Storizen Magazine September 2022 | Anirban Bhattacharyya

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storizen home to your stories

september 2022

Celebrating 4 Years of Storizen!

THE WIZARD OF TRUE CRIME

ANIRBAN BHATTACHARYYA Exclusive Digital Issue For more Columns and features, scan the QR code

Exclusive Feature on PAGE 8



Cover Story The Wizard of True Crime Anirban Bhattacharyya

Brand Partners Aleph Book Company Bloomsbury India Fingerprint Publishing Hachette India

Book Reviews Swapna Peri

Editors Pria Raiyani Saurabh Chawla

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HarperCollinsIndia Pan Macmillan India Penguin India Roli Books Rupa Publications Westland Books

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CONTENTS Editor's Note, p8 Cover Story, p8 The Wizard of True Crime, Anirban Bhattacharya - Text by Pria

hot off the press Hyderabad Book 2 of The Partition Trilogy by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar, p18 HarperCollins India

A Case of Indian Marvels: Dazzling Stories from the Country’s Finest New Writers Edited by David Davidar, p18 Aleph Book Company

Sojourn by Amit Chaudhuri, p19 Penguin Random House

Lady Joker by Kaoru Takamura, p19 Hachette India

arti cles/short stories Forgiveness: What does it mean, p20 Abhrekha Jain Sahlot

Forgiveness - you owe that much to yourself to be Happy Again, p26 Ankur R. Gupta

Catharsis.(To forgive. To be forgiven...), p32 Madhumathi H

Wheeling Through Life, p36 Madhulika Ra Chauhan

Why Authors Should Respond To Fan Mails, p42 Saheb Kaur Nanda

A Home Looking for A Home, p48 Ekta Singh Chandel


CONTENTS Gravitas, p54 Chaturvedi Divi

Reunion - A Short Story, p60 Komal Ishtiaq

I forgive thee, for me, p66 Sumana Bhatta charya

interviews/publishing journeys

I am a Spontaneous Writer with a Disciplined Writing Pro cess, p70 Smita Das Jain

Author Interview: Anupamaa V, p76 Swapna Peri

book reviews Lady, You're the Boss by Apurva Purohit,p82 Swapna Peri

Girls: You Are Forever by Aparna Mukherjee, p85 Swapna Peri

Mumbai Mornings by Poonam A Chawla, p85 Swapna Peri

Banjara by Prin ce Avinash, p90 Swapna Peri

Mis(s)adventures of a Salesgirl by Aashisha Chakraborty, p94 Swapna Peri

Inked in India by Bibek Debroy with Sovan Roy, p97 Swapna Peri

India's Money Heist by Anirban Bhatta charyya, p98 Swapna Peri

Wildlife@50 by Manoj Kumar Misra, p101 Swapna Peri


CONTENTS The Greatest Enemy of Rain Stories by Manu Bhattathiri, p102 Swapna Peri

The Last War by Pravin Sawhney, p105 Swapna Peri

poetry Forgiving, p106 Vidya Shankar

Forgiveness Is The Best Cure For Heart, p108 Aparna Mukherjee

horos cope

Monthly Horos cope: O ctober 2022, p110 Himani Goyal

fun zone

crossword, p114 Storizen

word s cramble, p115 Storizen


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.

T

o forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you, I read this quote by Lewis B. Smedes and thought that how in this life span that is too short, we are becoming prisoners of our own deeds! Inspired by this quote, we at Storizen decided to dedicate the month of September to forgiveness! Seeing crimes happen is one thing and writing about them is another. This month, we are super excited to have The Wizard of True Crime, Anirban Bhattacharyya

on the Cover of Storizen Magazine. After his book, The Deadly Dozen on India's most notorious serial killers, he is back with his latest, India's Money Heist, based on the true story behind one of India's biggest and most sensational bank heists. Check out the Exclusive story on Page 8! Book lovers, there is always a treat for you inside. This month, we bring you a collection of unputdownable books to satiate your reading pangs! Are you a fan of adventure sports? We met amazing stunt masters Aline Carriel Campos and Tales Rodrigo Campos who perform some of the mind blowing motorbike and car stunts. Special feature inside! The cases of sexual harassment has been a cause of concern among working women in India. We got a chance to interview Legal Expert and Author Anupamaa V. discussing the laws and precautionary measures one can take in these circumstances. Check out the exclusive interview inside. Do you reply to fan mails as an author? Saheb Kaur Nanda shares her thoughts as to why Authors should be replying too fan mails. A must read article for all the authors and their fans! What do the stars have for you in the month of October? Don't forget to check out the Monthly Horoscope: October 2022 by Himani Goyal inside! We got lot of submissions and love reading all of your stories and poems. Keep showering your love and support so we can continue to bring on valuable insights for you every month. Happy Reading!

