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HOME TO YOUR STORIES MAY 2023 Unveiling the mesmerizing world of Pod a spellbinding exploration of marine life and humanity, shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2023 Laline Paull Exclusive Story on Page 6
FOLLOW US ON : HASHTAG: #STORIZENMAGAZINE To read Storizen on the web, visit storizen.com. Follow Storizen on Instagram @storizenmag. CLICK HERE TO READ NOW! BOOKMARKED Storizen Magazine April 2023 Books we are loving this month Exclusive Digital Issue For more columns and features, scan below
As Above, So Below -
Laline Paull, Author of Women's Prize for Fiction
2023 Shortlist - "Pod"
Aleph Book Company
Pan Macmillan India
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Editor's Note, p5
Cover Story, p6
As Above, So Below - Laline Paull, Author of Women's Prize for Fiction 2023 Shortlist - "Pod"
Storizen News, p12
Are we responsible for making our Children Digital Addicts?Ankur R. Gupta, p26
Miracles of Nature - Sreelekha Chaterjee, p30
Monthly Horoscope: June 2023 - Himani Goyal, p40
Tree of Life - Vidya Shankar, p43
Amitabh Kant's 'Made In India' Book Release Explores India's Economic Rise and Roadmap to Global Success, p14
Interview: Charles Dunst, AuthorDefeating the Dictators, p18
book events/interviews, p14
Interview: Riksundar Banerjee, Author - Haunted Places of India, p22
book reviews (by Swapna Peri, Saurabh Chawla & Kiran Adharapuram)
50 Captivating Lives by H D Sharma, p34
Droupadi Murmu: From Tribal Hinterlands to Raisina Hill by Kasturi Ray, p34
I Have Autism, And I Like To Play Good Bad Tennis by Debashis Paul, p35
The Inheritors by Nadeem Zaman, p35
The Return Of Faraz Ali by Aamina Ahmad, p36
All Those Who Wander by Kiran Manral, p36
A Dalliance with Destiny by Aman Singh Maharaj, p37
The Hundred Million Bet by Atul Koul Randev, p37
Book Lovers by Emily Henry, p38
Evoked by Mansi Babbar, p38
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, p39
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, p39
C O N T E N T S
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You can also be a contributor Mail us your entries at firstname.lastname@example.org Your smart ideas and inputs help us create our informative issues.
ature always wears the colors of the spirit " - Ralph Waldo Emerson
In this edition of Storizen, we embrace the profound love for nature that resonates in the hearts of countless individuals. As Ralph Waldo Emerson beautifully encapsulates in the quote above, nature has the remarkable ability to reflect and inspire the depths of our spirit. It is with great pleasure that we present an array of articles and enchanting poems that celebrate this eternal connection between humanity and the natural world.
This month, we proudly feature the Women Prize for Fiction 2023 Shortlisted author of the book “Pod” - As Above, So Below, Laline Paull Her thought-provoking narrative showcases her exceptional talent, and we are thrilled to share her work with our esteemed readers
Additionally, this issue of Storizen proudly presents a collection of twelve book reviews, each offering a glimpse into the vibrant world of literature. Our dedicated team of reviewers has meticulously explored the pages of various genres, unearthing hidden gems and sharing their honest assessments.
In this issue, we aim to keep you informed and engaged with the vibrant literary landscape. Our dedicated team has curated a collection of the most recent Book News, bringing you the latest happenings from the world of literature. From exciting book releases to noteworthy literary events, we strive to keep you connected to the pulse of the writing community.
As part of our commitment to fostering meaningful conversations, we are delighted to present two insightful interviews In our exclusive discussion, we sit down with Charles Dunst, the acclaimed author of "Defeating the Dictators " Dunst's powerful exploration of authoritarian regimes and their impact on society offers profound insights that resonate deeply with readers Join us as we delve into the inspirations and motivations behind his compelling work
Furthermore, we have the pleasure of conversing with Riksundar Banerjee, the masterful storyteller behind "Haunted Places of India." In this captivating book, Banerjee uncovers the chilling tales of India's most haunted locations, weaving together history, folklore, and supernatural elements. Our interview explores the spine-tingling allure of his writing and delves into his personal experiences in unraveling the mysteries of haunted places.
At Storizen, we believe in the transformative power of literature. Through our carefully curated content, we aim to celebrate the accomplishments of remarkable authors, keep you informed about the latest developments in the literary world, and ignite meaningful dialogues that enrich your reading experience We hope this edition of Storizen inspires and enlightens you, inviting you to embark on an exciting literary journey
"N Saurabh Chawla, Editor in Chief email@example.com
COVERSTORY As Above, So Below Laline Paull A Storizen Exclusive Feature By PRIA
Photo: A Bee on Laline Paull's Thumb
Laline Paull, the acclaimed author known for her thought-provoking novels, such as "The Bees" and "The Ice," has once again captured readers' attention with her latest book, "Pod." This captivating novel has been shortlisted for the prestigious Women's Fiction Prize 2023. In a recent interview, Paull offered insights into the inspiration behind "Pod," her extensive research on marine life, the influence of her Indian heritage, and her commitment to addressing pressing environmental issues through storytelling Join us as we dive into the depths of Laline Paull's imagination and explore the fascinating world she has crafted in "Pod "
Shortlisted for the Women's Fiction Prize
"It's an honor to be recognized by such a prestigious award," says Laline Paull, the talented author behind the critically acclaimed novels "The Bees" and "The Ice." Paull's latest book, "Pod," has been shortlisted for the Women's Fiction Prize 2023 This captivating novel delves into the world of marine life, exploring themes of migration, love, loss, and survival
The Genesis of "Pod"
"I swam with these majestic creatures, and it sparked my curiosity," shares Paull when
discussing the genesis of "Pod " During a vacation in Mauritius, Paull had a personal encounter with a pod of bottlenose dolphins As she swam alongside them, she became aware of the impact that human interference had on their lives This experience led her to investigate the dolphins' displacement from their home due to an unreported oil spill. The smaller spinner dolphin tribe forced out by this event became the inspiration for the narrative in "Pod."
Influence of Indian Heritage and Yoga
"Indian philosophy played a significant role in shaping the themes and characters," Paull explains Her Indian heritage and study of yoga influenced the story in profound ways The ideas of oneness and interconnectedness present in Indian philosophy played a crucial role in developing the themes and characters of "Pod " For example, the character of Devi, the first wife of the patriarchal bottlenose pod leader, symbolizes the complexities of power dynamics and conformity within a hierarchical society.
During the interview, Paull expands on this influence, saying, "Growing up with Indian culture, I was exposed to concepts of interconnectedness, respect for nature, and the idea of shared consciousness These ideas naturally found their way into my writing "
STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 7 MAY 2023
Education for girls and women is crucial in creating a more equitable and inclusive world.
Laline Paull With Dr. Vandana Shiva London 2023
Addressing Asian Business leaders at the House of Lords on story and climate 2022
Extensive Research and Scientific Understanding
"I delved into the scientific understanding of these highly social marine creatures," shares Paull regarding her extensive research process for "Pod " She wanted to capture the intricacies of dolphins, their behavior, and their ecosystem Paull expresses her gratitude to the scientists who generously provided her with fresh data and guided her investigations She found herself fascinated by the intertwining stories and complex character dynamics, drawing inspiration from George Eliot's literary masterpiece, "Middlemarch."
In the interview, Paull shares, "I spent months reading scientific papers, consulting marine biologists, and even had the opportunity to observe dolphins in their natural habitat. It was important for me to accurately portray their behaviors, social structures, and the threats they face from human activities "
Engaging Concepts and Emotional Depth
"My writing process begins with a fascination for a particular subject and extensive research," explains Paull Her novels are characterized by engaging concepts and emotional depth. She immerses herself in a subject, conducting extensive research that gradually shapes the plot and characters. From exploring gender politics in "The Bees" to delving into the Arctic's human world in "The Ice," Paull's books address pressing environmental issues, reflecting her sense of responsibility to shed light on these topics.
Paull expands on this, saying, "I believe in the power of storytelling to create empathy and understanding Through my novels, I strive to engage readers intellectually and emotionally, encouraging them to reflect on our relationship with nature and each other "
The Role of Women in Literature and Society
"Education for girls and women is crucial in creating a more equitable and inclusive world," emphasizes Paull. When asked about the challenges of being a female writer in a maledominated literary landscape, she praises The Women's Prize for Literature for its efforts in providing recognition and equal representation Paull firmly believes in the power of education for girls and women, not just within literature but also in society as a whole
During the interview, Paull states, "Women's voices have historically been underrepresented in literature, and it's essential to celebrate and amplify these voices. I'm grateful for platforms like The Women's Prize for Literature, which champion female authors and their stories."
