating on a small seat in front of dad in his Bajaj Super. Those were the most adventures and memorable rides. While wind blowing across my face, my hands on the handle besides dads hand, it felt like I am the one who is navigating. Pressing that horn button as someone comes in front of us comes so naturally to me. Around the same time, I used to

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stay in big, lively joint family, where I was the youngest. So, I had many people around me to pick up some habits. My cousins were in their teens or in the early twenties at that time. So, they were superb. I remember they took a swing around Panchmari a hill station in MP. I never went there with them but saw some of their picture’s and heard their stories. Their stories of clouds going nearby them and how beautiful it looked from the top blew my mind and even before I could perceive, it was on my bucket list. Growing up I got stuck in my routine of school and tuitions were the only getaway was a school picnic. These were the trips which broke many figments for me over the period of time. In school, teachers and professor whom I have identified as real-life villains of my life at one point in time were now out there, encouraging each and every student too let loose and enjoy a bit. “Play, run, shout do whatever it takes because tomorrow we’ll be the same JUNE 2018

Learning out of it was, “one should not judge anyone by his work or one should not typecast anyone." STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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teachers, who will ask for homework and punishes you. That’s our job. That’s what we are meant to do”. He explained and further added, “On the other side you are supposed to not understand and be mischievous because that’s your age and you will act accordingly.” His word and those outings with faculty were like a new chapter to me. Learning out of it was, “one should not judge

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anyone by his work or one should not typecast anyone." Sometimes people do what they are meant to do, what they are assigned to do. Their work doesn’t define them. Every time I traveled with my buds and teachers, I feel how much I would have missed learning if I missed this school trips.

Best time for traveling is when one is in his teens. In teens we have perfect amount of inquisitiveness to know more, to explore, and to try new things. Entering college gave me some amount of freedom; I got the chance to spread my wings to exercise my freedom. First trip that I took had an overnight camping. Staying up late gazing starlit sky was one of the best JUNE 2018


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things I had ever seen. I didn’t knew this was just a start, after that I again signed up for trekking, this time it was Panchmari. Till date its one of the most valued trip for me as it gave me so much. It taught me how to save my resources when I am trekking in wild or working in office. It taught me if I have to keep up the lead from others, I have to put my head down and work towards it. But, at a same time it taught me if I need to go far in wild, I have to be with people who care for me. They will make journey joyous and memorable even in wild. Similarly in life, if I have short terms goals I have to work my ass off to get things done quickly. No need of fooling around but if I want to work on long-term plans then I JUNE 2018

work. It was great time, wide open road, lush green farms on both the sides. Everything was perfect till a tragedy struck in. My car had a lil Most important things of life are learned while break down so, I called traveling and that too in for road assist, they came most simple ways, one after one and a half hour. All the while I was just needs to observe and understand it. Like, thinking, I should sell this car out and buy a new I had this road trip all one as it would be less alone for some official need to be part of a champion team who has each other’s back guarded.

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on maintenance. I started googling different cars and in between came the mechanic informing me it’s fixed and ready to cruise ahead. I told him it has become a recurring problem and I am planning to discard it. He smiled at me and said, “Sir, it was a little breakdown and that’s because you didn’t keep a tab on few things as you might be busy. Just keep a check on few things, other than that this one is ready to go for many miles.” Felt short on words after his services and dose of wisdom on commitment. I recommence my ride, all the way thinking how careless one becomes and start taking every relation for granted, not realizing that if things are taken care or checked on time, some breakdowns won’t happen and some situations wouldn’t arise. 56

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Today in our day to day life, travel is very important. Be it in car, plane or rail. What’s important is that one keeps moving, keep experiencing different things. Man learns more from his own adventures and mistakes than from the stories. Life is not meant to live in one place; if that be the case there won’t be an ecological cycle present. Experiencing a different culture, places, and geological difference helps us grow in an altogether different person who is more accomplished and has more understanding. It’s definitely important in life to have a well-

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qualified degree and stability. So, you can fall back on something and call someplace home. But, it’s also important to get out of our comfort zone and get going to an unexplored path of a surprise to fill the center wall of your home. Traveling is a drug which one should get addicted to and as far as I am concern I am already high on it.

