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MARCH 2021

STORIZEN

SEEKING DIVINE LOVE SWAMI MUKUNDANANDA Exclusive Digital Issue For more Columns and features, scan the QR code

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Cover Story Seeking Divine Love Swami Mukundananda

Brand Partners Aleph Book Company Bloomsbury India

Book Reviews Swapna Peri

Editors Pria Raiyani Saurabh Chawla

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WHAT'S INSIDE 25

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EDITOR'S NOTE

8

COVER STORY Seeking Divine Love - Swami Mukundananda

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- Pria HOT OFF THE PRESS

- Hachette India

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- Penguin India

HOT OFF THE PRESS Where Hope Comes From by Nikita Gill

HOT OFF THE PRESS Mind of a Consultant

- Hachette India

- Penguin India

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- Penguin India

HOT OFF THE PRESS Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar by Maurice Leblanc

Budhini by Sarah Joseph

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HOT OFF THE PRESS Gods and Ends by Lindsay Pereira

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HOT OFF THE PRESS Republic of Hindutva by Badri Narayan - Penguin India

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HOT OFF THE PRESS The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles - Hachette India

HOT OFF THE PRESS The Pegan Diet by Dr Mark Hyman - Hachette India

- Penguin India

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HOT OFF THE PRESS Karunanidhi: A Life by A.S. Panneerselvan

HOT OFF THE PRESS The Very Glum Life of Tootoolu Toop by Stutu Agarwal - Penguin India

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STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE Useless Fellow - Balu Swami

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STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE Cinema Hall - Nikunj Virani


WHAT'S INSIDE 42

STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE

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The Baggage Handler

Nine Timeless Nuggets: Essential Marketing for the Young and Ambitious by Bharat Bambawale

- Swathi Parasuraman

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STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE

- Swapna Peri

Manic Women of Eron - Manjima Misra

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STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE Red Balloon, Blue Balloon - Shouvik Banerjee

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BOOK REVIEW

STORIZEN POETRY The Corporate Taletellers

- Swapna Peri

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BOOK REVIEW One Who Serves Becomes The Master: Life Lessons From Hazrat Nizamuddin by Bela Upadhyay - Swapna Peri

BOOK REVIEW Lotus in the Stone by Anuradha Goyal

BOOK REVIEW

- Vidya Shankar

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STORIZEN POETRY

#METU by HCV Kumar

Pillows

- Swapna Peri

- Krishna Hingane

BOOK REVIEW Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power by Rajiv Malhotra - Swapna Peri

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STORIZEN POETRY Rebellion - Parvathy Rajeev


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Books we are loving this month

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from the editor

calling all writers!

DO YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF STORIZEN FAMILY? You can also be a contributor. Mail us your entries at talktous@storizen.com. Your smart ideas and inputs help us create our informative issues.

"Science

is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality,” Carl Sagan said this right. Science and spirituality go hand in hand. Continuing from the last month, we are in love with the spirituality and would not miss a chance to spread the love. We are extremely delighted to feature spiritual leader, and an author of the book "7 Divine Laws to Awaken Your Best Self", Swami Mukundananda. Are you seeking divine love? Check out the exclusive feature on page 8! We always bring something exciting for book lovers! We have curated a list of ten hot new releases for you to get some reading motivation. We try to read all submissions and carefully select the best stories for our readers. Do check out the stories from our contributors. Power-packed with five book reviews, poetry, and new learning, this issue is the one that you can't miss out on. We truly hope you enjoy this issue and spread the love by liking, commenting, and sharing. We rely on your support and we try to put extra effort in our every issue to bring in the best to you. We would love it if you guys subscribe to Storizen so we continue bringing you the best content every month. Happy Reading!

editor@storizen.com Saurabh Chawla, Editor in Chief


COVER STORY

"The ecstasy of God that we seek will come when we develop love for him. Then we will see the face of the Creator in all of creation." - Swami Mukundananda


Seeking Divine Love Text by Pria

The day was shining bright as I stepped out of my bed. I stepped out on the balcony. I love the rays of sun hitting my face, welcoming the beautiful light to enter not only in my house but in my soul! Last month, if you remember, we had an opportunity to have a discussion with Yoogi, Mystic, and an author, Sadhguru. I learned a lot about spirituality from the books, and the knowledge seems to grow as I interact with the spiritual leaders. I made myself a cup of coffee and fiddled with the papers that were left unattended on my study table. Last night had been a busy one, had to do some office work, and moreover, had to prepare me for the call to be done today.


COVER STORY

Continuing on my spiritual path, I wanted to get to know more and more about mindfulness and the path that led to spirituality. With spirituality, you gain a sense of enlightenment, you feel powerful. But still, I felt that there is something that I am missing on still. I need to fully awaken myself! I came across the book '7 Divine Laws to Awaken Your Best Self' by Swami Mukundananda. After reading the blurb, I realized that this is something I am looking for. As I was about in the middle of the book, I had a curiosity to have a word with the author himself. Being a Spiritual Leader, he can clear all my doubts and lighten the curiosity that I was having regarding spirituality. I got an appointment and I was excited for this interview today! I got my paperwork ready and all the questions that I had were already lingering in my mind. After finishing up my daily morning chores, I was ready to jump in for the video call with Swamiji himself.

each other and I was ready to begin. "I will not take too much of your time Swamiji," I ascertained. He acknowledged with a smile. SPIRITUALITY FOR CHILDREN? I have seen many youngsters following the path of spirituality on YouTube videos. I also saw Swami Ji's take on this subject. He is also inclined towards the future of the nation, the children, and the youth. I asked him that besides teaching adults how to lead a disciplined life, when did it happen that he must also write the book(s) for children? He replied, "Let us not see them merely as children. They are the future of the world. They will soon be other people’s husbands and wives, and parents of grandchildren. They

Spiritual wisdom has two aspects to it. The first shows us “how to live” and the second teaches us “why to live.

I turned on my laptop, opened up Zoom and after a couple of minutes of wait, Swamiji appeared on the screen. With a smile, we greeted 10

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COVER STORY

possess God’s life force that is yearning to make them presidents, scientists, engineers, doctors, artists, writers, and musicians. It is our solemn responsibility to fill their hearts with lofty ideals and inspiring thoughts." I was listening to him intently. "How will they read these books?" I was curious. "At JKYog, we run a special program for children, called the “Bal-Mukund” character-building program, with centers around the world. While launching this program, twelve years ago, I wrote a series of books based on the Vedic scriptures and the rich literary heritage of India. These contain stories, biographies, festivals, sayings, kirtans, and prayers for the young ones. They convey transformational messages to educate, encourage, enthuse, and entertain young minds," he continued. MARCH 2021

A sense of doubt was still lurking in me. I had seen that the spiritual path is often taken by the elderly or by the people who have had done enough in their life. I asked Mukundananda Ji about his take on the age at which one should start seeking spirituality. "Spiritual wisdom has two aspects to it. The first shows us “how to live” and the second teaches us “why to live.” The first part of spirituality includes tools for improving the quality of our life. There is no age constraint for it since we all can benefit from good wisdom on how to live better. The second part of spirituality addresses the big questions of life. Who am I? Why did I come to this world? What is the purpose of life? People postpone seeking answers to these questions for later. But that STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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is a mistake. Finding the cosmic purpose of our life is hugely beneficial. It inspires us to become the best version of ourselves and to utilize our talents for making a difference in the world. And these twin endeavors—improving ourselves and doing the best we can—result in genuine happiness. So, if you wish to find fulfillment, do not postpone spirituality for later. Utilize material science for meeting the physical needs of your body. Augment it with spiritual science to manifest your internal divinity. In this way, enrich your existence by harmonizing both material and spiritual sciences." I drank a sip of water as I processed the information. One interesting thing I came to know about Mukundananda ji was that he didn't reach out to the youth. "I did not seek to reach out to the youth. My goal was merely to share wisdom with all. But an