MAY 2023 STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 9
I swam with these majestic creatures, and it sparked my curiosity.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION, 2023
Bestselling author Laline Paull returns with an immersive and transformative new novel of an ocean world - its extraordinary creatures, mysteries, and mythologies - that is increasingly haunted by the cruelty and ignorance of the human race.
In the interview, Paull reveals, "It takes me about three years to research, write, and then get a book through the publishing process. I'm working on something that I find very exciting, risky, and enticing - but you can't open the oven door when the soufflé's rising so I won't say more for now, except that it leans into my Indian heritage and my British upbringing. And I hope to be at the Jaipur Literary Festival in 2024... "
(As told to Pria)
About Pria - Young mesmerizing freelance blogger, social enthusiast, and an economics graduate from Jharkhand University with a Master's in Child Psychology She is hardworking yet crazy, a passionate reader, an ardent music fanatic, an avid caffeine lover, and a maniacal animal lover too
She has been a part of numerous anthologies, articles, and write-ups for newspapers and magazines which are multi-linguistic She has also written screenplays for YouTube series.
STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 11 MAY 2023
Unveiling 'My Life in Design': Gauri Khan's Artistic Odyssey and Family Legacy
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan unveiled his wife Gauri Khan's new book, 'My Life in Design,' at a Mumbai event on May 15, 2023 The book chronicles Gauri's journey as a celebrity interior designer, showcasing exclusive family pictures and revealing unseen images of their Mumbai residence, Mannat Shah Rukh praised Gauri's talent and dedication, emphasizing the importance of following dreams. The event featured a discussion between Gauri, Shah Rukh, and the publisher, highlighting Gauri's personal touch in her designs. The book, published by Penguin India, offers a unique glimpse into their extraordinary life and home.
Bestselling Author Amish Tripathi Gets Married in London
Great news for fans of renowned author Amish Tripathi! On May 16, 2023, Amish took to social media to share his marriage to Shivani The couple tied the knot in a simple ceremony in London with blessings from Lord Shiva, their parents, and the love of their children, siblings, and siblings-in-law This is Amish's second marriage, following his divorce from Preeti Vyas in 2020 Known for his bestselling books, including the Shiva Trilogy and Ram Chandra series, Amish is also a Minister and Director in the UK. Excitingly, he recently co-hosted TV documentaries with Amitabh Bachchan. Fans eagerly await the next chapter in Amish's personal and literary journey.
Television icon Oprah Winfrey and author-educator Arthur C. Brooks have teamed up to write a groundbreaking book titled 'Forge Your Path to Fulfillment: Unveiling the Secrets to a Happier Life.' Expected to release on September 12, 2023, the book combines happiness research with Oprah's ability to connect with people during crucial moments It offers practical tools to improve lives immediately, rather than waiting for external changes This collaboration promises a captivating read that empowers readers with scientific insights for lasting happiness
Renowned American writer Ernest Hemingway, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, continues to exert profound influence in the 20th century His final novel, "Across the River and Into the Trees," has now been adapted for the screen The film, set in post-World War II Italy, follows the journey of Colonel Richard Cantwell, an aging American army officer facing illness, as a chance encounter reignites hope Starring Liev Schreiber, with Matilda De Angelis, Josh Hutcherson, and Danny Huston, the adaptation is penned by BAFTA winner Peter Flannery. Anticipation builds as the film, backed by an impressive lineup of executive producers, including William J. Immerman and Laura Paletta, is set for release this fall.
Oprah Winfrey and Arthur C. Brooks CoAuthor Book on Happiness
Photo - Instagram/Oprah
12 | STORIZEN MAGAZINE MAY 2023
Hemingway's Last Novel Adapted for Film, Starring Liev Schreiber, Set for Fall Release
Diverse Voices and Compelling Works Shine in Pulitzer Prize 2023 Winners
The Pulitzer Prize for fiction was awarded to Barbara Kingsolver's 'Demon Copperhead' and Hernan Diaz's 'Trust' Beverly Gage won for biography with 'GMan'. 'His Name Is George Floyd' by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa won for general nonfiction. Sanaz Toossi's play 'English' won for drama and Jefferson Cowie's 'Freedom's Dominion' for history. Hua Hsu's 'Stay True' received the memoir/autobiography prize, while Carl Phillips won in poetry with 'Then the War'. 'Omar' by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels won the Pulitzer for music
Stephen King's "The Life of Chuck" to Become Film with Hiddleston and Hamill in Lead Roles
BTS to Release Captivating Book 'Beyond The Story: 10Year Record' for Fans Worldwide
BTS fans, rejoice! The K-pop sensation is set to release a tell-all book, 'Beyond The Story: 10-Year Record of BTS.' This 544page masterpiece, written by journalist Myeongseok Kang and the BTS members, offers an intimate look into their extraordinary journey. With exclusive pictures and an English translation by Anton Hur, Clare Richards, and Slin Jung, the book arrives on July 9, coinciding with the founding day of the ARMY fanbase While the group enjoys a break and pursues solo projects, fans eagerly await this captivating glimpse into BTS's world
Renowned author Stephen King's chilling tale, "The Life of Chuck," is set to be adapted into a captivating film. Actors Tom Hiddleston and Mark Hamill have been cast in the lead roles, with Mike Flanagan directing and writing the script. The story explores the life of Charles Krantz in reverse chronology, from his death to his childhood in a haunted house King's previous adaptations, such as "Carrie" and "The Shawshank Redemption," have been highly successful The film promises a haunting and unforgettable experience for audiences
Children's book author Kouri Richins, who wrote about grief after her husband's sudden death, has been charged with his murder She was arrested in Utah for allegedly poisoning him with a lethal dose of fentanyl Despite claiming she gave him a vodka drink to celebrate his success, medical reports showed he had five times the lethal dose of fentanyl in his system Richins also faces charges of illegal possession of GHB. Her attorney has declined to comment on the matter.
Photo - By Library of Congress Life20190831SM1318.jpg
Photo - Twitter/StephenKing
MAY 2023 STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 13
Children's Book Author Charged with Murdering Husband by Poisoning
Photo - Twitter/bts_bighit
Photo - Facebook/Kouri Richins
Amitabh Kant's 'Made In India' Book Release Explores India's Economic Rise and Roadmap to Global Success
© STORIZEN 2023. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
n a bustling event held on May 10, 2023, Amitabh Kant, the G20 Sherpa of India, presented his new book titled "Made In India," which was officially launched by Dr. S Jaishankar, the Minister of External Affairs of the Government of India. The book launch drew prominent figures such as Sanjiv Bajaj, President of CII & SMD at Bajaj FinServ; Mallika Srinivasan, Chairman of PSEB & CMD at TAFE; TV Narendran, CEO & MD at Tata Steel; Naina Lal Kidwai, Ex-President of FICCI & Ex-CEO at HSBC India, and journalist Shereen Bhan The event, held in New Delhi, attracted a large and enthusiastic audience
Amitabh Kant's contributions to India's progress are highly regarded, having previously served as the CEO of NITI Aayog and as a dedicated bureaucrat He is credited with spearheading successful initiatives like Make in India, Startup India, Incredible India!, and God's Own Country, all of which have positioned India as a premier manufacturing and tourism destination globally. In his latest book, "Made In India," Kant delves into the remarkable journey of India's economy over the past 75 years since gaining independence. He not only chronicles its history and growth but also emphasizes the pivotal reforms that have shaped the nation's economy Additionally, he highlights the influential business leaders who have left an indelible impact on Indian society and presents a roadmap for future progress
During the book launch, Kant shared his thoughts, stating, "This book encompasses nearly the entirety of the last 75 years. When we were colonized, India accounted for approximately 24% of the global GDP. By the time the British left, our share had dwindled to a mere 5%. We transitioned from the
British Raj to the License Raj, yet the Indian private sector persevered and flourished despite stringent controls I have long believed that sustained high growth rates of 8-9% over three decades or more can propel India into a 5 or 10 trillion dollar economy For this, the private sector must play a pivotal role as the creator of wealth No country has achieved significant growth solely relying on the public sector The private sector must generate wealth, while the government acts as a facilitator and catalyst. We must focus on education, health, nutrition, and implementing the right policy framework."