Parth Lakhani writes romantic comedy, short stories, and first-hand life experiences. His writing has a perfect blend of soul and quirkiness. His style of storytelling will make things relatable and will take you to a bittersweet ride in the lane of nostalgia. Marketing professional turned entrepreneur, a passionate writer. A travel enthusiast and once in a week poet. He is often seen penning down his thoughts and shorts stories on his word press blog. Just type, “Parth Lakhani at WordPress” on Google, to see his work. Foodie by heart and fitness conscious, he’s lazy enough to not take any of them seriously. @dream_chaser16 @parth_lakhani https://parthlakhani.wordpress.com/

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STORIZEN INDULGE

AUTHOR'S JOURNEY

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AUTHOR'S JOURNEY Describing my journey as a writer is difficult and easy. Difficult because I do not know where to start and easy because I simply love talking about it! But seriously, I have actually tried hard to ask myself that question. I guess I always had a creative skew as far as writing was concerned, since my schooling days. As introverted and aloof as I was, I loved participating in Elocutions and Creative Writing Contests. I remember one of my essays in school exam got JUNE 2018

"Had I not felt vulnerable and lonely, I probably would have never started writing. While I meditated a lot to calm down my soul, I met myself." selected to be published straight into the school magazine and it was one of my proudest moments. That was probably where the seed of the dream to write was implanted. But as they say, life intervened. I got involved in trying to shape up a conventional career for myself. I did my Graduation in Commerce and went on to do Chartered Accountancy. I also acquired a degree in Law. Somewhere along the line, writing

fell by the wayside. But I used to write sporadically. It started off as poems and four liners in Hindi and English. I loved the idea of conveying a thought or an emotion in just four lines. But as I said it was intermittent and unstructured. But at the same time, I also realized I was completely myself when words flowed out of my pen (or as the case is now - from mobile phone touchscreen or keyboard :-). The idea of a book and stories

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AUTHOR'S JOURNEY had started to germinate but somehow I couldn’t ensure that it was given an opportunity to perpetuate. As I started to realize the occurrences in and around me, awareness dawned. The writing was a release. It allowed me a platform. It allowed me to present my emotions which I otherwise found hard to exhibit. I am usually critical and honest with myself whenever I do a task or engage in an activity, but when it 60

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came to writing I thought I probably did a decent job. If only I could hone it and structure it better! My stories will always resonate the social fabric and human persona and character, just the way I see it. Ironically fiction and reality intermingle at times and I loved that idea. Gradually I started looking for public writing platforms and took to reading extensively. I read a lot during my spare time. That’s not

only a passion it is also education in itself. And I always do well to remember that writing is a constant process where you learn as you keep at it. Reading and writing are subsets of each other. I don’t think we can look at them in isolation. An endeavor to always improve is a must as is the case with most aspects of life. I am happy with the way my first book ‘Different Beads of the Same String’ has shaped up but I am not satisfied. I hope to plug all the holes that I have identified and JUNE 2018


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AUTHOR'S JOURNEY hopefully, my second book gives me a similar satisfaction. So to conclude, there is no concrete answer to when my journey started but this is what the journey is all about. But I do hope it continues. I guess it will keep me going for everything that comes my way - this intriguing journey of being a writer. (As told by the author)

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Chartered Accountancy, a degree in Law and a degree in Commerce later, Sujay discovered (or rediscovered) the little writing bug entrenched within him. He comes from a family of legal professionals and his extreme passion for writing made him the winner of MyStory Contest of Tata Literature Live, The Mumbai Litfest 2017. A resident of Mumbai, Sujay enjoys reading, playing table-tennis, taking long walks and listening to music. ‘Different Beads of the Same String’ is his first book. @sujaymalik

@DifferentBeadsOfTheSameString

@sujaymalik

http://www.sujaymalik.com

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STORIZENÂ INTERVIEW

Author Interview by SanaAnuradha Shekh Prasad Author


STORIZEN INTERVIEW

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

What really inspired you to write this story?