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the interesting phenomenon took place through the internet. The youth came searching for what I was offering. The JKYog video team informs me that the 18 to 24 years segment views my videos the most. Isn’t that so encouraging for the future of the world? Elders have the habit of saying the young generation has gone astray. But our channel statistics reveal that today’s youth are seeking solace and meaning in life through spirituality. They have good jobs and enough money, and yet they are discontent. So, they are coming to a Swami’s videos in the hope of finding answers to the problems they face," I nodded in acknowledgment. LIVING WITH THE BELIEFS We are all accustomed to living with a belief system the moment we are born. It is imbibed deep within our minds. I personally have challenged my belief system many times. I found out that like energy, you cannot

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COVER STORY

Click to Watch on YouTube create or destroy a belief system. It can only be replaced by some other belief system. I asked Mukundananda Ji about his thoughts. "Is it possible to live without beliefs? We go to the barber who puts a knife on our throat. We have faith that he will not kill us. We go to the bank and hand over a wad of money to the cashier. We believe she will count it correctly without cheating." I nodded and asked, "Can they be avoided?" "Beliefs cannot be avoided even by scientists. They have faith in the perception of

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their senses and the logic of their intellect. It could be deceiving them, but they have assumed their logic to be sacrosanct. The distinction between good and bad beliefs is created by how we choose to take the leap of faith. If we believe indiscriminately, that is blind faith, and it has the power of ruining our life more than anything else. Conversely, when we create beliefs based on a trustworthy source of knowledge, they are immensely empowering, and are good beliefs," swami ji elaborated further.

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ABOUT THE BOOK Swami Mukhundananda explains, "7 Divine Laws” does not explain something new. Rather, the difference is in the manner of presentation of the knowledge. Every truth is explained through sound logic, illustrated with real-life examples, and validated with quotations from the sacred books of knowledge. For example, how to conquer the mind is a million-dollar question. The simple answer is that we must purify it. How, then, how can we purify our minds? The easiest way is to attach it to the Allpure. That is why we need devotion to God." Q.E.D. SEEKING GOD "Often, God is seen as a third entity, and many people miss the beautiful feeling of feeling God with-in. How can one achieve the ecstatic feeling 14

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of seeing God from with-in?" I asked with excitement. Swami Mukundananda replied with equal enthusiasm, "To experience God within us is definitely a beautiful feeling. But it is again limiting. Should we not see His miracle in every atom of creation as well? And what about His glory that manifests in the virtues of people around us? The ecstasy of God that we seek will come when we develop love for him. Then we will see the face of the Creator in all of creation.

To experience God within us is definitely a beautiful feeling. But it is again limiting.

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COVER STORY

We have to progress from feeling Him in the temple alone, to seeing Him in all creatures. And finally, seeing him everywhere." SPIRITUALITY AS A WAY OF LIFE Before leaving, I had one final question for Swami Mukundananda ji, "How can one include Spiritual practices in their day to day life?" He replied calmly, "We tend to categorize our works as either material or spiritual. This is wholly unnecessary. Every activity can become spiritual if it is performed with pure intention. Then our pooja does not remain limited to the precincts of the temple. All that we do becomes pooja and worship. Our ancients talked of Karma Yoga. This is the art of keeping our mind in equipoise, alongside with performing our daily duties. In karma yoga, our consciousness gets purified, without neglecting our worldly chores. It is such a simple practice for freeing us from anger, greed, anxiety, and stress." It was time to say goodbye and I thanked Swami Mukundananda ji for his time.

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.

pria@storizen.com

(As told to Pria)

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'Just as heat is inherent in fire, so is our desire to become better.' Why are personal growth and life transformation so difficult? Does Creation wish that we fail? Of course not! The purpose behind the Universe's grand design is to make us succeed. Our own unawareness of the laws of the Universe creates the impediment. Just as physical phenomena are regulated by laws, there are spiritual principles governing the journey of life as well. Knowledge of them helps us understand why success comes so easily to some but remains a struggle for others; why some are still putting on their shoes, while others have finished the race. The beauty is that, like the physical laws of nature, the divine principles governing happiness and fulfillment in life are also eternally valid. In this book, Swami Mukundananda explains the 7 divine laws in an easily graspable manner. With knowledge of the Vedic scriptures and witty anecdotes that everyone can relate to, this book will empower you to become the best version of yourself.


HOTthe OFFpress In this reimagined history, Sarah Joseph evokes Budhini with vigor, authority, and panache, conjuring up a robust and endearing feminine character and reminding us of the lives and stories that should never be forgotten. Translated by Sangeetha Sreenivasan, a fiercely individualistic novelist herself, Sarah Joseph’s Budhini powerfully invokes the wider bio-politics of our relentless modernization and the dangers of being indifferent to ecological realities.

SARAH JOSEPH is a highly acclaimed Malayalam novelist, short-story writer, political commentator, and activist. She is the author of eight novels, nine collections of short fiction, five novelettes, several plays, children’s literature, and several non-fiction books. Her many awards include the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, the Vayalar Award, the Crossword Award, the Padmaprabha Literary Award, the O. Chandu Menon Award, and the Saraswati Samman. Her name is inextricably linked with the feminist movement in Kerala, and her radical writings have inspired and paved the way for future generations of Malayali working women and activists. 18

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HOTthe OFFpress Management consulting is seen as a glamorous profession. Behind the mystique are the consultants who put in extraordinary effort, synthesize great problem-solving skills and display fine personal attributes that enable them to capture the attention and respect of their clients.

Dr Sandeep K. Krishnan is a senior partner at People Business, a global consulting firm. He is a visiting faculty at IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Indore.

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Gods and Ends by Lindsay Pereira

Gods and Ends draw remarkable portraits of the inhabitants of Obrigado Mansion, a building as decrepit and worn down as the lives of its tenants. It tells the story of intersecting lives struggling to accept change as homes turn into prisons. The characters grapple with love, loss, and sin, all struggling to make sense of circumstances they have no control over.

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STORIZEN EVENTS

Lindsay Pereira is a journalist and editor. Born and raised in Bombay, he studied at St. Xavier's College and the University of Mumbai and holds a Ph.D. in literature for his work on gender attitudes implicit in nineteenth-century Indian fiction.

ABOUT THE BOOK Philomena Sequeira knows what she wants by the time she turns fourteen. Her father wants something else.

struggling to accept change as homes turn into prisons. This is a book about invisible people in a city of millions, and the claustrophobia they rarely manage to escape from.

Life is unyielding for the tenants of rundown Obrigado Mansion in Orlem, a Roman Catholic parish in suburban Bombay. They grapple with love, loss, and sin, surrounded by abused wives and repressed widows, alcoholic husbands and dubious evangelists, angry teenagers, and ambivalent priests, all struggling to make sense of circumstances they have no control over.

Gods and Ends takes up multiple threads of individual stories to create a larger picture of darkness beneath a seemingly placid surface. It is about intersecting lives MARCH 2021

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HOTtheOFF press

An explosive account of how the RSS’s assimilation of various marginalized groups helps the BJP win elections


STORIZEN EVENTS

The RSS is like the tip of an iceberg, exerting its influence much beyond what is visible. Beginning with the choice of Narendra Modi as the forerunner for the 2014 general election up to the campaign for the 2019 election, RSS cadres have been a formidable force behind the staggering rise of the BJP in national politics. In this eye-opening, necessary book, Badri Narayan offers an intimate glimpse of how the Sangh and its vast network of educational, cultural, and social outfits have been digging deep roots in the Indian psyche. By refashioning its modes of mobilization as well as assimilating Dalits, OBCs, tribals, and other marginalized communities, the RSS has made the Hindutva metanarrative appealing to a large section of Indians. During elections, the BJP—instead of wiping outcaste from electoral politics— reaps rich political dividends from this social appropriation. Drawing on extensive field research in the heartland of India and interviews with RSS volunteers, Narayan reveals how a new public is being forged at the grassroots, one that will determine the course of Indian democracy.