Kant further elaborated on his book, stating, "This book delves into the ideal balance between the growth and retreat of government in India. It draws upon my experiences as a bureaucrat. When we initiated Startup India, India had a mere 456 startups Today, we boast around 90,000 start-ups and over 110 unicorns, attracting a substantial capital inflow of approximately 340 billion dollars These start-ups have not only disrupted the Indian market but also made a significant impact globally Furthermore, the production-linked incentive has spurred manufacturing across diverse sectors I firmly believe that India must fire on all cylinders, emphasizing not only services but also manufacturing, agricultural productivity, and urbanization, to achieve sustained large-scale growth."
"Many Asian countries experienced substantial growth from the 1960s to the 1990s. Korea grew consistently at 9.6% for three decades, Taiwan experienced similar growth, and Japan achieved remarkable progress post-World War II More recently, China has emerged as a powerhouse However, during their growth periods, these nations also contributed to global manufacturing and carbon emissions While India aspires for high growth rates, we face the challenge of integrating into global supply chains Post-COVID, the world has become more inward-looking. Our unique challenge is to industrialize without contributing to carbon emissions and become major players, not
STORIZENEVENTS MAY 2023 STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 15
only in manufacturing but also in penetrating global markets. This book draws upon lessons learned from various countries and emphasizes the need for technological advancements across different areas of growth. Once we unleash the full potential of the private sector, India will not only become the world's thirdlargest economy but will also rapidly raise the per capita income of its citizens, ultimately transforming into a highly developed nation It outlines the lessons we can learn from different countries to shape our own path," Kant added
During the book launch, Dr Jaishankar addressed the audience, suggesting that Indian businesses should look inward instead of seeking a "China fix." He emphasized the importance of creating a robust domestic vendor chain to propel sustained growth, stating, "Indian growth cannot solely rely on Chinese efficiency. To elevate our economy to a different level, we must create the kind of domestic vendor chain that a serious manufacturing economy requires Although this won't happen overnight, as a member of the government and the Economic Affairs Cabinet Committee, I assure you that it is our priority "
Following the book launch, a captivating discussion ensued among Amitabh Kant, Sanjiv Bajaj, Mallika Srinivasan, TV Narendran, and Naina Lal Kidwai, moderated by journalist Shereen Bhan. The panelists engaged in a comprehensive dialogue about India's present economy, the challenges it faces, and the necessary steps to position India as a global superpower in the coming years
When asked about their priorities for the private sector and their expectations from the government for the next 25 years, each
panelist shared their insights TV Narendran, representing Tata Steel, emphasized their focus on technology and sustainability, which he considered existential issues for the steel industry He further highlighted the need for the government to prioritize skilling, as the emphasis on education over skilling in the past 75 years necessitates recalibration.
Mallika Srinivasan stressed the importance of research and development, innovation, and the development of new products for global markets. She urged the government to eliminate any remaining subsidies Sanjiv Bajaj discussed his non-banking financial company's role in bringing millions of Indians into the formal financial system each year, emphasizing the importance of inclusion and calling for alignment between the central and state governments Naina Lal Kidwai advocated for job creation through sectors such as tourism, emphasizing India's soft power and the need to capitalize on its art, culture, yoga, and Bollywood. She also stressed the significance of transforming the energy sector and addressing the challenge of decarbonization.
The engaging discussion lasted for an hour, after which attendees had the opportunity to have their books signed by Amitabh Kant and engage in a meet-and-greet session with the author
MAY 2023 16 | STORIZEN MAGAZINE STORIZENEVENTS
© STORIZEN 2023. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This is a groundbreaking account of the development of Indian business and enterprise from the colonial period to the present. It not only introduces readers to formative business leaders (including Jamsetji Tata, Ghanshyam Das Birla, and Walchand Hirachand Doshi) and leading firms (Wadia Group, Kirloskar Brothers Limited, and Shapoorji Pallonji) but also analyze their presence in the country’s economy, their growth over time and their true impact on society.
Made in India comes to life with inspiring stories of entrepreneurs like Sunil Bharti Mittal and Rahul Bhatia, who have navigated many ups and downs on the road to building successful enterprises.
Charles Dunst, AuthorDefeating the Dictators
Defeating the Dictators: How Democracy Can Prevail in the Age of the Strongman
18 | STORIZEN MAGAZINE MAY 2023
What inspired you to write a book on defeating dictators, and what sets your approach apart from other authors in the field?
My experience living and traveling to autocracies like Cambodia, Hungary, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates inspired me to write this book I wanted to explore why people are attracted to some form of autocracy, and how to counter that impulse. Most importantly, I wanted my book to offer solutions – rather than just detail the problem, as many other books have done
How do you define a successful democratization strategy, and what key elements must be present to ensure its success?
Legitimacy is based on performance, meaning that democracies must perform to win public support If Americans, Brits, Hungarians, and others do not feel like their democracies are delivering, they will be more open to new visions – like autocracy. That is in many ways what happened in Hungary The key elements of democracy, in my view, are strong meritocracies, accountable systems, and a trustworthy government. The government’s ability to deliver on issues like human capital and infrastructure –which is critical to democracy – will flow from having a meritocratic, accountable, and trusted system
You mention the importance of civil society organizations in creating a robust and sustainable democratic movement. Could you elaborate on how these organizations can be most effective in achieving their goals?
I think most people are motivated by economics – they want money in their pockets, and are less concerned with ideological issues like “democracy versus autocracy ” I think civil society organizations would be wise to speak more towards these economic issues, and connect economic development with governance improvements in areas including transparency and accountability
You argue that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for deposing dictators. Can you give examples of successful and unsuccessful approaches and explain why they worked or failed?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to strengthening democracy I think the United States is currently trending in the right direction, with the CHIPS and Inflation Reduction Act being important efforts to boost human capital, for instance But many countries – including the United States, India, and the United Kingdom – have a longer way to go on issues like accountability and meritocracy.
In your research, what surprised you the most about the challenges faced by those fighting against authoritarian regimes, and how can these challenges be overcome?
I was most surprised by the fact that many authorizing governments – like those in Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam – enjoy extremely high levels of public support. Trust is clearly no longer just a privilege of democratic countries That is a fundamental change from the previous era of autocracies, in which governments simply repressed their people into accepting the regime Many autocracies do still do that, but some of the more functional ones have won real public support by delivering for their people
With democracy seeming to be in decline globally, what gives you hope for the future of democracy, and how can we ensure its survival and success in the years to come?
Democracies have a remarkable track record of rejuvenation Our societies produce the world’s best innovations; our systems encourage positive feedback mechanisms that can prompt improved governance. But we will have to work for it. Democracy does not function without active, democratic citizens Faith in democracy is not the problem, but faith in its automatic functioning is
STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 19 MAY 2023
You draw on a variety of historical case studies, current political events, and personal interviews with influential people in democratic movements. Could you share any particularly memorable or impactful conversations you had during your research?
Singapore’s development is so central to the book because it is so unique. The country has no natural resources and became the powerful, rich country it is today by having an authoritarian government that invested in its people Certainly, democracies should not become autocracies like Singapore, but we can look at some of the citystate’s successes to make our democracies work even better And because our systems are more open and transparent, we can make our systems more meritocratic, more accountable, and overall more functional than any autocracy ever could.
What message do you hope readers will take away from your book, and how do you hope it will inspire action to support democracy around the world?
I hope that "Defeating the Dictators" will encourage governments and companies to invest in the institutions and communities vital to democracy – to invest in us, so that we, the people powering the democracies of the world, can believe in democracy enough to lay claim to the future on its behalf.
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Interview RiksundarBanerjee,Author -HauntedPlacesofIndia
What inspired you to explore the haunted places of India and write a book about them?
Haunted a term is linked mostly with horror Horror rather than fear is a basic emotion of the human mind. Everybody’s fear is unique and they react differently in each situation When I started researching the genre of horror, I found that haunted places or the horror associated with haunted places stands as a collective emotion. The stories of these places somewhere are orally narrated, found mishaps in some places, some are rumors The incidents or myths are deep reflections of society There are basic differences between horror when an individual commits suicide in a mansion and a mass death of labor in mines So haunted places attracted me to explore more social truths and the class characters in the mirror of horror
Could you share one particularly chilling or memorable experience you had while visiting one of these haunted locations?