I just remember writing from my childhood. So I guess, I was always writing. Yes, to write a book I decided 4 years back.

Writing I guess is an addiction. At least it is for me. It’s like playing, running, swimming or gambling or taking drugs. Just kidding. But in a good way, it gives me a all time high. Writing in itself for me is inspiration. I get inspired through writing. Though the other way round happens sometimes. I feel inspired about something then write about it. But it is almost always the previous.

Tell me something about your first book. My first book is all about sudden chances that life throws at you. It’s about discovering a hidden talent by fluke. It’s about getting inspired and following your dreams.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEWS How was your overall experience of becoming a published author. My experience was pretty smooth. Do you think in the age of digitalisation the physical books are losing their importance over kindle ? The pleasure of reading a real book,nobody can take it away from the people. Personally I feel real books were there for a long time and they will for a long time to come. Though Kindle happens a lot,real books are real. STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

They are a part of real people who want a real experience. It will take a long,long time for the digital books to supersede the real ones.

Anuradha Prasad with her book 'Coming Back Home'

What do you think about the future of Indian writing ? Indian writing is happening big time. It’s the time of Renaissance for Indian publishing industry and for Indian writers. A great time that will lead to a great future .

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STORIZENÂ INTERVIEW

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

Tell us about your upcoming ventures. I am working on my fourth book. Doing a bit of study and also I am renewing my sketching abilities. Planning to compile into a book .

Sana Shekh is a young and dynamic writer who is currently pursuing MASTERS OF CYBER LAW AND INFORMATION SECURITY from NLIU, Bhopal. Being born and brought up in Bhopal, she has always been close to nature. With an anthology to her credit, she likes to review books in her leisure time. As a person who enjoys reading, writing and interacting with people, she is passionate about writing about different emotions and aspects of life. @heartbeats.in.ink

@heartbeats.in.ink

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Photo: Dr. Ketaki Patwardhan


STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE

Anamika

PART 3

by Dr. Ketaki Patwardhan Why was she twotiming us? Either be with him, or with me. That's it. I was going to make it very clear today. But as she came nearer, my resolve began to dissolve. She looked ravishing in the purple and sky blue dress that was skin hugging and accentuated her figure. Her hair was loosely tied behind in a more clutch and bounced up and down as she walked towards me with a dimpled smile on her face. I suddenly realized I had been staring at her with my mouth open. I quickly closed my mouth and muttered a weak hello.

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“Looks like you have been busy today”, she said. “Yes, somewhat,”I said. “What will you have?” she asked. “Is this a treat?” “Well, if you want one”, she said, a mischievous grin on her face. I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks, reddening and warming them. Was I blushing? “Do you have a reason to give a treat?” I patted myself for my intelligent question. “Yes, there sure is” I felt my cheeks lose their color. “Won't you ask what it is?” she asked when

I didn't ask the expected question. “Yes yes, of course, I want to know,” I said, bracing myself for what was to come next. She would tell me that she is going around with Mr nasty and then I would have to play the ‘good friend’ by congratulating her and acting that I was happy for her. Then she would ask me to be the best man for their wedding. I had always been the good friend to girls who got engaged to someone else after I had been with them through their bad times, taking them out for dinner to change their mood or giving my shoulder for them to cry on. I had had STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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PART 3 enough of being the perennial good friend. “Hello, Mr.Daydreamer. Back to earth,” she was waving her hand in front of me. I came out of my reverie. “Didn't you hear what I said?” she asked, still not sure whether or not I was with her. “Sorry, I was...just lost. What did you say?” “They have hired me as a permanent employee,” she said happily. “Initially I had been hired as a temp to fill in for somebody but that person resigned today, so I am going to be here for a long time,” she beamed. I couldn't believe this. 68