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HOTthe OFFpress Based on the true World War II story of the American Library in Paris, an unforgettable novel about the power of books and the bonds of friendship—and the ordinary heroes who can be found in the most perilous times and the quietest places.

Janet Skeslien Charles is the award-winning author of Moonlight in Odessa, which was published in ten languages. Her shorter work has appeared in revues such as Slice and Montana Noir. Janet first became interested in the incredible true story of the librarians who stood up to the Nazi “Book Protector” when she worked as the program’s manager at the American Library in Paris. Her novel The Paris Library will be published in thirty countries. She divides her time between Montana and Paris. Visit her at JSkeslienCharles.com or connect with her on Twitter @SkeslienCharles.

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HOTthe OFFpress The definitive biography of a fascinating politician

A.S. Panneerselvan is currently the readers’ editor of The Hindu. He has served as the newspaper’s independent, full-time internal ombudsman since 2012. Apart from being a regular columnist, he is also an adjunct professor at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.

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HOTtheOFF press

Meet Arsène Lupin: a charming gentleman… and the greatest burglar in the world.


STORIZEN EVENTS

Meet Arsène Lupin: a charming gentleman… and the greatest burglar in the world. An enemy to the rich; a friend to the poor - Arsène Lupin will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants. One of the best tropes of the gentleman thief and master of disguise along with Raffles, Lupin was created in 1905 by French writer Maurice Leblanc and first introduced in a series of short stories. These tales of derring-do sparkle with wit and adventure and are often considered the early template of the cool caper genres. Fans of Holmes, Raffles, the Saint, Blackshirt, and Norman Conquest will be delighted to discover the original witty confidence man and burglar. This first volume begins with Lupin’s arrest and the authorities have him behind bars… but the adventure is only just beginning… Maurice Leblanc was a French novelist and writer of short stories, known primarily as the creator of the detective Arsène Lupin.

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Where Hope Comes From by Nikita Gill

Poems of resilience, healing, and hope from Instagram sensation and voice of a generation Nikita Gill

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Nikita Gill is a British-Indian writer and poet living in the south of England. With a huge online following, her words have entranced hearts and minds all over the world.

ABOUT THE BOOK Written against the backdrop of global crisis, Nikita Gill's new collection Where Hope Comes From shines a light into the darkness as we begin our journey back to hope. Weaving words that explore our collective trauma, her poetry takes us on a journey through the five stages of grief to the five stages of hope through the life cycle of a star. The collection features her most popular poems to date Love in the Time of Coronavirus and How to be Strong, alongside new material and beautiful watercolor illustrations.

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If you or someone you know is mourning the loss of a loved one or a way of life; let Nikita's words help you through the process to heal.

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HOTthe OFFpress For decades, the diet wars have pitted advocates for the low-carb, high-fat paleo diet against advocates of the exclusively plant-based vegan diet and dozens of other diets leaving most of us bewildered and confused. For those of us on the sidelines, trying to figure out which approach is best has been nearly impossible - both extreme diets have unique benefits and drawbacks. But how can it be, we've asked desperately, that our only options are bacon and butter three times a day or endless kale salads?

Dr Mark Hyman is the Head of Strategy and Innovation at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, founder and director of The Ultra-Wellness Center and host of the health podcast The Doctor's Farmacy. An internationally respected physician, researcher, educator, activist, and author Dr Mark Hyman has dedicated his life and career to ensuring optimal health for all.

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HOTthe OFFpress To every witch, wizard, and glum, I'm Tootoolu Toop, a ten-year-old, fully trained witch of the Oonoodiwaga tribe from the Darjeeling mountains. Like every other ordinary human who wants to live a life of magic, us witches and wizards want to experience the nonmagical world too (I do for sure). For me, the 'ordinary' world is nothing short of an adventure. So I have left my tribe to live life as a glum. This is my story.

Stuti Agarwal is a writer (duh!), A self-proclaimed home chef and illustrator. When she is not nestled into her couch, dreaming of magical adventures in her hometown of Darjeeling and one day being called Roald Dahl's prodigy, she is participating in pasta cook-offs with herself while listening to Harry Potter audiobooks or practicing for when she wins the Pulitzer.

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GET FREEDOM


USELESS FELLOW by Balu Swami


STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE

Wayne was a farm boy even though he had left the farm over a decade ago. He was still the innocent who saw only the best in people. Although he was built like a rock, he never threw his weight around. He kept his cool even when people made fun of his farm boy ways. He would not have left the farm were it not for Nancy. She was his girlfriend since their middle school days. Everyone in the Boonie town expected the two to get married soon after high school. But then Nancy got weird in junior high. She stopped eating meat. She had her mom drive her miles out of town looking for vegan co-ops. Then she became enchanted with Hindu mysticism and soon going to India became her obsession. She told Wayne Boonie life was not for her and urged him to go to college and explore the world. So that is what he did. He moved to a college town in a different part of the state and met “other” people - other races, other nationalities, other gender identities. He struggled through the first two years of college and found his footing in the junior year when he found a job in the computer lab. He got really good at hardware assembly and learnt

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all the packaged applications he could get access to. In spite of his interest in computers, he struggled in programming classes and barely managed to graduate from college. Soon after graduation, he found a job in the city and met Gopi, his boss. Gopi was a Brahmin boy. He was a Brahmin boy growing up in Brahma Nagar attending a Brahmin school where all his fellow students were Brahmin boys just like him until the state took notice of the exclusivity and forced the school to admit underprivileged, non-Brahmin kids from the local slums. Although some Brahmin boys welcomed the presence of the kids from the slums and tried to help them with school work, Gopi was among the majority of boys who were disdainful. He called the slow-learning kids stupid and became all the more convinced of his superior Brahmin intellect. He carried that attitude everywhere - the technology school he went to in his home state, the graduate school he went to in America and the

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workplaces where he rose up the ranks as an accomplished techie. The only change he allowed was to stop calling people “stupid” after his student advisor told him calling someone stupid is a nono in America. Instead, Wayne reminded Gopi of the slow-learning kids from the slums. In spite of his best efforts not to show annoyance, Gopi let his arrogance get the better of him in his dealings with Wayne. Wayne, on the other hand, just laughed off the slights and never failed to acknowledge Gopi’s superior intellect. Gopi constantly referred to Wayne as a “useless fellow” when he talked to his wife, Parvathi, about his day at work. He had married her on a short visit home right after he had found his first job in America. He had known no other woman in his life. He was briefly infatuated with his advisor’s teenage daughter and imagining her in a Kanjeevaram sari excited him. But that ended when he heard her making fun of his name - Go pee! That evening, Gopi was more excitable than normal. The Diwali celebration was at a friend’s house some 50 miles away. The snow was in the forecast. He wanted to get going. The more he ordered Parvathi and the kids to hurry up, the longer they took. So by the time they hit the road, he was hopping mad.