editor@storizen.com Saurabh Chawla, Editor in Chief


COVER STORY


COVER STORY


COVER STORY

THE WIZARD OF TRUE CRIME ANIRBAN BHATTACHARYYA After writing about India's Most Notorious Serial Killers in his book The Deadly Dozen, Anirban Bhattacharyya is back with another true story behind one of India's biggest and most sensational bank heists in his latest, India's Money Heist. In conversation with the Storizen team, he tells us about his journey so far.

Text by Pria

I

t is indeed an honor to have a conversation with you. The first and foremost question is - are you not afraid of crime and the terrors?

The honor is all mine – to be featured by your esteemed magazine for the second time… I am completely stoked. The world of true crime fascinates me – and when I research these stories I feel like an investigator who is slowly digging up the clues and solving the case again, albeit on paper. Like anybody else I too would not want to be mired in criminal activity, or be confronted by or be at the mercy of a criminal. But as a writer I am writing about solved cases. 10

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When did you first find interest in this topic? What was the first book or article on the crime you read? You will be surprised perhaps when I tell you that most of us start reading crime books at the age of 8. The Secret Seven, Famous 5, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew are actually crime stories, aren’t they? Softer crimes no doubt, but crime stories nonetheless! And later I moved on to Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Feluda, and Byomkesh Bakshi.

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At the launch of India's Money Heist

Savdhaan India is one of the most watched and talked about shows. Did any particular case haunt you? How did you compose yourself? Daniel Wallace in his epic novel Big Fish says – ‘when a man’s stories are remembered, then he is immortal.’ Or as Shakespeare wrote in his sonnet – ‘Do thy worst old Time: despite thy wrong, My love shall in my verse ever live young.’ As authors and content creators we are unconsciously leaving behind our creations for future generations. We will be gone in a few years… but our books, paintings, TV shows, music, movies, corporations, and companies all live beyond our human years thus making the artist or the creator immortal, in a vain sort of way. SEPTEMBER 2022

Pic: Anirban with Mohanlal

When did you want to write a novel? How did the genesis happen? Being an English Literature student (St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata) I always wanted to be an author. And though I wanted to debut with fiction. As my creative background was steeped in Savdhaan and true crime – the publisher and of course the author would be able to leverage STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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COVER STORY

that. And the readers would take the book seriously knowing that it is coming from a world of authenticity. Within a week I think, Gurven Chadha, the editor from Penguin got back saying they want to commission the book on the serial killers of India. By God’s grace, it has since, become a No.1 Bestseller and has received amazing reviews and endorsements.

India and abroad to find firstperson accounts of the man and the crimes that he had committed. For my latest book India’s Money Heist, because I was writing and researching the book during the pandemic – it was all done online through hundreds of hours of interviews over video calls, and of course poring through hundreds of pages of legal documents, articles, and more.

Before writing a story, how do you plan the plot? What kind of research happens?

India's Money Heist, your new book, the title is attractive. What made you choose Kerala's bank robbery incident to be your story?

When one is writing non-fiction, research is key. And for me I spend months on end diving through thousands of documents, and legal papers, interviewing people before I start to put a structure down on paper. For example when I wrote about Thug Behram who lived in the 1800’s I had to dive into the historical archives of libraries in

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As a showrunner, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to tell the story of a real-life bank heist. I googled ‘India’s biggest bank robbery’ and there it was on my laptop screen. The Chelembra bank robbery (2007).