Frankly speaking, I don’t believe in ghosts but I do believe in ghostliness. I enjoy the echo of voidness The empty silent classroom or laboratories, historical places with the shadow of bloodbaths, and the old constructions at night all have silent languages. I felt that eeriness. Somebody was there and nobody is there - this gap of non-existence is something I tried to find So I had a different experience of eeriness related to sound and vision while traveling to these places.
How did you go about collecting the legends, facts, and oral tales from various sources? Did you encounter any challenges during the research process?
1 I selected the places in this book that have a socio / political angle There are some historical places that witnessed conspiracies, blood baths and untrustworthiness. Some places carry the darker sides of the human mind crimes and tortures took place there Some places are the representation of neo-urban society For collecting facts or legends I worked on the local tales, interviewed local people, and talked with some journalists and police personnel
The most challenging part was writing the facts which I heard from different sources The incidents I wrote about are neither experienced by me nor I believe everything. But the places have their own language of horror. So creating the ambiance was the most challenging part for me
Can you describe a haunted place in India that stands out to you as particularly intriguing or unique in its history and ghostly stories?
There are more than one places that are intriguing and have a historical background National Library, Farrukhnagar Fort, and Shaniwar Wada Fort are the places. Hastings House in Kolkata and Bhangad Fort in Rajasthan are not listed in this book but are rich in history I found tunnel no 33 in Shimla is a very interesting one because the establishment of the Railway path, British rule, and the saddened history of Coronel Borong made this place haunted
In your book, you mention the darker aspects of human nature often associated with tragic historical events. Could you provide an example of a location where these aspects are prominent, and how it has shaped the haunting legends?
Horror is connected with blood, brutality, and a haunted past There are different color shades in the human mind Some places had a history of human cruelty. Some murders and tortures took place there and made those places haunted. But I found the severity of cruelty or the darker side associated with haunted places is Meghalaya's Noh Ka Likai false’s backstory This incident was a real one and its effect haunts me most. A father brutally killed his child and cooked the corpse. This was insane
The book covers different types of haunted places across various regions in India. Which type of location fascinated you the most during your exploration, and why?
Yes, the forty places in this book are from different parts of the country. Some are from the rural belt, and some are from urban India. Some places are lonely mansions and houses and some places are like cinema halls and industrial belts
STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 23 MAY 2023
So working over so many different types of places I found the haunting stories of educational institutions most interesting. The campuses or hostels are lively places throughout the day The sounds and cacophonies come down with the time after the classes The tales related to educational campuses have a continuous journey year after year through new batches I enjoyed writing about these places because the horror among youth or students is most impactful due to their conflict with prejudices.
The writing style of your book is engaging and immersive, transporting readers to these haunted places. How did you approach creating the eerie atmosphere and vivid descriptions that keep readers on edge?
Personally, I believe there is no ghost but ghostliness is there. Writing horror is the art of building the plot. The illusions, the subtle hints, and the delicate touches which rise with a gradual pace are the key factors of horror writing I just tried to narrate the stories step by step gradually revealing the main incidents. Another interesting part of this book is the geographical situation of the places We can read this one as a travelogue as well One who is interested in exploring new places can pick up any spot from this book. So readers are also getting the flavor of traveling from this book.
The inclusion of photographs in the book adds to the captivating experience. Can you share an instance where a photograph helped bring a particular haunted location to life and enhance the readers' understanding of it?
There are no photographs in this book but I collected a lot while travelling.
Some readers might question the lack of historical or factual evidence in the book, relying more on popular myths and legends. How would you respond to those who seek more academic rigor in exploring haunted places?
I did my Ph D research based on the uncanny in literature: evolutions and transformations. This book is a kind of fiction based on local stories, myths, and conventional facts I tried to explore the haunted places’ socio-economic nature and compiled the places from different statuses I believe each and every ‘ facts and evidence’ of paranormal activities are some kind of tale. Rather than giving this book a hardcore academic flavor I wanted to keep the flavor of storytelling.
What would you say is the cultural significance of haunted places in India, and how does your book contribute to understanding this aspect?
Like every other culture, the horror culture of India is diverse and represents the deep truths of the society Different types of ghosts divided by class, and gender tell the oppression of humanity. Basically, in many cases, ghosts or haunted places tell something which is not morally justified I covered the places in this book that tell us about different types of horror, different shades of human minds, and different types of oppression of women. These places are from different parts of the country and the hauntings are unique as well
24 | STORIZEN MAGAZINE MAY 2023
9 Books to Read This Mental Health Awareness Month, May 2023
By Ankur R Gupta
HelloMay 12:00 Saturday,May20
Are We Responsible for Making Our Children Digital Addicts?
You wouldn’t give a shot of whiskey to a crying child, right? Then why is it ok to hand him or her an addictive phone? — Chetan Bhagat
disorders, anger, and other behavioral issues, among children and teenagers The direct interactions among the kids have reduced as they are more comfortable talking to each other through texts and chats, where no one can observe their reactions Such children hesitate to connect directly with the real world and like being in their virtual world. Moreover, more hours on the screen hugely impact their ability to focus.
As a society, we have become increasingly reliant on technology, and nowhere is this more evident than in the way we raise our children
From a young age, we are giving our children access to smartphones and tablets, and as they grow older, we are allowing them to spend more and more time on these devices While there are benefits to using technology but it’s lethal to get consumed by it Once addicted, it is not we but technology that starts consuming us. And this is becoming so apparent in our youth, particularly among children, who are facing many mental and health issues due to the overdose of these narcotic smartphones
According to the National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2021 data published in TOI, Bengaluru stands among the highest cities for addiction to phones among children As per the data, 73% of kids in the age group- 2 years to 8 years have access to mobile phones. And this further increases to 88% in higher secondary school(class 10)
Another survey was conducted, by the physicians, of JK Lone Hospital, Jaipur, postpandemics, in major cities of Rajasthan and a few metro cities of India The results, distinctively, indicated that the screen time among children on the phone increased 2–3 times ( from 1–2 hours per day to 4–5 hours per day)
The Concern -
The common concern shared by most child psychologists and pediatricians is that this addiction has led to a tremendous rise in weight issues, headaches, eye pain, poor academic performance, anxiety, sleeping
Therefore, child specialists are urging parents to keep a watch, on their kid’s screen time
So, who is responsible for making our Children Digital Addicts? Is it us, the parents, or technology?
Well, the answer is we as parents are to an extent responsible for it, says the team of experts studying this pattern.
As parents, we believe we can make them understand only through preaching.
Preaching has short life unless Preacher should action it through practice We are making our children addicted to phones because we are not modeling healthy behavior ourselves. Many parents are just as addicted to their phones as their children And, this conveys a message that technology is more important than personal relationships or other activities. It’s easy to blame technology for all their problems. But have we ever stopped to think that maybe, just maybe, we’re the ones to blame?
If we’re not modeling healthy behavior ourselves, how can we expect our kids to do the same? It’s like the old saying goes, “Monkey see, monkey do ” And let me tell you, our little monkeys are watching our every move. So, what message do you think we're sending if we’re constantly checking our phones during dinner or scrolling through social media instead of engaging with our kids? It’s no wonder they’re addicted to their phones. We’re addicted to ours too! Sure, there are times when we need to be available on the phone, but let’s be honest, most of the time we’re just mindlessly scrolling
STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 27 MAY 2023
Let’s take a step back and re-evaluate our behavior before we start pointing fingers at our kids. It’s time to break the cycle and show them that there’s more to life than a screen
As parents, we believe that a phone is given to a Child to engage them in productive activities to cut down their boredom
One of the main reasons why we are making our children addicted to phones is that we are using technology as a way to keep them ‘just occupied’ In today’s fast-paced world, we parents are often too busy to spend quality time with our children, so we turn to technology as a way to keep them entertained But have you ever paused to think about what that might be doing to our kids?
Aren’t they missing out on some seriously essential social skills because we’re too busy shoving a screen in their face? We’re depriving them of the chance to develop the social skills such as communication, empathy, and cooperation that are going to be so important for them for healthy human relationships and meaningful life
Think about it when was the last time you saw a group of kids playing outside without a phone in sight? It’s like they don’t even know how to interact with each other anymore My little nephew, for example, is only eight years old, and he can’t go more than 5 minutes without checking his phone And it’s not just him, I see it everywhere I go. At the park, in restaurants, even in school! These kids are missing out on so much because they’re too busy scrolling through or playing games It’s like they’re in their little world, and nothing else matters It’s like they’re physically attached to them. Isn’t all this alarming?