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He was mad at his wife, his kids, other drivers on the road, the side mirror, and the weird engine noise that he imagined he heard. he took to calling people “useless” - that “useless fellow’” or this “useless woman”. It was past midnight when they left the party and headed home. Light snow was falling and he wanted to get home before it started coming down hard. Then he heard it. This time there was no mistaking the sound: the engine was definitely running rough. When they were about 10 miles from home, there was an explosive sound from under the hood. Just as he was pulling over, the engine caught fire. He jumped out of the car yelling “get out of the car”, “get out of the car” and ran away from the car. He could see Parvathi struggling to get the two kids from the back seat, but he didn’t dare go near the car to help her. His mind started racing: “I’m going to lose my wife and kids tonight. What’s going to happen to me? I need my family. I need a family. I’m only 45. I Hope Amma can find another bride for me. All is not lost. I can still start another family.”

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STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE

Flames were shooting up and smoke was filling the air while Parvathi was still trying to get the younger child out of the car. Out of nowhere, this big-ass pickup truck raced up to the burning car and screeched to a halt right next to Parvathi. The driver, a giant of a man in heavy jacket, jumped out of the truck, reached into the burning car, pulled out the child stuck in the back seat and hustled Parvathi and the kids to where Gopi was standing looking helpless. He pulled his truck away from the burning car and loaded the family into the cab of the truck. As he was doing that, they could hear the fire trucks at a distance. Gopi started to say “thank you so much, sir” to the good samaritan and froze mid-sentence. The good samaritan exclaimed “Gopi!” and Gopi managed to say “Wayne, you saved my family.” Parvathi glared at her husband and the glare conveyed so many thoughts, none more pointed than “Useless fellow?”

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Balu Swami is a new writer. He has lived on two continents, in three countries, and in multiple cities. He currently lives in the US. His works have appeared in Ink Pantry, Flash Fiction North, and Literary Veganism.

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THE CINEMA HALL by Nikunj Virani


Jay, his girlfriend – Jenisha, and one other couple had decided to go to the cinema to watch a movie, but somehow her girlfriend’s mom got ill so she could not come, and with that, his other college couple also declined. Though as ‘Scorpio part two’ was one of his favorite movies, he decided to go. He never cared about watching the film alone as before his girlfriend came into his life, he used to watch a film alone in the theatre. He entered the cinema hall, the movie was about to start; only Jay and one old man were in the cinema hall; Jay sat in the middle of the theatre amid two sidewalks and the old man sat on the right side, a row below him, the corner seat of his right collum. The film began with a vivid atmosphere; a perfect beach life and stealthily it started to turn upside down; in film, an ill redhead awful joker had come back after many years to spoil their life. If anyone sees Joker that person gets killed and many got killed by that even in dreams as the suspicious killing was the main threat of joker.

Jay normally did not afraid of ghosts; though he never said he didn’t believe in ghosts or something creepy like Joker.

Jay had heard that there was a Joker many years ago who used to appear after some ten years; he didn’t give much heed to them but he thought had a little doubt as that news story was published in a city magazine.

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Before the interval, a group of people (the defenders) in the film who got survived in the first part of the film tried to escape but couldn’t as the joker’s power was increased. At the interval, Jay fell into sleep and woke up with the joker on the seat of an old man. It was almost dark and very tiny lights were reaching their sight. Something hideous like a long collum parted red tongue was spreading out of his mouth and the horror creepy music of the film in the background was playing loudly as something was about to happen and reaching him. Jay normally did not afraid of ghosts; though he never said he didn’t believe in ghosts or something creepy like Joker. As joker crawled with dropping blood on the floor, Jay tightened his grip on his seat; sat tight with the thundering heart on his mouth and intangible fearful feeling on his body. Joker jumped and grabbed Jay’s face and vomited the blackness on Joy’s eyes. His large torn tongue grabbed his face in haste; a lot of blood dripped from his mouth and finally, his whole mouth opened, and in a moment Jay’s head was into Joker's creepy bloody mouth – all of it happened so quickly that there was no time left to rescue himself. Suddenly, he woke up and found the movie running and a dead man nowhere.

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As soon as possible, he got out of the theatre and reached the washroom with the biggest panic attack of his life; sweat bubbling on the forehead – breathing heavily like on full moon high tides touching the shore and go away. And there as he entered the washroom an old man was washing his hands alone. He had become so afraid of that old man that he decided and waited till that old man to go, but when he turned Jay found he was the bloody joker and in the second joker was standing beside him and he got eaten by joker’s strong tongues. Now, he again found waking up and vibrating with deadly shock and thought: it must not be a never-ending cycle. Again he heard the loud mystery music and found it on his usual seat. Suddenly, without going into the washroom he ran like an enemy behind him and slapped himself to see whether he went out of dreams.

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I'm Nikunj Virani from Surat, Gujarat, India. I want to publish my short story called 'The Cinema HAll' in your magazine or your platform. As a profession, I have been teaching German at my own 'Exzellent Language Institute' for five years and have visited two online courses of Oxford University 'Getting Started in Creative Writing' and 'Writing Fiction for Young Adults.' Moreover, I have been adding short stories to my blog http://thesmokyclouds.com/

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The Baggage Handler Part 1 by Swathi Parasuraman


Some brand new. Some worn and old. Some with ‘fragile’ tags stuck on them. Some a myriad of vivid colors. And some with funny stickers from different countries. People traveling from one place to another by air, packing their prized possessions in bags and carting these bags around with them. What secrets could they be holding? What trials could they be facing? What joys and sadness could they be experiencing in their lives? For Roy, every piece of luggage had a different story to tell. For the last two decades of his life, he had been working as an airport baggage handler in Hyderabad. His days consisted of loading and unloading cargo. Sometimes on the tarmac, where baggage would be loaded on or off the aircraft ramp, sometimes in the bag room where checked luggage would be sorted, and sometimes just in front of the luggage pick-up belt, separated from the restless waiting passengers by a flapping rubber curtain. Roy was a stoic worker, known to be quiet and dreamy. He was 50, unmarried, and living on his own in a rented one-bedroom apartment. Due to his benign personality and tolerant nature, his colleagues often pushed him

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to trade shifts, something he would do without complaint. It was not that he loved his job, it’s just that he didn’t have anything else to do. Roy had one quirk which was that his pulse would rise when he would catch sight of a, particularly interestinglooking bag. It would inspire a certain story to weave around in his mind, on what kind of person owned the bag. Did he have a lover? Does she have children? Is he traveling to meet his long-lost grandpa? Is she running away from a stifling home? He would start his stories based on some small observation, a sticker from Egypt or a tag from Spain and while his hands worked automatically, his mind would be whirling in fantasies, elaborate adventures, and thriller mysteries. For Roy, this job allowed an escape into a world where he could connect dots and make beautiful stories. The baggage belt was his pathway into this world. On a particularly hot summer afternoon, Roy was hard at work on the tarmac unloading baggage off a Boeing 747 which had just gotten in from Mumbai. With droplets of sweat forming on his brow and the regulation shirt sticking to his back, his normally cool composure showed hints of irritation. After the loading was complete, he got into the trailer and made the short trip to the baggage belt dock. He hopped out and STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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starting pulling out the bags, placing them onto the belt which rolled out to the passengers. After all the bags were taken out, he did a double-take when he noticed a small red bag in the back, which had almost been overlooked. Mumbling, he got back into the trailer and grabbed the bag, intending to quickly shove it onto the belt. Something caught his eye however and made him pause. There was a white sticker on the bag. Normally, it would escape notice thanks to the overhead flap but his hasty hand movement had nudged the flap away. His eyes widened. On the sticker was scrawled in a childish hand, “Hi, my name is Arya… what is your name?” It was probably a child who was playing around with empty white stickers while her parents painstakingly packed their clothes. But instead of shrugging it away, he furtively glanced around. Noticing that no one was watching him, he quickly grabbed a pen from his pocket and scribbled. “My name is Roy. What do you do?” This was like a needle in a haystack situation, him ever seeing this bag again. Even if he did, who knew if the note would even be there. It was a silly thing, a whim of a child which he went along with in a momentary impulse. But

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at least it would be some fodder for his imagination. Shrugging, he put the bag onto the belt, did a final customary check, and left the docking area. From then on, every red bag would catch his attention. His hand would surreptitiously brush its flap as if by accident and his eyes would check underneath. After some weeks, this became an involuntary action for him. It was on a Wednesday, a month later. The brush of his hand on a particular red bag revealed another sticker with the same childish scrawl. There was a unicorn keychain hanging off the zipper. “I go to school. I’m 6. I like unicorns that have puffy tails. What do you like Roy?” His breath stopped. He couldn’t believe it. This child had found his note and answered it. It was like a game they were playing. Wouldn’t it be worth keeping this going till whenever it stopped? It was some excitement after all. At least a child could smile.