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COVER STORY

31st December 2007. New Year's Eve. A sleepy town in Kerala called Chelembra finds itself in the national headlines for India's biggest bank heist to the tune of a whopping Rs 8 crore which included 80 kg of gold. A crime that was supposedly inspired by a Bollywood blockbuster, this is the sensational story of that heist seen from both sides of the coin-the planning and execution by the mastermind criminals, and the difficult, yet thrilling, investigation by the Kerala police team led by P. Vijayan.

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COVER STORY

9 years passed by. In 2020, during the pandemic, I reached out to my erstwhile classmate Rajesh Abraham, who lives in Kochi. All I had was a name: P Vijayan, the man who had solved the case along with his team. I asked him if he could help me get in touch with him. I was pleasantly shocked when he said that he was going to meet the man the next day! That was a moment of serendipity! I think the sheer audacity of the criminals, the perfect planning of the crime, the way the criminals led the police on a wild-goose chase, and the determination of the cops to solve the case – all of these attracted me to tell the story. It is a landmark case solved by the Kerala Police and the country needed to know about this thrilling case.

For me both matter…if one does not build the characters properly – there will be no depth. The reader will not have empathy, sympathy, hate, or love for the character… then it is a wasted effort. The narration matters as it is a crime story – the pacing, the detailing, the research, the authenticity, the humor, the emotions – all of these are crucial elements to building the narrative. And my writing style is very visual. I want the readers to feel that they are watching a movie on the pages. So both are crucial for the book to be good.

And so after 10 years of chasing the story, it was finally published in 2022 by Penguin and launched in Kochi by the superstar Mohanlal.

For my non-fiction it is the research, the chronology of the events that help me to lay down the first structure for me to understand the entire story – the genesis, the planning, the crime, the aftermath, and the arrest… but when I am writing the story it is a very organic

Writing crime thriller stories is not an easy task. Do you give more stress on the characters or the narration?

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What is your writing process is it instinctive or storyboard mapping style?

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Pic: Anirban Bhattacharyya with Aamir Khan with ryya a h c hatta ban B r i n A Pic: nlal Moha

Pic: At the Launch of the book - India's Money Heist

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process, almost a stream of consciousness kind of an experience. I fracture time, I travel back and forth, I take the readers down side paths… there is no story mapping or any technical mumbo-jumbo that I do when I write. Not even for fiction. Who is your favorite author in the crime thriller genre? Why? And what do you like in their books? I have stopped reading crime books. I don’t want the writing styles or tropes used by other authors to influence me even if it is done unconsciously. I want my writing style to be as organic, honest, and real as possible. So I read Murakami, Pico Iyer, Bill Bryson, and my favorite author Amitav Ghosh. In this book, India's Money Heist, which is your favorite part? I think what really defines this story at the end are the characters. Every one of them is unique – Vikraman, Mohanachandran, Assainar, Shaukat

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Ali, Vijayan sir, Babu, Shibu, the Haji duo… all of them are unique. I studied each of them – going into their personal lives and bringing the entire character to the reader. For me the book is not about a true crime case – that is secondary. For me, a story is about the people who drive the narrative. Few words to our subscribers and readers. Read Indian novelists and books. Go to the physical bookstores and buy a book – even if it is just a magazine. All of us prefer to buy books online for the discounts and the ease… but support bookstores. If you buy two books in a month – buy one from the store! I want to thank P. Vijayan IPS (IGP, Kerala) and his entire investigating team without whose contributions this book would not have been possible. I want to thank SuhailMathur and The Book Bakers. A huge thank you to Penguin India and Penguin Random House India. I have been blessed to

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COVER STORY

have Gurveen Chadha again as my editor. The book would not have been possible without the support of my family. And finally thank you to Saurabh Chawla and Storizen for being so gracious, generous, and kind to give space to my book, and allow me to share it with the readers. Thank You! Subscribe to Storizen to learn more about your favorite authors and to receive tips on writing and marketing your books combined in a single package – Storizen Magazine personally in your inbox! Follow @storizenmag Instagram

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.

on

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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. Contact: pria@storizen.com

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HOTthe OFFpress Meanwhile, in the palace thick with intrigue, the maid Uzma must decide where her loyalties lie: with the peasantry or the Nizam. Among the Communist recruits, Jaabili finds love in unexpected quarters. Violence escalates and lawlessness mounts. Caught between a volatile Nizam and a resolute India, what price will Hyderabad pay?