At the age when our children should be curious enough to explore the world around them, they are knowing the world through a digital eye. So, don’t be surprised that one day your child comes and tells you that he or she need not learn ethics and morals from you because- I have my ‘Google Baba’ to guide me.
So, maybe it’s time to put down the phone and talk to each other Indulge with them in reading books,
playing indoor and outdoor games. Let’s give our kids the chance to learn how to interact with each other in the real world, instead of just through a screen
Let the kid do what they want to do without any set guidelines
Another reason why we are making our children addicted to phones is that we are not setting clear boundaries around their use I mean, let’s be real here Kids and phones? It’s a recipe for disaster And if you don’t set any boundaries? Forget about it. They’ll be addicted faster than you can say “Snapchat And who can blame them? With all the games, social media, and endless scrolling, it’s no wonder they’re hooked
But as parents, it’s our job to set limits and teach them that there’s a time and a place for everything And that includes phone usage Because if we don’t, we’re just setting them up for a lifetime of addiction and dependency.
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In a nutshell, take a pause and scroll up and highlight any point that as a parent, you are not aware of. I bet you won’t be finding any such line As a parent, we are very much aware of- the Angel and Devil aspect of technology but still shy away from safeguarding our family and children as harm is not immediately visible. And, we are happy to play ignorant as we see a child smiling while engaging with a gadget Even though that few seconds smile may turn into a disastrous addiction, that will have painful effects in the long run.
Ankur R Gupta - I'm a blogger, an author, and a certified content creator. My writings revolve around the simple motto “Write to bring Smile” I believe in understanding behavioral aspects of human life linked with their different phases and then ink my words about them in a simplified way to spin out positivity and purpose associated with them
A hardcore history enthusiast and traveler. I love to read & explore our ancient cultures and civilizations
My reading page is inkmyword -the reader community.
STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 29 MAY 2023
One of the main reasons why we are making our children addicted to phones is that we are using technology as a way to keep them ‘just occupied’
As parents, let’s help this new generation to understand the meaning of a Real Smile than the Fake ones of Hashtags and Emojis.
MIRACLES OF NATURE
BY SREELEKHA CHATTERJEE
Our rowboat sails lazily through the narrow, meandering creeks and channels of the Sundarbans, maneuvering the low, jutting out branches of the coastal mangrove trees, with the mid-day sun playing hide and seek through the emerald forest, unfolding an astonishing world before me.
The boat rows on through the labyrinth of the channels, with dense foliage of the salt-tolerant mangrove forest spreading over miles deep, almost impenetrable, secretive and growing by the side of the coast and edges of the delta formed by the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal. The Sundari tree (meaning “beautiful” in Bengali), after which the place gets its name, is the dominant mangrove tree species of the Sundarbans of India and Bangladesh Sundarbans is a cluster of islands, constantly made and remade along the banks by the incoming and outgoing tides, forming the largest block of littoral forests
Awe-struck, I stare at the tall, hardy Sundari trees, with elliptical leaves which form an unbroken canopy, while keora trees with long, cone-shaped aerial roots, line along one of the shores and their drooping branches lean over the calm water A horizontal network of cable roots gives the trees support while the aerial roots take in oxygen and sustain entire underground ecosystems beneath them Monkeys and deer eagerly consume the keora leaves and their sour fruits
STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 31 MAY 2023
The peaceful, unique nature surrounding divine and bright helps me to relax and unwind and takes my mind off the hustle and bustle of my city life My eyes feast on the magnificent scenic beauty rich treasure of flora and fauna that nature has bestowed.
I can see estuarine crocodiles basking in the sun on the river banks I have heard that at the salty edges of the islands thrive water monitor lizards, and mudskippers. A migratory, scattered flock of brownwinged kingfishers fly over our boat. The atmosphere is filled with the symphony created by the chirping of a variety of colorful birds, probably snipes, herons, coots, yellow lags, and sandpipers My eyes wander around in search of the majestic being and celebrated resident, the world-famous Royal Bengal tiger
“Sir, if you are lucky, you’ll get to see a tiger ” The boatman says, strangely reading my thoughts.
I strain my eyes in a desperate attempt to spot a shiny, striped yellow coat hidden amongst the dense vegetation The thickets of the lethal bushes appear to be hiding someone. The short, squat, palm-like mangrove leaves, also called tiger palm, appear to be slightly tinted with yellow and red at the edges, providing a perfect cover, and camouflaging the royal beast The dark, dense jacket of the green barrier can protect anything from being seen.
“The coastal mangrove forest experiences high and low tides, twice a day ” The boatman says, pointing toward the sandy shores of the islands I notice that the tide has receded exposing the wet, sparkling shores of sandbars that appeared to be like floating forests a couple of hours ago An incredible, concealed-woody world of tangled roots an active, underground network that’s visible during low tide resembling the wobbly, crookedness of elderly folks, makes an appearance.
As we ride along further down the delta, we notice a swarm of people on a shore with not-so-dense vegetation, probably villagers, carrying a Royal Bengal tiger upside down, its limbs securely fastened with tight, jute ropes onto two wooden sticks placed on four human shoulders The dark brownish-black stripes on the tiger’s yellowish-orange, 9-feet long body are prominent even from a distance, giving it a
majestic appearance. A group of spectators bearing with untiring enthusiasm, making strange noises, follow them, peering over one another’s shoulders with nervous, bewildered eyes Disturbed by the commotion, a collared kingfisher resting on a high branch takes flight spreading its blue wings in the refreshing air
“The tiger has become a man-eater ” The boatman says raising his eyebrows, observing the inquisitive look in my eyes, beholding the royal beauty, one of God’s finest creations The Royal Bengal tiger has a healthy prey base of spotted deer, wild boar, rhesus macaque, monitor lizards, other reptiles, frogs, and fish found in this region. Why on earth will he become a man-eater?
The boatman narrates the folklore of Bonbibi Legend says that Bonbibi, the deity of the forest, saves and protects the people of the Sundarbans from the tyranny of Dakshin Rai (half-man, half-tiger; a god/king who rules over beasts of the jungle, or a demon rival of the revered Bonbibi) who stalks, kills, and devours human beings Both Hindu and Muslim mythologies have mingled here, religious differences have dissolved, and communal harmony prevails, as people of both faiths worship the goddess jointly to ward off the peril in the form of a wild cat Small temples have been set up along the river banks where the goddess Bonbibi is worshipped along with Dakshin Rai. In these places of worship, the chants of “Ma Bonbibi, Allah, Allah!” and “Baba Dakshin Rai, Hari, Hari!” blend naturally, as both the communities unitedly pay obeisance before venturing into the jungle for subsistence. Their daily livelihood involves collecting honey, gathering wood; catching crabs, prawns, and fish
“Where are you taking him?” I ask in Bangla, the local language, pointing towards the sleeping being, exhibiting child-like innocence.
“It has entered our area That’s why the Forest department has tranquilized. We are taking it to the nearby jungle.” One of the locals says.
“If we enter a tiger’s abode, we are bound to land up in its stomach If it moves into our land, how can we leave it?” says another.
I wonder whether it’s our territory that he has entered or the other way around, as humans are
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encroaching on the habitat of the wild animals, depredating the forests, and in turn, endangering our own survival. Suddenly, the tiger shows signs of movement, while his eyes still remain closed. I see his lips parting, exposing the white teeth, and his bosom panting rapidly, suddenly arising from the forced slumber Fear laden, the bearers hurriedly dump the wooden sticks carrying the animal and run inland, along with others who have gathered to witness the occasion of transferring the big cat to a new home, a wilderness unknown to him The tiger wakes up with a start and tries to free himself He looks up and notices us at a distance of about three to four feet away in the boat. I gaze at the majestic being, with mouth agape, unable to move a limb mesmerized by his glittering eyes with an unblinking stare Terrified, trying hard to stifle a scream, I remember that he is a uniquely aquatic creature an expert long-distance swimmer, who hunts skillfully and strategically, both on land and in water I feel beads of perspiration on my forehead My clothes suddenly feel wet with sweat and tears running down my face The boatman motions me to sit down, remain calm, and don’t make any noise. I remember all the gods and goddesses whom I had and hadn’t prayed for in my lifetime Being an inhabitant of the world for just a few more minutes, stationed at the threshold of life and death, my entire life flashes before me in an instant. I recall the faces of my loving wife, and my five-year-old son, engulfed in grief and sorrow, sodden with tears The tiger flashes its canine which sets into action and frees himself from the clutches of the rope tied onto his limbs. Anxiously, I await the consequence of the antecedence initiated by the menfolk, which I observed on the land a little while ago I kneel down in the boat, surrendering myself to the fate that is slowly approaching me it’s a misty, unclear face so abrupt and shocking to me. The animal appears to be magnificent and graceful even at the advent of our death
The king of the forest looks at us for the one last time, before averting his eyes, and saunters toward the dense vegetation, a little away from the shore. He seems to have realized the unsaid agreement between humans and other inhabitants dependent on the forest to respect each other’s requirements, keeping in mind that nothing more should be extracted than what is needed to survive and to live a life of peaceful coexistence It is perhaps time for the humans to understand it as well
Sreelekha Chatterjee’s short stories have been published in various national, and international magazines and journals like Indian Periodical, Femina, Indian Short Fiction, eFiction India, The Criterion, The Literary Voyage, World of Words, Writer’s Ezine, and Estuary, and have been included in numerous print and online anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul series (Westland Ltd, India), Wisdom of Our Mothers (Familia Books, USA), and several others. She lives in New Delhi, India.