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He wrote back, “I like sunsets over the ocean. And making up stories in my head”. And so it started, a back and forth between two unlikely individuals, through the medium of small red bag. Innocent exchanges about likes and dislikes, friends, food, movies, places to visit…stuff like that. But it would never be continuous. Sometimes Roy would find the bag and a note after a few months. Once, it was in the same week. But mostly, it was always quite a number of days apart. He concluded that whomever Arya was, she travelled often with her parents on the same route. He made of note of whenever he found the bag, and it was all mostly between Hyderabad and Mumbai. He was very careful not to ask this in his notes. He didn’t want to pry into personal information and since she was very young, she would maybe not think twice to reveal things. Could be dangerous if someone else happened to find it. And so, he kept it light and simple.

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This connection started becoming something precious, a warm glow in his heart. He even found himself more genial with his colleagues. No one would believe it was due to a simple exchange of notes with a child. No matter how many months went by, Roy was always in a state of anticipation. It was truly a miracle considering the next to impossible odds, but somehow, the bag would always appear in some trailer or on some belt. And an answering note would be there.

to go through the airport. Which was very less, thanks to his job being out of view of the flying public. Arya sometimes would talk about her feelings and he would give advice. “I got angry because she took my pen. I don’t like her anymore”. “Maybe she will give it back nicely if you ask her. Try being friends with her”. “I miss my dad. He’s never home.”

He never had an urge to place a face to the name. These notes and this connection were something he derived happiness and excitement from. In a life such as his, drab and routine, for the most part, it was a colored burst of joy. He felt that if he chanced a glimpse of this child, the thrill of this connection would be gone. So he consciously ignored passengers whenever he had

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“Send him a message saying you miss him. Hug him when he comes home”. Sometimes she would say she wanted to meet him and give him something she liked. “I want to meet and give you Harry Potter. It’s a good story.”

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“It’s not easy to meet, but I’ll make sure to buy and read it.” Sometimes she would echo his own feelings. “This is so much fun. You’re my bag friend forever and ever” “Thank you! I feel the same too.” And sometimes she would ask about his family.

(To be contd...)

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I am a freelance writer based out of Bangalore whose work has been published in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, the Kitaab Magazine, and Women’s Web I would like to submit a short story on a heartwarming between an airport baggage handler and a little girl who is a passenger. I hope you can consider it and your readers will be able to enjoy it as well.

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a a Misr m i j n a M ory my t s t r o A Sh

F O N E M O W C I N A M ) 1 T R A P ( N ERO


CHAPTER 1 Far across the ocean, lay an island country named Eron and this story chronicle the extraordinary lives of three women from three different generations in this country. The three women: Gini, Josephine, and Alice lived in a town called Falis. Falis was pastureland, full of frozen lakes with tiny cottages covered with moss. The noble king of Eron, Lord Galax, who lived in Falis, with his wife and daughter, could be frequently seen gardening in the lawn of his glass bungalow, the only bungalow in the entire town. When Galax’s wife Josephine was a little girl, she would talk incessantly with her mother, in spite of hating her mother like a rape victim would hate her rapist. On the darkest and most significant day of her life, Josephine, then a girl of eight, was chattering away, while her six-month-old brother Eizac was sleeping on a baby pink bedsheet that had a white floral design. Hurriedly, Josephine uttered the words “I will take care of Eizac” before hanging up the phone call with her mother. Her mother Gini sure had a way of demanding the most cultured behavior from Josephine. Josephine was to look after her brother for four days, decreed her mother while she was away for a honeymoon with her new husband. How Josephine wished to join them on the honeymoon! Josephine was flushed with admiration MARCH 2021

for her new stepfather. The third husband was like a delightful rain for Josephine after a long and dry summer. Eizac was a burden she had inherited from her previous stepfather, her mother’s second husband. The third husband-his name was Kolin Matenzy- the mysterious man of forty who had apparently charmed his way into her thirty-five years old mother’s aged and experienced heart. Yes, Gini was thirty-five and her third marriage felt like an obligation to a society that prided itself on the culture of moving on, on the culture of breaking free from the chains of the past. But Josephine never failed to betray a satisfaction, a content smile, after each conversation with her new stepfather. It turned out that in each conversation, Kolin promised to buy a new male doll for the eight-year-old Josephine. Gini, Josephine’s mother, had a withered face with watery eyes making her look like an aged witch. And Josephine had never loved her, for her mother was a dictator. But Josephine would fantasize about Kolin as if he was some fairyland. No, not a fantasy in appearance, though. Kolin was short, plump, white-skinned and had a nearly bald head with grey strands of hair sprouting haphazardly with no clear pattern. But his eyes and voice were a magical treat for Josephine. His eyes glittered like new pearls on black velvet STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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and his voice was the most soothing and beautiful one she had ever heard. Each time Kolin spoke, Josephine would feel as if waves of the cold ocean were flowing inside her as if larks were singing. “But there must be a way. We both can run away you know”, said Kolin to Josephine. As he said this, he wiped the sweat from his forehead with his white cotton handkerchief. And how Josephine wished that Falis would one day get a winter break!

Kolin continued, “I am thinking of running for President.” And Josephine protested, “No, my mother cannot live in the White House.” Kolin smiled affectionately and looked at Josephine curiously, searching for an expression of satisfaction on her face. “Well, Josephine, you are right. She will not be the First Lady you know.” And Josephine gave the most beautiful smile on hearing this statement. She repeated after Kolin, “She will not be the First Lady you know.” And they both burst into laughter like madmen.

“Will, you do not miss my mother?” “Oh, I never married her for love.” And the eight-year-old mind could not figure out what to say. She stayed quiet for a few minutes, looking straight ahead and then stealing a quick glance at the third husband. Josephine touched Kolin’s arm and whispered into his ears, “But where will we run away to?” “To a dollhouse, as grand as the White House.” “Oh, I have never seen the White House.” “Neither have I. But someone told me that it is the grandest place to live.” Josephine frowned.

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“But I have been the First Lady”, came a cold hoarse voice behind them. “And I do not wish to be the First Lady again.” And Josephine’s mother, tall and grave, stood in front of them with her elbows crossed. Then a grin revealing her snowy white teeth stained with blood frightened Josephine and Kolin. Kolin stammered, “I was talking about dolls, my lady. So many male dolls in Josephine’s collection. Josephine is looking for a bride for her dolls. She doesn’t know polyandry is not a part of our culture, you know” and Kolin pretended to laugh. Josephine’s mother glared at Kolin and said in a menacing tone, “Well, look at me, Mr. Kolin Matenzy. Polyandry certainly is in fashion; it runs in my veins.”