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So this was not about Mr. Nasty. I was so relieved, before thinking I just got up and hugged her. To my utter surprise, she too hugged me back. But she released me soon, even before I started to count the seconds we were in each other's embrace because that was how I would have to report to Varun later on. “Congratulations! I am so happy for you,”I said. She really had no idea how happy I was. “Thank you. Now you tell me, what's with all this grumpy and don'tdisturb-me mood since morning?” she asked.

So she had noticed. Should I tell her? No, it would spoil our moment. “Nothing, just homesick”. Wait! Now, where did that come from? I do miss home but I didn't want to be portrayed as an emotionally weak person in front of this girl. But before I could correct myself, she exclaimed: “that's cute”. Cute? As in a puppy? Why do girls use such adjectives? Wait, I know when they use such adjectives. When they like a guy as a friend but are not attracted to him. That's when they call him “cute”.

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PART 3 So again my mood dipped down in a spiral. “You find me cute?”I asked, to confirm what I had just heard. “No, not you,” she said and laughed. Girls! If there is no third person here, and she didn't say that for me, then what did she mean?? My confusion must have been evident on my face because she clarified immediately. “You accepting and confessing that you were homesick, that is cute. Guys generally don't do that” What was she, Ph.D. on guys behavior? Anyways, I was glad that I was not cute. We ordered 2 Latte and chatted on JUNE 2018

different topics as we drank them. She was easy to talk to and had knowledge of lots of things. Her interesting anecdotes impressed me and I found myself enjoying her company. She told me she occasionally wrote a blog titled ‘the word charmer’ and I promised to check it out. Back at my cubicle, I ignored Varun who was whistling to the tune of ‘Aajkal tere mere pyar ke charche’. But of course, I couldn't put off telling Varun everything forever. So that evening we hit our usual pub for a couple of drinks and some blatant confessions. Over cans of chilled

beer and some interesting chicken rolls, I told him everything, right from the first time I saw her. Varun was amused at the way I had pursued the girl. According to him, it was very unlike me, and so she must be really special. “But what about Mr. Nasty?”I asked him. “Looks like he is the villain not just in my work life but my love life as well”. “Don't make assumptions, maybe he is just being nice to her or maybe they are friends from before”, Varun suggested. Varun makes sense only when he is drunk. So he must be right. “She considers me a good friend I guess, STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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PART 3 nothing more”, I said, as the beer gave me an insight into my world. “Don't rush things, see how and where it goes. Meanwhile, we will find out what Mr. Nasty is up to”, Varun said. As I lay in bed that night, I thought of texting her. She had taken my number on the first day when I was showing her around. I grabbed my mobile and before I could open WhatsApp, I received a message from her. “Hey” “Hi” I replied, settling back on my pillow to make myself comfortable for a late night chat.

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But what she typed next blew me over. “How did you have my number from before we met at the office? I just saw a message from you from Sunday night,” she said. Oh shit! I was trapped! I had totally forgotten I had sent her a message that night. Now she would know what a lecherous creep I had been. Now she would know I had been stalking her. I didn't know what to say. Should I tell her I was in the US and I had actually sent that message next day? How absurd! What do I do now? She was online, waiting for an answer. I switched off

WhatsApp and called Varun. He woke up from a deep sleep. “Whozzit,” he said, his voice heavy with post alcohol slumber. “Varun, wake up. It's me. There's a problem” It took two minutes for him to probably sit up and get oriented to time, place and person. “What happened?” he asked finally. I explained the situation in short. “What do I do now? How do I explain this to her without sounding like a pervert?”I asked, desperation and anxiety echoing through my voice. “Relax. Tell her you