You can connect with her on Facebook at facebook com/sreelekha chatterjee 1/,
Twitter -@sreelekha001, and Instagram @sreelekha2023
STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 33 MAY 2023
50 Captivating Lives by H.D. Sharma Droupadi Murmu: From Tribal Hinterlands to Raisina Hill by Kasturi Ray
"50 Captivating Lives" by H D Sharma is an excellent anthology that goes beyond the well-known, captivating lives of those who shaped and transformed India. Though everyone is well versed in most of them, reading historical people's biographies rather than
those people's stories who created History offer valuable insights and benefits By learning from their experiences, understanding historical context, and gaining perspective and empathy, you can grow personally and develop a deeper understanding of human nature These biographies inspire and motivate, enhancing historical literacy and appreciation for cultural contributions The book "50 Captivating Lives" by H D Sharma also includes compelling and significant lives overshadowed by more dominant names in popular culture and media.
H.D. Sharma is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Fulbright scholarship. He has worked as a librarian and taught library science at universities in India and abroad. He was educated at the universities of Punjab, Delhi, and Michigan. He has authored several books that showcase influential personalities around the world. In this book, Among the captivating lives explained, hidden treasures are brimming with new mysteries and information for the readers to explore further Through these stories, readers can connect with the past, broaden their knowledge, and apply the lessons learned to life and understanding the world The individuals featured in this book have profoundly shaped our country into what it is today They fought tirelessly for India's freedom from British rule and set us on a trajectory of growth and success, which we continue to enjoy. These remarkable individuals can be described as captivating, not solely due to their popularity, but because they deserve our gratitude and respect.
This anthology is a tribute to their courage, altruism, and ability to inspire and nurture future influential thinkers and leaders.
"Droupadi Murmu: From Tribal Hinterlands to Raisina Hills chronicles the extraordinary journey of a tribal girl who defied all odds and emerged as a symbol of resilience, determination, and grit The book is published by Rupa Publications and written by Author Kasturi Ray. She
delves into Murmu's life, recounting her remarkable achievements from her humble beginnings in the village of Uparbeda in Odisha's Mayurbhanj district to her historic appointment as the first female President of India. Through interviews, data available and meticulous analysis, Ray follows Murmu's path as she navigates through school, college, and various roles such as a teacher, social worker, councilor, minister, governor of Jharkhand, and ultimately the leader of the nation The book is divided into seven chapters Each chapter defines the stages in Murmu's life The book also mentions the many things the public isn't aware of Author Kasturi Ray in the narrative, highlights Murmu's ability to triumph over personal tragedy and recommit herself to serving the marginalized and underprivileged Droupadi Murmu is a live embodiment of the 'never give up' mentality. She is also one of the most humble women today's generation has witnessed. As hundreds of TV networks broadcasted the announcement of her candidature as the NDA's (National Democratic Alliance) Presidential candidate, her modest and friendly attitude remained constant, and she proceeded to wash the floors of a Shiv Temple, as she did every day. Droupadi's childhood ideals and subsequent political ambitions were always modest Still, they were thwarted by her conservative neighborhood, which did not believe it was right for a woman to leave the house She stated in an interview with the TV show 'Ek Mulakat that she merely intended to study, acquire a regular job, and financially support her family This inspiring book portrays Murmu as a tenacious fighter, unwavering believer, and ultimate victor, leaving behind indelible footprints in the annals of time. The foreword by an iron lady - Kiran Bedi, adds more power to the book.
At this juncture, this book is highly recommended to all women, young and old, and others.
34 | STORIZEN MAGAZINE MAY 2023 STORIZEN REVIEW
I Have Autism, And I Like To Play Good Bad Tennis by
Parenting autistic children needs a distinct strategy emphasising comprehension, patience, and adaptability Parents must educate themselves on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and its many traits and remain current on the newest research and therapy. Providing a
supportive and regulated environment for autistic children may be beneficial, with clear routines and visual timetables helping predictability. Effective communication methods, such as visual aids or social storytelling, can improve comprehension and decrease anxiety. Celebrating and nurturing autistic children's abilities and interests while providing appropriate accommodations and therapies can help them thrive and realize their full potential And therefore, World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognized day on April 2 that encourages United Nations Member States to take action to promote awareness of autistic people worldwide In his book, "I Have Autism, and I Like to Play Good Bad Tennis," Debashis Paul provides readers with a poignant glimpse into the lives of parents raising autistic children. The title "I" represents his late son Noel, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of three and a half and sadly passed away at 26. Through this book, Paul invites us into the world of his son and the grandson of the renowned Indian actor-director Utpal Dutt, shedding light on Noel's unique journey as an individual diagnosed with the autism spectrum. I have friends and relatives whose kids are diagnosed with ASD It was a different experience and situation to accept, but when the mothers and fathers of the kids I know embraced them with such love and affection, most importantly, the normalcy they rendered in comforting the kids made me empathetic My interactions with people with Autism Spectrum Disorder have been really good In general, persons with disabilities want what any other human wants: to be understood and appreciated.
This book by Paul has nurtured my mind with positivity and compassion.
Nadeem Zaman's novel "The Inheritors" skilfully navigates a gripping tale delving into the complexity of relationships buried in half-truths inside a world driven by power and privilege. Zaman presents a vivid and engaging portrayal of a city and its citizens
coping with significant upheavals and perplexing issues with deft writing After nearly three decades abroad, Nisar Chowdhury returns to Bangladesh, his boyhood home, to sell his father's ancestral land Despite his distancing from nostalgia and his family's history, Nisar's visit to Dhaka is greeted warmly by his cousin Disha but lukewarmly by his father's lawyer, Mr Ehsan. Meanwhile, his wealthy neighbour, Gazi, is interested in purchasing the entire estate, prompting Nisar to investigate a complicated past between Gazi and his cousin. Nisar becomes involved in a web of intrigue as he immerses himself in the lives of Dhaka's wealthy elite, questioning his cousin's participation in Gazi's intentions for the land Nisar is greeted warmly upon his arrival in Dhaka by his elder cousin, Disha, with whom he had a boyhood infatuation The faithful family retainers and other friends also show their hospitality, but Nisar notes his father's longtime lawyer, Mr Ehsan, gives a cold greeting Furthermore, Gazi, Nisar's wealthy and kind neighbour who had earlier acquired a section of the land, has expressed interest in purchasing the entire estate. Nisar is intrigued by the issue and discovers a tangled past between Gazi and his cousin, where truth is brutal amidst Dhaka's abundance of rumour. "The Inheritors" is a delightful book that covers a wide range of themes in a short amount of time. It deftly juxtaposes the past and present, diving into complicated connections while portraying a realistic image of life in Bangladesh, which, despite substantial differences in in-laws and the portrayal of journalists as just conduits for those in power, has an uncanny resemblance to its Indian counterpart
The people in the plot are beautifully developed, and the pacing is masterfully accomplished, ensuring there is never a dull or sluggish time.