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Josephine felt helpless and clueless. Slowly she gathered some courage and looked straight into her mother’s dull eyes, pointed towards Kolin, and asked, “Mama, do you love him?” “Well, I don’t marry for love, have never married for love. My first marriage was a result of my greed to become the First Lady. My second marriage was an escape from my impotent first husband; I wanted a child, you see. And my third marriage. I need to get rid of you Josephine; I should have never adopted you in the first place. In my third divorce, I will give legal custody of Josephine to Kolin Matenzy.”, and as Gini finished the last sentence, she shrieked with laughter. So, ten-year-old Josephine moved into her stepfather Kolin’s ancestral bungalow at Falis, after a bloodless divorce battle of two years. Bloodless, it was, while everyone expected, blood to be involved. Gini, thirty-eight years

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now. Everyone knew Gini’s history as an orphan and a criminal. It was expected that she would have someone murdered to win the divorce battle. CHAPTER 2 The sunlight penetrated into the damp room through the dusty windows and lit up the bedsheet, a bedsheet spotted with red. A plain white bedsheet with stains of blood, making it look like a cherry blossom tree. The house was empty for several days and it looked like the owners of the house were not scared of being robbed, as they had left a door unlatched. Once again, Gini broke into the house through an unlatched gate in the backyard of the house. She could be arrested for trespassing on the property of the most famous philanthropist she knew. Ah, but the wife- the angriest woman on earth, asserting her selfish fury on a husband renowned for his selflessness. Gini was living on the edge between a meaningless life and a meaningful

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death- a death which had been attributed meaning by the priests and astrologers of Eron. She had nothing to lose. Homeless, clothed sparsely in faded torn dirty rags and on the verge of dying of starvation. Her fate depended on who in the Holborn couple will find her first. If it is the amiable Mr. Honborn, she would be taken care of. If it is Mrs. Honborn, she would be handed over to the equally affable police. Sixteen years of poverty. Five years in an orphanage. And now, maybe, it will be a few protected years in prison, protected for at least she would be fed and clothed. Gini, the sixteen-year-old vagabond, was not afraid of the blunt jaws of law. Well, she did not know when the Honborns would arrive. She had been here for two days. She had dared to

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sleep on their bed and wet it with menstrual blood. She could hear footsteps thudding, the sound of footsteps getting louder and within a minute, the Honborns were looking at her with a horrified expression. Gini laughed a hearty laugh while staring at the philanthropist of the decade. She had seen his photograph back in the orphanage where her childhood years had been drowned. The Honborn Orphanage. She was forced to worship this man, to be grateful to this man, who had given his wealth for the maintenance of the orphanage. But now, now, she wanted to spit at his face. “Hello Gini” said Mr. Honborn in a faint, nervous voice. Gini was shocked to find out that she had a name. She, all her life, had

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known herself as ‘Girl 31”, her identity was stamped in a number allotted to her in the orphanage. Gini bowed down her head and avoided looking at the couple by turning around and pointing to the bed, “There. I will bleed myself to death on this bed.” “Oh, come on Gini, come here. Come near me,” said Mr. Honborn softly and extended his hand to her in the hope of touching the famous cold fingers which had sent the town into a frenzy. Those fingers must be controlled, some priest had ordained. And now, each of her fingers had a ring; rings which Mr. Honborn had bought sixteen years ago. Supreme superstition, blind faith in astrology, a fascination with the movement of stars reigned over the city. Priests had said that Gini must wear a ring on each of her fingers. Gini was told that she would die a brutal death if she dared to remove the rings from her fingers.

Manjima Misra is the author of two books: 'Indian Feminine Fury' and 'Unapologetically Mad'. She is pursuing M.A. in English Literature at the University of Delhi and is also a distance learning student of English Language Teaching at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. She completed her B.A.(Honours) in English literature from the University of Delhi and has worked as a writer for various digital media platforms such as Feminism in India and Qrius.

Mr. Honborn freed his arm from his wife’s clutch and held Gini’s right hand. Her hands were cold as ice, as they had been since her birth. You could see her hands trembling. Mr. Honborn shuddered at the sight of the frightening violent tremors in her fingers.

(To be contd...)

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RED BALLOON, BLUE BALLOON by Shouvik Banerjee

On a sunny Sunday morning in midFebruary, the Raos arrived on the idyllic Visakhapatnam beach and joined the hordes of families gathered there for their fair share of the sun. Four-year-old Anshuhad put on her favourite red dress for a special occasion. But the real reason was the red balloon which she held dearly in one hand. It was nothing like any of the other types which the shopkeeper sold. She carefully scanned the beach and triumphantly declared that hers was the only one in the world! She looked up with pride and marveled at the gleaming plasticky surface. It was majestic! And how red the world looked when she peeked through it. She could even catch glimpses of the sun through it! Gently she released the string and caught it when it tried to escape.


The Raos found a nice spot and settled comfortably on two long towels. Mr. Bhavesh Rao broke into a soft tune while Mrs. Nandini Rao played with a distracted Anshu. “Arre Bhavesh, you’re here too?” The voice startled Mr. Rao from his humming and he looked up at his visitor. “Pulak! What a pleasant surprise. Hello, Ramya, how are you?” The petite woman beside Pulak gave a nervous smile. The group did their usual greetings and sat down. Anshu was the least bit interested in her guests and slowly crept away when she found the chance. Besides, her game was far more interesting. Once or twice the string almost slipped out of her tiny fingers! Almost! Anshu was suddenly distracted by the shiny surface of a blue balloon. Oh, how it shone! Just like her balloon. Or was it even better? Was a blue world better or a red world? She stared at the blue surface as it bobbed up and down. Was someone else playing her game? If only she could get a closer look.

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But before Anshu could do that, the string slipped from her clutches and in one heart-stopping moment, her balloon desperately climbed the air like smoke from an incense stick. She jumped! But in vain. She ran! But only to stumble and fall down on the hot sand while it became a tiny red dot on the horizon, like her mother’s bindi on her forehead. Anshu was crestfallen. Her rescue operation was a failure. An utter failure by her own admission. She kicked the sand and sat down even though it burned her body. Appa had told her never to cry. Wasn’t it her fault that her balloon flew away? Wasn’t she the one

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Anshu flounced towards the balloon. She wanted to give its owner a piece of her mind. The owner of her misery was none other than a skinny boy dressed in a blue T-shirt that, she peevishly noticed, matched the color of the balloon in his hand. She should have known that it was a boy all along. He was also wearing red shorts and a pair of red-colored sunglasses. She became irritated by those glasses. How dare it make fun of her balloon! And the way it shone was unbearable, to say the least. Anshu was about to push him when a lady walked on them and gently said, “Let’s go beta, we are leaving.” The boy spread his unengaged hand and slowly turned around towards the direction of the voice. “Very good beta!” exclaimed her joyous mother. “Now slowly walk towards me.” He gave a huge smile and staggered towards her mother, all the while clutching his blue balloon which danced joyfully in the sunlight and shone majestically under the sun. And for a moment, Anshu looked through the balloon and caught a glimpse of the blue world.

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She watched in silence as the lady lovingly picked up the elated boy and planted a kiss on his cheek. He screamed in joy and the two walked off towards a large family that had gathered near a coconut seller. Anshu quietly walked towards her own party and secretly hoped that no one saw how flushed her face was. Shouvik Banerjee has been a writer since 2015. Before that, he was busy dissecting mice and studying genes as a postgraduate student. He is the author of Seven Sundays (Hay House, 2019) and has been published in literary magazines and journals like The Bombay Review and The Universe Journal. When he is not creating fiction, he is working as a freelancer ghostwriter on non-fiction books, blogs, and articles. He can be found at www.shouvikbanerjee.com

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GET FREEDOM


A Spiritual Book Reviewed by Swapna Peri


STORIZEN REVIEW

BOOK REVIEW

The book is divided into eleven chapters. Each chapter is based on the author's visits to various spiritual and divine places. For example, chapter one gives the readers a detailed experience of her visit to various temples, the perspective and indigenous concept of Kumbh Mela, etc. The explanation of her experience with Ayodhya is interesting. Likewise, many places, including Kerala, Goa, and Kashi, all have different yet interesting stories. The intrinsic details while explaining stand out. Though the book is a work of non-fiction, the writing entertains the readers to a greater extent. About The Book: This book by Anuradha Goyal, Lotus in the Stone Sacred Journeys in Eternal India, is about India's spiritual centerstemples, rituals, importance, relevance, and influence they have on the people. This is also one of the good books that delve into the country's rich culture and varied heritage.