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PART 3 had seen her application for the job and taken her number to acquaint yourself with her. You can say maybe you found her photo attractive. That would sound less creepy than what you actually did”. Oh! It was so simple! Why didn't I think of this? Varun was a genius. He always had a solution for such situations. “Thanks, bro, I would have kissed you if you were here”, I said, elated. “Thank God I am not there”, he mumbled before returning to his pre phone state. I went back to WhatsApp and typed what Varun had told me. Anamika bought it JUNE 2018

without any suspicion and I heaved a sigh of relief. Anamika’s arrival into my office changed my outlook completely. Now I looked forward to going to the office, worked longer hours, even worked holidays. Mr. Nasty was probably impressed by my sudden attack of workaholism though he seemed unaware of the inspiration behind it. Days passed and I and Anamika became thick friends. I always wondered if she was that type of girl...well, basically, there are two types of girls. One, who see through our façade and know our intentions very well,

yet fake ignorance, and two, who do not see through us at all. Because basically, boys are of only one type, with the same intention in mind. Anyways, I was not sure whether she realized why I was so attentive, kind and generous around her (which I am but not to the extent I portrayed), or was naïve enough to believe I was the same with everyone.

I still didn't know what the deal was with Mr. Nasty, but it annoyed me to no end whenever I saw Anamika chatting with him over a cup of coffee in the cafeteria or coming out of his office at odd times. I didn't want to come STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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PART 3 across as nagging, jealous, possessive or even needy (hell I was not even her official boyfriend), but I had to ask her. But as usual, whenever I plan something meticulously, something else happens. I had practiced how I was going to broach the topic with her, in front of the mirror, to see if my face gave away my emotions. I had never done such preparation ever, not even for my interviews. But that day I spent half an hour in the morning, looking in the mirror, clearing my throat, asking the question, restricting the rise in my eyebrows and the 72

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tickle in my jaw. As I went to the office fully prepared, I saw cubicle no. 12 empty. That was unusual. Anamika generally came before me. Disappointed, I waited. I couldn't concentrate on my work that day. I had a presentation that afternoon and I was failing miserably while trying to revise what I was going to speak. She didn't come by lunchtime, which told me she was probably not going to turn up at all. At lunchtime, I messaged her. Where are you? Didn't see you @office 2day.

I am at Samata hospital, admitted with a fractured ankle :-( What? How? I texted back, shocked. No one here was aware of it, okay, probably no one except Mr. Nasty. Had gone to marine drive yesterday. Slipped on the pavement. Ohh..take care..will be there once free from here Hey, it's okay, no need... Don't worry it's ok, c u soon I just counted the hours till I could leave the office. I went

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PART 3 through the presentation as if on autopilot. I was out of the office doors at the stroke of 5, only to see the rear tire of my car flat. Shit! I exclaimed loudly. “Problem?”I turned around to see that Mr. Nasty had seen my outbreak of frustration. Flustered, I tried to keep anxiety at bay. “I urgently needed to be somewhere but have a flat tire”. He eyed me suspiciously, and then at my car. “I can drop you if you wish to. Where do you want to go?” he asked, to my surprise. “No, it's fine, I will take a cab,” the over smart me replied. JUNE 2018

“Okay”, he shrugged and began walking towards his car. What had I been thinking? I wasn't his girlfriend that he would insist on going with him! “Wait,”I called out, running after him, “Actually I need to be somewhere...urgent,” I said. Mr. Nasty looked at me, eyebrows raised in...surprise? Mockery? I am not sure. “Okay, where should I drop you then?” he asked. “Samata hospital”, I replied and watched, as expected, as his expressions changed. “Anamika?” he asked after eyeing me suspiciously for an uncomfortably long time, brows furrowed together.