STORIZENREVIEW STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 35 MAY 2023
The Inheritors by Nadeem Zaman
The Return Of Faraz Ali by Aamina Ahmad All Those Who Wander by Kiran Manral
The story starts in Lahore on 8th November 1968. Faraz, along with other police officers from Anarkali Police Station, were on winding streets and then were somewhere near Mochi Gate. The sound of the riot, though distant, was heard. He sensed the nerves of his officers, too,
as they lined up next to him "The Return of Faraz Ali" is a captivating debut novel by Aamina Ahmad that spans Pakistan's historical backdrop, from the end of World War II to the establishment of Bangladesh Faraz is the son of Wajid, a renowned politician, and Firdous, a prostitute who lives in Mohalla, Lahore's walled red-light district Faraz was taken away from the Mohalla at five by his father, who claimed it was for his good. On the other hand, Wajid never officially recognized Faraz as his son, ignoring the emotional toll of abruptly removing him from his mother, Firdous, and his half-sister, Rozina. Instead, Faraz was placed in the care of distant relatives with less authority. When Faraz ultimately became a police officer, Wajid felt his mission complete. Faraz returns to the old city as an adult in 1968, working as a cop, to investigate the death of a young lady who worked as a mujra, a prostitute, and was last seen with one of Lahore's most influential politicians Wajid decided to collect Faraz's "debt" to him He requested him to oversee a special inquiry into the "accidental killing" of a 12-yearold prostitute in the Mohalla Faraz's return to the Mohalla elicits deep recollections and emotions, influencing the investigation's outcome. The book begins with an explanatory pulse about a death coverup. From this moment, the narrative develops into a mosaic of self-discovery in a complex society.
With her writing skills and story-telling expertise, this debut book by Aamina Ahmad is highly recommended to view the world from a different set of spectacles.
"All Those Who Wander" by Kiran Manral takes readers on an enchanting and mind-expanding odyssey through the boundless realms of space and time. With its captivating premise, this book seamlessly merges science fiction, horror, romance, philosophy, and
thriller genres, delivering a refreshing perspective that breaks free from traditional Indian writing At the heart of the story is Ana, the protagonist who possesses the uncanny ability to traverse time and space involuntarily whenever she gazes upon her reflection in a mirror. Relentlessly thrust into her own past and future, she embarks on a journey across multiverses, encountering diverse versions of herself. Desperate to alter her fate, Ana courageously plucks one version of herself from one universe and transplants it into another. The narrative intricately weaves together the lives of Ana's different iterations in a nonlinear fashion, creating a tapestry of interconnected chapters. Manral's empathetic and intense narration immediately captures the readers' attention, immersing them in a world of astounding prose from the very first chapter Throughout the book, she skillfully interlaces memorable passages that delve into the profound nature of time and its fluidity Beyond its exploration of time travel, "All Those Who Wander" delves into the intricate dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship through the character of Ana's mother, Mandira, a deeply nuanced figure. Other pivotal characters, including Aman, Sukanya, Saachi, and Ana's father, also play crucial roles in the unfolding narrative. In conclusion, "All Those Who Wander" is an entrancing novel that follows the journey of a time-traveling woman plagued by profound mental health challenges stemming from a traumatic past. Seamlessly blending multiple genres, it offers readers a distinctive and unparalleled reading experience that will captivate them from the opening page to the closing line
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone seeking a fresh and exceptional literary adventure.
36 | STORIZEN MAGAZINE MAY 2023 STORIZEN REVIEW
A Dalliance with Destiny by Aman Singh Maharaj
Aman Singh Maharaj's "A Dalliance with Destiny" explains the interesting life journey of Milan Gansham, a complicated individual striving for purpose in an uncertain world. The story, set across a century in South Africa and India, examines Milan's effort to preserve transparency amid
a meaningless existence Character development is a strong point in the book Milan Gansham is a complex and well-developed character Milan displays outstanding attributes like intelligence, ambition, and fiery independence His shortcomings and self-destructive impulses, though, are equally apparent Milan suffers the repercussions of his actions since he is prone to rage and makes rash judgments. Despite his flaws, he is a likable figure who elicits the reader's sympathy in his journey for self-discovery. This is the book's key selling point. The novel's setting and the ideas it addresses are both excellent. The tale takes place against the backdrop of South Africa's turbulent past. Milan's trip is impacted by the country's haunting apartheid heritage, leading him to confront prejudice and inequality However, A Dalliance with Destiny is more than just a political commentary on South Africa; it also delves into the universal human experience of seeking meaning and purpose in life Aside from the compelling narrative and intriguing tale, the writing style and execution stand out The prose throughout the story is lovely, with Maharaj's lyrical writing contributing to its attraction Each line is meticulously created to immerse readers in the vivid settings and feelings depicted. The author's ability to conjure a feeling of time and location is outstanding, creating a rich backdrop for Milan's trip. This is another notable strength of the book. "A Dalliance with Destiny" is a gripping and thought-provoking tale that holds readers' attention from beginning to end.
This book is a must-read for individuals looking for an entertaining and reflective experience, thanks to its well-developed characters, the study of universal themes, and the flawless incorporation of historical background.
"The Hundred Million Bet" by Atul Koul Randev is an engaging story that immerses readers in the mysterious world of high-stakes poker and dangerous friendships. The story-plot centres around Caesar, who is a wise and ambitious protagonist. He wins a hundred
million Euros in an underground poker game His victory, however, is a two-sided coin since the Mafia leader he vanquished seeks a rematch Caesar is now faced with a difficult choice: sacrifice all he has worked for, including his riches and the life of his estranged sister, or walk away and face the consequences During his decision-making process, Caesar must battle his demons and the merciless Maurya, who attempts to repay a debt. With his life and fortune on the line, Caesar must move cautiously, avoiding any mistakes that might cost him everything. Readers go through Caesar's history as the tale unfolds, experiencing his encounter with longsuppressed demons and his mortality. The merciless Maurya hides in the shadows, anxiously awaiting the moment to collect a debt. The tangible tension between these two characters keeps readers on the edge of their seats, waiting to see who will triumph "The Hundred Million Bet" is an exciting novel that flawlessly integrates suspense, action, and significant emotional depth, keeping readers engrossed until the final page The author of "The Hundred Million Bet," Atul Koul Randev, has a gift for crisp and vivid writing that readily draws readers into the plot The carefully intertwined motivations and captivating backstories of the precisely built characters provide depth and complexity to the tale. The novel is compelling for fans of suspense, action, and thrillers due to its superb examination of topics such as loyalty, betrayal, and redemption.
This story comes highly recommended to anybody looking for a unique and thrilling reading experience with an elaborately knit plot, wellrounded characters, and pulse-pounding tension.
STORIZENREVIEW STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 37 MAY 2023
The Hundred Million Bet by Atul Koul Randev
Book Lovers by Emily Henry Evoked by Mansi Babbar
A colourful and lovely love story is always a perfect formula for readers who enjoy romance novels. It's much better if the plot involves books, editors, literary agencies, bookstores, etc This book will reach the top of a voracious reader's extensive list of TBR books
Emily Henry's novel "Book Lovers" should not be overlooked. Emily Henry's "Book Lovers" is a charming and touching romance tale that expertly conveys the journey of two people looking for their way back to love Nora Stephens, a skilled literary agent in New York City, and Charlie Lastra, a surly editor in a tiny North Carolina hamlet, are central to the plot Both are dealing with past hurts and misgivings about love, and they are unexpectedly pulled together to work on a book project Despite their initial reluctance, an obvious connection develops, prompting them to wonder if they are fated to be together Henry's writing expertly blends comedy, tenderness, and romance, leaving readers with an impression long after the final page. The author exhibits her storytelling skill by creating well-developed and relatable characters that readers can't help but cheer for. The voyage of Nora and Charlie is loaded with interesting story twists and suspenseful moments, making the reading experience extremely compelling. Henry's lovely and poetic writing style distinguishes Book Lovers Her writings provoke emotions and portray vivid situations, enriching the reading experience Furthermore, the work dives into profound love, sorrow, and redemption themes, giving the story depth and profundity While the novel's pace feels sluggish and the finale appears hurried, the real fun and satisfaction obtained from Book Lovers much transcend any minor flaws Henry's ability to craft a thought-provoking and well-written narrative makes it a must-read for anybody looking for a feel-good romance novel.
Book Lovers is a bookworm's dream, with a wonderful combination of comedy, heart, and romance. Emily Henry's deft narrative and examination of important issues make for an unforgettable reading experience.