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About the story This book by Anuradha Goyal, Lotus in the Stone Sacred Journeys in Eternal India, is about India's spiritual centrestemples, rituals, importance, relevance and influence they have on the people. This is also one of the good books that delve into the country's rich culture and varied heritage. Inside the Book Lotus in the stone is a wellarticulated book. It is divided into chapters, where each chapter is unique and informative.


Book Review

STORIZEN REVIEW

About The Author: Anuradha Goyal is a prominent blogger and is known for her excellent reviews. The Mouse Charmers is her debut book which has been received very well. She is a travel enthusiast, and her travel blogs are not to be missed.

Rating Final Rating: 5/5

A passionate book reviewer, writer, narrator, translator, and copy editor, Swapna has a B. Tech in Computer Science and is a former SAP Technical Consultant. She is the writer, narrator, editor, and translator for three books published with Literoma Publishing, Kolkata. She created and manages the “Book Reviews Café” official blog and Facebook page that contains all the book reviews. Swapna is also a content writer and reviewer with Storizen Magazine, CriticSpace Journals website, The Literature Times website, The Asian Review website, and the Literature Today website. She is a columnist with one of the leading women's websites in Telugu named 'Vihanga'.

@swapna.peri @sappy_dreamz_unlimited @swapna508

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Interesting, Intriguing, and Must-Read Book! A Perfect Entertainer Reviewed by Swapna Peri

A tale of the progress of a girl child's mental balance from a teenager to a responsible journalist.

This book by HCV Kumar is one of such books that shows the female protagonist as a fighter for the pressures she is being succumbed to.

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About the book

A Must Read

#METU by HCV Kumar is a gripping and exciting book with a linear pace and no lag in the story. The Author has mixed #metoomovement and investigative journalism in the proper proportions. This is the story of a young woman from her teen years until a journalist.

This book is not just a work of fiction but a novel that reflects society now. Every woman has a story that she cannot tell because of the fear of society and family. But, some voices come up against every odds and fight for justice.


BOOK REVIEW

STORIZEN REVIEW

I liked the book because of its positive outlook towards women fighting against the system. Metu's powerful personality is a game-changer. There are times where I felt sad and happy for her. There are also places in the story where I cheered her for success. Metu is an inspiring woman, and her journey as a journalist, which was not an easy ride, is inspiring. Her brave personality is very attractive. There are people like Metu, but most of them are masked. We need many more Metus to motivate fellow women and make them ready to face any sort of problems in every stage of life. This is a must-read and highly recommended for all women.

pressures she is being succumbed to. Her fight against her boss is a great piece of writing by the Author. This book is a must-read for every woman.

Who can read? This book is not just a work of fiction but a novel that reflects society now. Every woman has a story that she cannot tell because of the fear of society and family. But, some voices come up against every odds and fight for justice. This book by HCV Kumar is one of such books that shows the female protagonist as a fighter for the

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Book Review

STORIZEN REVIEW

My Final Verdict Interesting, Intriguing, must-read book!

and

Rating Final Rating: 4/5 A passionate book reviewer, writer, narrator, translator, and copy editor, Swapna has a B. Tech in Computer Science and is a former SAP Technical Consultant. She is the writer, narrator, editor, and translator for three books published with Literoma Publishing, Kolkata. She created and manages the “Book Reviews Café” official blog and Facebook page that contains all the book reviews. Swapna is also a content writer and reviewer with Storizen Magazine, CriticSpace Journals website, The Literature Times website, The Asian Review website, and the Literature Today website. She is a columnist with one of the leading women's websites in Telugu named 'Vihanga'.

@swapna.peri @sappy_dreamz_unlimited @swapna508

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A Conflict With Machines Reviewed by Swapna Peri


STORIZEN REVIEW

BOOK REVIEW

This book, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power, by the internationally acclaimed author, Rajiv Malhotra, is about the importance and effects of artificial intelligence in India and its future as a nation. Rajiv Malhotra has interesting insights as a person who has studied computer science and done extensive research on India's history. It makes important revelations on how the advent of artificial intelligence will alter every aspect of our lives, from an international, to national to a personal level. According to the factual history and many sources from offline and online, since the first century BCE, humans have been intrigued by the possibility of creating machines that mimic the human brain. In modern times, the term artificial intelligence was coined in 1955 by John McCarthy. Today, the amount of data generated by humans and machines far outpaces humans' ability to absorb, interpret, and make complex decisions based on that data.

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About the story This book, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power, by the internationally acclaimed author, Rajiv Malhotra, is about the importance and effects of artificial intelligence in India and its future as a nation. What to Expect The topics discussed in the book may not please many people or the hard rooted believers, but the effect of AI in their lives is put away appallingly.


STORIZEN REVIEW

Rating

Book Review

Final Rating: 5/5

A passionate book reviewer, writer, narrator, translator, and copy editor, Swapna has a B. Tech in Computer Science and is a former SAP Technical Consultant. She is the writer, narrator, editor, and translator for three books published with Literoma Publishing, Kolkata. She created and manages the “Book Reviews Café” official blog and Facebook page that contains all the book reviews. Swapna is also a content writer and reviewer with Storizen Magazine, CriticSpace Journals website, The Literature Times website, The Asian Review website, and the Literature Today website. She is a columnist with one of the leading women's websites in Telugu named 'Vihanga'.

@swapna.peri @sappy_dreamz_unlimited @swapna508

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An Insightful Read! A perfect book to learn marketing Reviewed by Swapna Peri

The youngsters and students who aspire to make a career in the field of marketing can surely refer to this book.

It is always an intriguing concept that though many decades have passed, some brands and especially in the Indian market, have never ceased to fail to gain customers. 72

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About the book

A Must Read

Bharat Bhambhawale focuses on the basic and efficient marketing strategies of whichever product's manufacturing a person is into.

Nine Timeless Nuggets is an essential book to read if you are serious about Marketing! The book, though satiates for both the capable and youngsters, the book provides models of all the businesses from which the readers can benefit.


BOOK REVIEW

STORIZEN REVIEW

About the book: Bharat Bhambhawale focuses on the basic and efficient marketing strategies of whichever product's manufacturing a person is into. The book is divided into three chapters, and each Chapter has definite takeaways for the young and ever-ambitious individuals who want to excel in the market. The chapters and the internal contents are intelligently arranged. Be it an experienced person in the field of marketing or a newbie; the book is for everyone.

performance. To stay in the competition, author Bharat Bhambhawale in this book, using his experience, has explained the fundamentals of branding, customer motivation and growth.

My Thoughts: From a general perspective, Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. Also, the approaches a company or an individual adapts results in the growth and life of the company or the product. Often, people face difficulties in sustaining the zeal that once was the investment. There can be many reasons for the decline that reflects in the

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STORIZEN REVIEW

Book Review

Rating Final Rating: 4/5

A passionate book reviewer, writer, narrator, translator, and copy editor, Swapna has a B. Tech in Computer Science and is a former SAP Technical Consultant. She is the writer, narrator, editor, and translator for three books published with Literoma Publishing, Kolkata. She created and manages the “Book Reviews Café” official blog and Facebook page that contains all the book reviews. Swapna is also a content writer and reviewer with Storizen Magazine, CriticSpace Journals website, The Literature Times website, The Asian Review website, and the Literature Today website. She is a columnist with one of the leading women's websites in Telugu named 'Vihanga'.