“Yes”, I replied. We got in the car. This was the first time I was sitting next to my boss. I felt a devilish pleasure with him acting as my driver today. I tried to make unsuccessful small talk, the attempts to which got aborted after a few curt replies. We both got down at the hospital. I wondered if he was already planning to come here or he made the plans after learning that I was visiting her. I mentally slapped myself. I had just lost the chance of earning some brownie points over him, by being the first one to visit her. He led the way and

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PART 3 walked confidently through the hospital to the first floor which housed the special rooms, making me wonder if this was not his first visit after all, and that he had already won all the brownie points I had been coveting for. Feeling disappointed, I just followed him. Anamika sat on the hospital bed, watching a small TV in front of her, a monitor attached to her finger shouting beep beep and her right foot in a plaster. She looked at both of us simultaneously, and her gaze fixed on him first as she gave him a wide smile. 74

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I felt a pang of jealousy. I was fighting a losing battle. To my further dismay, Mr. Nasty approached her and kissed her forehead. “How is your leg now?” he asked. And as I stood there, wondering if she had even noticed me and if she should leave, I heard the incredible words I had never expected her to say. “It's better Bro” Bro??? He was her brother??????? I could have danced with joy then and there. I was probably doing a mental merry jig when I realized both were staring at me. Did I

really dance now? “I said hello, daydreamer”, Anamika said and smiled. “How are you now?”I asked her. “ I am good, better than yesterday” she smiled that cute dimpled smile. I was aware of Mr. Nasty’s gaze fixed on me, which prevented my face from showing any exaggerated reaction. Then came an awkward moment where both of them were staring at me while I was alternating between looking at either of them. Finally Mr. Nasty cleared his throat. “I will have a word with the doc”.

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PART 3 He gave me a small nod and left. Was that a nod of approval? Or was I imagining it? Once he was gone, I heaved a sigh of relief and went to sit on the chair next to her bed. “See? My bro is not really that rude”, she said, with a wicked smile. “I...I had no idea he was your brother..”I said sheepishly, feeling foolish. She laughed heartily. “And he likes you,” she added. “Oh, I thought you liked me”I replied. And we both laughed together. We chatted for sometime and as usual, laughed our hearts out.

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Mr. Nasty returned from his fake doc visit, and I had to leave as he offered to drop me till the nearest bus stop. That night, I went to google chrome and searched ‘word charmer by Anamika’ in the google search. A website popped up immediately. It was the blog she had mentioned, and I was now really curious to read what she wrote. I scrolled the page. There were many blogs on different dates. I just scanned the headings. She had written on really diverse topics. Some were personal like one was about her solo trip to New Zealand,

another was about her school and the nostalgia she experienced at the reunion with her school friends. One was about the organic plants her mom grew in the terrace garden of the home she grew up in, while one more was about yoga and how she began practicing it and finding solace in it. One was about the different poems she had read since childhood that had left a deep impact on her. There was one titled ‘Shakespeare’. Curious, I opened the page and began reading. She had written in detail about how she started reading the classics written by

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PART 3 Shakespeare, how she had to sit with a dictionary initially and found them hard to read, and how gradually she began enjoying reading them, to the point of getting addicted. She was smitten by his word prowess and bowled over by his quotes. She had quoted a few, which after reading, seemed to me like I was reading Latin or French, but were essentially English. Being a poor reader myself, my respect for her increased tenfold. Curious, I opened another google page and searched for Shakespeare's quotes with an explanation. 76

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Just then my mobile vibrated. It was a message from Anamika. Thanks for visiting me today. Felt really good. I was about to reply when I had an idea. I scanned the page I had just opened. There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. I waited to see if she recognized this ‘Shakespearean quote’ After a few moments delay, she replied Whoa! Looks like someone has been through my blog. Well done.

So she was sincere in what she wrote. I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks and ever thanks It took me no time to guess that this was another one of Shakespeare's quotes. When words fail, music speaks, I quoted Shakespeare again. The earth has music for those who listen. Whoa! I was impressed. She was quoting Shakespeare off- hand while I was struggling to keep up with my copy-pasting. If music is the food of love, play on, I wrote.