Mansi Babbar's psychological thriller
Evoked takes readers on a riveting journey through the lives of identical twins Sama and Sevita, who reside in the tranquil hamlet of Lavasa While Sevita is popular and friendly, Sama is quiet and shy When
Sevita's body is discovered in her flat, Sama becomes the prime suspect As the authorities investigate the case, a labyrinth of lies and secrets unravels, jeopardizing the twins' family and the entire town of Lavasa. Evoked is an engaging story by Mansi Babbar, brilliantly merging careful writing with an aura of tension that persists throughout. The story dives into serious subjects such as mental health, the intricacies of human emotions, and the difficulties parents experience while trying to understand their children's actions. Furthermore, the novel depicts the adolescent experience intimately, capturing moments of rebellion, first love, and the battle to find one's identity The novel's strength resides in its rich and believable characters and its storyline, which is full of surprising twists and turns The cornerstone of this page-turner is family, secrets, and vengeance, which keeps readers guessing until the last pages The richness of its characters is one of Evoked's most noticeable features Sama and Sevita, two separate characters with opposing personalities, are welldeveloped and sympathetic. Despite their penchant for gloom, the authors inspire empathy for both protagonists. Inspector Mohite, a flawed but committed detective dealing with personal issues, stands out among the supporting cast. The plot of the story is a maze of twists and turns. The story's unexpected plot increases the reader's interest and enthusiasm to find the truth. The novel effectively addresses compelling issues like family relationships, the weight of hidden information, and the devastating force of retribution
Evoked is a fascinating tale that keeps readers guessing until the last reveal. This book is for those who like psychological thrillers and want an engaging and pleasant read.
38 | STORIZEN MAGAZINE MAY 2023 STORIZEN REVIEW
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
"Lessons in Chemistry," Bonnie Garmus' fascinating novel, begins on a riveting journey that challenges conventional expectations and honours the power of women's voices Elizabeth Zott, a bright scientist whose career takes an unexpected turn when she becomes
pregnant, is at the core of the plot She is navigating this new phase of her life as a culinary show presenter, using her platform to offer her unique perspectives on science, feminism, and the complexities of the human condition The compelling storyline of "Lessons in Chemistry" creates a clear picture of the significance of following one's aspirations despite any difficulties they may provide. It serves as a sobering reminder that people may change the world if they follow their interests instead of following the rules of society. Garmus maintains the delicate balance of comedy and poignant moments that characterize the spirit of her novel with wonderfully crafted writing and a cast of welldeveloped characters. The story dives into complicated issues including sexism, parenthood, and the nature of genius, providing readers with a thoughtprovoking look at the human condition The novel's strongest points are its well-developed and approachable characters, a fascinating and thrilling narrative, and the author's lyrical writing style Garmus brings the narrative to life via Elizabeth's voice, merging her expertise as a scientist with accessible humor and empathy. Furthermore, the novel's consideration of subjects like sexism, parenthood, and the intricacies of brilliance adds depth and relevancy. While the novel's pace slows at times and the finale feels hurried, "Lessons in Chemistry" is an engrossing and thought-provoking book that comes highly recommended. Garmus' skilled narrative and study of difficult subjects make this work an engaging and valuable read.
"Lessons in Chemistry" is a literary gem that will resonate with readers long after they've turned the final page. "Lessons in Chemistry" is a must-read for everyone who enjoys a good story.
On a personal note, 2006, the last year of my graduation, was the final time I played video games Then life took a new turn, and the advent of internet games on PCs has become more vigorous Those beautiful times spent with siblings, friends and online friends playing various
video games are just wow! When I heard about this book and the raving reviews where the word video games lingered many times, without any delay, I picked up the book. This was the moment to relive some memories. "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow" is a fascinating novel written in 2022 by Gabrielle Zevin. The story follows Sam Masur and Sadie Green, two university students collaborating as creative partners in video game production They climb to high heights together, attaining both fame and money Their route to success, however, is not without obstacles and challenges "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow" by Gabrielle Zevin transports readers back to the vivid environment of the early 2000s, an era overflowing with the rising appeal of video games We are introduced to the creative game designers Sam Masur and Sadie Green, whose abilities rise to astonishing heights with their maiden work, "Pioneers." Sam and Sadie's brilliance in game design emerges as a force to be reckoned with inside the pages of the narrative. Their natural capacity to envision awe-inspiring virtual environments and fascinating storylines distinguishes them as visionaries in their field. However, success is not without its difficulties Sam and Sadie are under pressure to produce new and unique games and struggle to keep their creative spark alive The work is brilliantly written and has a strong cast of characters Zevin does a wonderful job conveying the passion and energy of the video gaming industry's early days She also investigates the evil side
(Reviewed by Swapna Peri)
STORIZENREVIEW STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 39 MAY 2023
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle
It is highly recommended for anybody searching for a lovely book with a touch of the power of games to bring people together and the importance of establishing one's path in life.
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ARIES MOON SIGN: JUSTICE
This Monthit’s time to get rewards for the good deeds that you had done last month so be prepared to get from Universe Also, if you are fighting for justice in the court for any legal matters, rest assured this month is the right month to get justice
TAURUS MOON SIGN: 8 OF PENTACLES
This Month, Taurus, it’s a month of putting extra efforts in your workplace to get success and appreciation. It also indicates learning new skills to master in your work and gain knowledge
GEMINI MOON SIGN: THE
This month, Gemini you are determined and courageous to fulfil your goals You have a strong will power to achieve your dream. It indicates focused on your work and ready to face any challenges in life
CANCER MOON SIGN: 4 OF SWORDS
This month, Cancer, you need to take rest before you start a new challenge as last month was quite hectic for you So, plan a holiday and just recharge your energy. It also indicates, it’s not the month to take any decision in hurry Just go with the flow
LEO MOON SIGN: 9 OF CUPS
This Month, Leo, all your wishes will be fulfilled as it’s a wish card It is the month of happiness, success, and emotional fulfilment. It also indicates that you are happy with your life and have a gratitude towards the Universe Enjoy to the fullest.
VIRGO MOON SIGN: 6 OF CUPS
This month, Virgo, you will be reliving your childhood memories and feeling nostalgia. Just think of good moments only It also indicates some might be meeting their old friends and enjoying spending time with them It also indicates harmony and joy in your relationship
MOON SIGN: 10 OF SWORDS
This Month, Libra you have stay away from people who might betray you or stab you in the back and which might hurt you. It also indicates a painful ending, or you might reach rock bottom where nothing seems to be okay.
SCORPIO MOON SIGN: KNIGHT OF WANDS
This month Scorpio, you might be very ambitious and passionate about your dreams and working towards achieving your dreams. You are very motivated and focused to pursue your dreams
STORIZEN MAGAZINE | 41 MAY 2023
SAGITTARIUS MOON SIGN: PAGE OF WANDS
This month, Sagittarians, you are very ambitious and have an urge to fulfil your dream and passion You have a clear vision and look for possibilities to fulfil your dreams. It also indicates, your interest in Spiritual journey
CAPRICORN MOON SIGN: 10 OF PENTACLES
This Month, you are financially independent and secured. It also indicates, singles might have committed relationship and they are planning to get married. Also, it indicates success and appreciation in your work
AQUARIUS MOON SIGN: 4 OF WANDS
This Month, Aquarians, It’s the time to celebrate your anniversary or marriage with your family It also indicates, housewarming party or success in your workplace If you want to start something new, it’s the right month.
PISCES MOON SIGN: THE STAR
This month, Pisces you will be hopeful and have faith in the Universe that you are blessed and happy It’s a peaceful month for you with success coming in your doorsteps Some might be bringing significant changes in their life and rediscovering purpose in life
I am Himani Goyal, By profession, I am an HR Manager working in Banglore. Reading is my hobby which led me to write reviews for my readers I have read and reviewed numerous books so far I am also a practicing Tarot consultant and would be sharing daily, weekly, monthly horoscopes for you all here.
42 | STORIZEN MAGAZINE MAY 2023
Rivulets of roots
One over the other
Spreading out in a pattern
The gnarled fingers
Hugging the earth
Not minding the soil
In the crevices
Wrinkled though I may get Wherever in dimension we may be I will hold on to you, Mother So I don’t fall
Or, is it you holding on to me So I don’t fall?
Tree of Life
by Vidya Shankar @vidya.shankar.author
Vidya Shankar, a widely published poet and writer, an English Language teacher, a 'book' in the Human Library, author of two poetry books, and editor of four anthologies, loves experimenting with free verse writing techniques and exploring Japanese poetry forms. She finds meaning in her life through yoga and mandalas.
STORZEN MAGAZINE | 43 MAY 2023
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