@swapna.peri @sappy_dreamz_unlimited @swapna508

MARCH 2021

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Living The Sufi Vision Reviewed by Swapna Peri


STORIZEN REVIEW

BOOK REVIEW

This book, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power, by the internationally acclaimed author, Rajiv Malhotra, is about the importance and effects of artificial intelligence in India and its future as a nation. Rajiv Malhotra has interesting insights as a person who has studied computer science and done extensive research on India's history. It makes important revelations on how the advent of artificial intelligence will alter every aspect of our lives, from an international, to national to a personal level. According to the factual history and many sources from offline and online, since the first century BCE, humans have been intrigued by the possibility of creating machines that mimic the human brain. In modern times, the term artificial intelligence was coined in 1955 by John McCarthy. Today, the amount of data generated by humans and machines far outpaces humans' ability to absorb, interpret, and make complex decisions based on that data.

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About the book Hazrat Nizamuddin is an extremely revered Sufi saint from the Indian subcontinent and the founder of the Chishti Nizami order. He was born in Badaun to a poor family, and he chose to dedicate his life to the Sufi vision of love, peace and service to the poor. The book is Edited by Bela Upadhyay, who is a curator and storyteller. Under her venture as Delhi


STORIZEN REVIEW

Rating

Book Review

Final Rating: 4/5

A passionate book reviewer, writer, narrator, translator, and copy editor, Swapna has a B. Tech in Computer Science and is a former SAP Technical Consultant. She is the writer, narrator, editor, and translator for three books published with Literoma Publishing, Kolkata. She created and manages the “Book Reviews Café” official blog and Facebook page that contains all the book reviews. Swapna is also a content writer and reviewer with Storizen Magazine, CriticSpace Journals website, The Literature Times website, The Asian Review website, and the Literature Today website. She is a columnist with one of the leading women's websites in Telugu named 'Vihanga'.

@swapna.peri @sappy_dreamz_unlimited @swapna508

MARCH 2021

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STORIZEN POETRY

The Corporate Taletellers by Vidya Shankar “Eight ginger teas,” announces the chaiwala, His dexterous hands having poured out Piping hot, aromatic chai Through a limp cloth filter, brown with use, Into eight glasses That his assistant has freshly washed By dipping them into a bucketful of water, Of nondescript colour, that had seen, Over the past hour, dipped into it Several such glasses From which spiced tea had been drunk. Eight men of various shapes and sizes, Each clutching a small, square piece of newspaper Coated with oil from the onion vada within its fold, Pick up a glass and walk A few paces to the other side of the lane, Their ‘conference room’, Where flowed a drain unseen, Hidden beneath roughly-placed broken cement slabs And wayside grass, The stench of which their daily nostrils Can hardly discern. The eight men then begin their meeting: A little swirl of the tea, a sip, and a bite Punctuate long sentences of careful observations Of cleavages, buttocks, and the daring of women colleagues. The grease of the onion vadas now losing its heat, The snack needing more flavour, 80 |

STORIZEN MAGAZINE

MARCH 2021


STORIZEN POETRY

They sprinkle their talk with chatpata masala— Detailed appraisals spiced with sarcasm and sneer, Grudges and derision, Hearsay peeks into their bosses’ affairs Or malicious tales of their more accomplished colleagues, The ones who never joined them For this daily evening teatime conference. The piquant titbits and the peppered tea consumed, And all matters satisfactorily discussed, The men amble away from the ditch, Unaware of their contribution to the stink. Depositing their emptied glasses on the counter of the tea kiosk For the assistant to give them the customary dip In the nondescript colored water, They walk back to their office With an air of importance. On the way in, they see a cheery group, Twinkling eyes and eager ears, A gaggle of whispering women colleagues. The eight important men walk past, A disapproving sneer playing at their nostrils— “Them and their gossips... women never change, Be it in the office or at home.”

MARCH 2021

Vidya Shankar, a widely published Indian poet, writer, editor, English teacher, and a “book” in the Human Library, says poetry is not different from her. As the recipient of literary awards and recognition, she uses the power of her words to sensitize her readers about environmental issues, mental health, and the need to break the shackles of an outdated society. Vidya is the author of two poetry books, The Flautist of Brindaranyam (in collaboration with her photographer husband, Shankar Ramakrishnan), and The Rise of Yogamaya (an effort to create awareness about mental health.) She finds meaning in her life through yoga and mandalas.

@shanvidwinsalways @vidya.shankar.author

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STORIZEN POETRY

Pillows by Krishna Hingane The mind, just like a pillow, is filled with thoughts and wool. Itis a concoction of good and bad wool stuffed up to a full. The body, the case is beautiful to look upon and gaze at, But it is the wool that decides if it is a man or a brat. Pillows have seen ambitions and aspirations, some mighty and some high, Countless plan and feelings have they heard when no one was standing by. Vivid, intricate drapings have they adorned on happy and sunlit days, Inferior wool have they concealed behind the cloud of colorful haze. On nights starless, they have provided shelter to filth and unwelcome dust, Torn between finery and flexibility, they have learned to make peace with what seems just. Countless mishandlings have they accepted silently like a mother's heart, Significant weights have they cradled perfectly like a farmer's cart.

If nurtured aptly, pillows come across as an affair of honour for the mattress, A silent solace, on low days, they will provide the mourning mistress. If not cared for properly, the silk sheets lose their beauty and their shape, And become the bearer of horrors that leave a trail of cold shivers down the nape. 82 |

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MARCH 2021


STORIZEN POETRY

The poem depicts a pillow as a materialistic mind and shows how good upbringing and care bear positive outcomes. It aims to show the reader that an object as trivial as a pillow can relate to our own life in its own unique manner. Nowadays, all of us are so caught up in the materialistic pleasures of life, ranging from cars to beautiful bedcovers, that we forget to take care of ourselves. Our mind, our thoughts shape up our future, and itis certainly necessary to nurture it, nourish it, and cherish it.

MARCH 2021

I am a twelfth-grade humanities student planning to pursue Psychology later. I've always been fond of reading novels and poetry and this is my first attempt at writing. Even though I'm an amateur writer right now, I do hope to improve my skills and become a published writer in the future.

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STORIZEN POETRY

Rebellion by Parvathy Rajeev The reminiscent of gingery souls Are embedded in our future goals Sour cries of liberty spells out The brave nation in quick succession Enormity is nothing here We need seeds stretched in sorrow And agony. We need blossoms and sprouts of Wisdom and no vengeance. The mortality of spirits lies Within the fort of delinquency. Southern slopes and winter valleys Are yearning for their aid. Regiments of love and troops Or battalions with vigour Shall respond to the winds of The white walls. They were built upon the backbones Of our tolerance and beliefs. Thou shall rise and ravage. The monument of audacity Shall fly high. Let the wind blow.. Thou shall keep the flag high.

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I'm Parvathy Rajeev, A poet and a social servant from India. I've recently won the All India Women Achievers Award and South India Women Achievers Award 2021. I'm also the winner of the Caesura Book award and Spectrum Writers Award of 2021. I think if I can be a part of your widely circulated magazine, I'd be extremely happy and privileged.

MARCH 2021


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Spirituality is not just a science, it's a way of life. In order to realize your full potential, you must be aware of who you are as a perso...

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Spirituality is not just a science, it's a way of life. In order to realize your full potential, you must be aware of who you are as a perso...

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