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PART 3 Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind, came her reply.

I again scrolled the google page for a perfect reply.

I was stunned for a moment. Did she imply what I was thinking she did?

I love thee, I love but thee With a love that shall not die Till the sun grows cold and the stars grow old

Gathering courage, I typed the following quote of Shakespeare When I saw you, I fell in love And you smiled because you knew I waited for her reply with baited breath. Then let thy love be younger than thyself, or thy affection cannot hold the bent.

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I waited as she typed. What if it's not in our destiny? It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but ourselves, I replied with another of his quotes. Will our families agree? Will my bro agree? She asked.

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PART 3 The course of true love never did run smooth, I wrote. Wow...looks like I can't take Shakespeare out of you, she wrote. I could visualize the smile on her lips.

I wrote, meaning every word of Shakespeare.

Dr.Ketaki Patwardhan Nirkhi is an anesthetist by profession and writer by passion. She is the proud author of three novels, ‘Those enchanted four and half years’, a love story in the backdrop of the medical college, and ‘The missing connection' and ‘Hello stranger’, both psychological suspense thrillers. She has multiple short stories to her credit, five of which have found their way into various paperback anthologies. She loves to write a mystery, suspense and twist in the tale kind of stories that keep readers biting their nails till the end.

I waited, anxiously, before typing, So, what's your answer??

She utilizes her medical know-how into weaving intriguing scenarios with the perfect recipes for a thriller.

I would not wish any companion in the world but you came to her Shakespearean reply.

She writes a blog titled wordcharmerblog when she’s not putting her patients to sleep. She stays in Thane with her anesthetist husband and cute little daughter.

Doubt thou the stars are fire Doubt that the sun doth move Doubt truth to be a liar But never doubt I love

(ketaki_p18@yahoo.co.in) 78

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How to create miracles in our daily lives by Oswald Pereira

a practitioner of Buddhist Being philosophy, I could very well relate to this book. The title itself “How to create miracles in our daily life” narrates everything. It is true with smile on our face and positive attitude we can create miracles in our life. Instead of running away from problems, one should face the realities of life and tackle the situation with wisdom and courage. Author had very well discussed the daily issues and how to tackle the situations with positivity and cleverness. There was an incidence of the

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BOOK REVIEW

by Himani Gupta

relationship between Mother-inlaw and daughter in law which was very well explained by the author. As a reader, I could relate with it. These are small incidence whether with in-laws or with husband or wife, through our wisdom we can have a beautiful relationship with everyone and have a successful married life. There was one chapter which really motivated me “The law of attraction”. It is well written and true to an extent. Our life is based on cause and effect. What causes we have created in the past we will have to bear it’s effect in this lifetime and through prayers and positivity we can cut all the bad causes of the past in this lifetime. There was one quote in the book which really encouraged me “Don’t give up, for tomorrow is another day-and eventually the sun does shine again. And even if the rain soaks the sun in the dark showers, flashes of lightning will light up


Book Review the sky for a while”. Those who want to give away their life because of problems or are going through depression must read this quote daily. It is very motivational. One should always have a smile on their face and be positive despite of the problems in their life. Sun of light will surely shine in their life after darkness. The cover of the book is very pleasing to the eyes, perfectly suited with the story. Every chapter is so motivated that you feel like reading again and again. All these things we know, but still we feel that miracles happen suddenly. As a reader, I would recommend this book to everyone. One should keep this book in your library and read it whenever they feel low. This book will surely boost their life with positivity. A complete page turner. All the best Author and keep writing and encourage us.

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About the Book How to Create Miracles in Our Daily Life is a first-of-its-kind collection of essays by spiritual gurus and thought leaders on the themes of Love, Life, Living, Giving, Forgiveness, Faith, Compassion, Happiness, Bliss, Peace, Positivism, Karma and God and Us. Written in simple, crisp language, the tenor of the essays is positive and uplifting; the spiritual teachings are nondidactic and have been demystified. The book has an abundance of tips on practical spirituality that will help readers in day-to-day living.

About the Author Oswald Pereira, a veteran journalist with more than 30 years’ experience, is the author of the popular novels, The Newsroom Mafia, Chaddi Buddies, Revenge of the Naked Princess, The Krishna-Christ Connexon, Army Girl Steals Civilian’s Heart and Golmaal in Goa. How to Create Miracles in Our Daily Life is his first non-fiction book. He writes for The JUNE 2018


Book Review Speaking Tree column in The Times of India and his spiritual articles have appeared in four Speaking Tree anthologies.

Summary: Book: How to Create Miracles in Our Daily Life Author: Oswald Pereira Verdict: ☆☆☆☆☆ A Non-Fiction motivational book that will boost positivity in your life. A mustread book for all those who believe that miracles can only happen if we are lucky.

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In her own words: I am Himani Gupta, By profession, I am an HR Manager working in Bengaluru. Reading is my hobby which led me to write reviews for my readers. I have read and reviewed numerous books so far. Rohit is my favorite writer as far as writing is concerned and I wait for his books to read. If you wish to get your book reviewed, do feel free to contact me. @himanigoyal21

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Metamorphosis

BOOK REVIEW

by Franz Kafka

by Swapna Peri

G regor Samsa, the protagonist, works hard to run his family comprising of his parents and sister. He works as a travelling salesman to pay off his father's debt. He hates his job very much but compromises himself and tries to keep his family happy. One day he wakes up and realizes that somehow he's turned into a bug in while he is asleep. Initially he refuses to believe but as every minute passes he worries how will he go to his office and how will his boss react for being late. As he realizes that indeed he has 82

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turned into a bug and cannot control his own body. On the other side he feels scared of being late to the work and what would his family think about his new self. Still inside the room, he hears his parents knocking the door asking him to come out as he's getting late. Gregor panics, but refuses to open the door until he is threatened. Once he comes out of the room, everyone are frightened and run away from him in fear. Gregor tries to chase his boss, but all goes in vain. He thinks his family will understand his situation. But no one accepts him. JUNE 2018


STORIZEN REVIEW

This book is a good reminder of the inherent nature of human beings, how we treat an asset and how our behaviour changes when the asset is no longer an asset but a mere liability. It’s a sad story. The exact portrayal of how some people behave when you cease to be useful to them is explained in a magical realism way. Gregor’s character seems like a symbol of people, who do a lot for others including one's own family. Such people are appreciated only till others get what they want.

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Once a person like Gregor stops being useful to people around the, then they start showing their true colors. Sometimes the nicer we behave, the more people around disrespect us and let us down. This one sentence explains why Gregor ended up dead.

Narration The narration start with third person and as it continues, a kind of disconnection between the reader and the story is observed. But, the story telling is engaging.

Characters All the characters are plotted with ample importance. The traits of each character is also very well explained.

Language and Grammar A simple writing style with lucid language can be observed. No rich vocabulary is used. For these kind of dark genre stories, more decorative language will interest the reader.

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Besides being transformed into a huge bug, he changes in other ways as the story progresses. When he's first transformed, he had hope that he would be changed back to his human form and be able to go back to work and help his parents pay off their debts, even though he wants to quit his job as a traveling salesman. Unfortunately, he loses all sense of hope and falls into a deep depression and eventually thinks that he should disappear.


STORIZEN REVIEW

Book Review

My Verdict Readers who are interested in topics like symbolism, existentialism and absurdity but with good story, then this is a definite read. Finally, worthy read and time investing read.

Rating Book Title: 4/5 Book Cover: 3/5 Plot: 3/5 Narration: 3/5 Characters: 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!

Language & Grammar: 4/5

@swapna.peri Final Rating : 4/5

@sappy_dreamz_unlimited @swapna508

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