A Case of Indian Marvels is the first major anthology of short stories by India’s most exciting new writers. The book pulls together the very best work of authors belonging to the millennial generation (born between 1981 and 1996) and Generation Z (born between the late 1990s and early 2010s).

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SEPTEMBER 2022


HOTthe OFFpress An unnamed man arrives in Berlin as a visiting professor. It is a place fused with Western history and cultural fracture lines. He moves along its streets and pavements; through its department stores, museums, and restaurants.

Inspired by the unsolved true-crime kidnapping case perpetrated by "the Monster with 21 Faces," Lady Joker has become a cultural touchstone since its 1997 publication, acknowledged as the magnum opus by one of Japan's literary masters.

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Forgiveness: What does it Mean?

by Abhrekha Jain Sahlot


W

ho hasn't been hurt by the actions or words of others? Perhaps a parent constantly criticized you growing up, your senior at the workplace might have bullied you or you have differences with your partner, or maybe you've had a traumatic experience, such as being physically or emotionally abused by someone close to you. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger and bitterness — even vengeance.

involves a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenue regardless of whether they deserve your forgiveness or not.

But if you don't practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude, and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for improved health and peace of mind. Forgiveness can lead to healthier relationships, Improved mental health, Less anxiety, stress, and hostility, Improved heart health, Improved self-esteem, etc.

Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you or making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life. What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

What is forgiveness?

What happens if you can't forgive someone?

Forgiveness means different things to different people. Generally, however, it

Forgiveness can be challenging, especially if the person who's hurt you

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doesn't admit wrong. If you find yourself stuck, Practice empathy. Try seeing the situation from the other person's point of view. Ask yourself why he or she would behave in such a way. Perhaps you would have reacted similarly if you faced the same situation. Reflect on times you've hurt others and on those who've forgiven you. Be aware that forgiveness is a process, and even small hurts may need to be revisited and forgiven repeatedly. What if the person doesn't change?

I'm

forgiving

Getting another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words isn't the point of forgiveness. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life — by bringing you peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness can take away the power the other person continues to wield in your life. What if I'm the one who needs forgiveness? The first step is to honestly assess and acknowledge the wrongs you've done and how they have affected others. Avoid judging yourself too harshly. If you're truly sorry for something you've said or done, consider admitting it to those you've harmed. Speak of your sincere sorrow or regret and ask for forgiveness — without making excuses.

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Remember, however, that you can't force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Whatever happens, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy, and respect. Actor Will Smith apologized Monday for slapping comedian Chris Rock in response to his joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith at Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, California. As angry as Smith was with Rock, he could have handled the situation better. Key Lessons we learned from the entire episode: Don’t Wait: Although Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees when he accepted the Best Actor award that fateful night, he made no mention of Rock. Be Direct: He called his own behavior “unacceptable and inexcusable.” Explain What Prompted Your Actions: In his statement today, Smith admitted that,”…a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much to bear, and I reacted emotionally.” Be Clear: Make it clear why you were wrong. Smith wrote that “I was out of line, and I was wrong.” Pic: Will Smith

Express Embarrassment/Remorse/Regret: He SEPTEMBER 2022

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mentioned that he is remorseful but not ashamed. Don’t Leave Anyone Out: He ended his apology by saying sorry to all his family, friends, and all those who were hurt by his actions. “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” ― Gautama Buddha To all my readers, live life without any regrets, and accept your feelings, we are humans, and it's OK to feel sad, remorseful, jealous, and irrational at times. Introspect and try not to repeat your mistakes but rather learn from them. Enjoy life to its fullest and take one day at a time, trust me all will be OK one day!

Meet Abhrekha Jain Sahlot, the name is a derivative of her parent’s name (Abhay & Rekha). She is full of life, energy, and enthusiasm. A gold medalist computer engineer she has been working with top MNCs for over 13 years now. Blessed with an incredibly supportive family, their Husband Tushar Sahlot stands behind her as the strongest pillar of strength, shouldering equal responsibilities at home. A doting mother of 2 boys ( Nabhanyu & Daksh Sahlot), life has given her various opportunities to explore and she seems to have taken the best of everything. From singing, and painting to acting, swimming, and basketball, she has been into various co-curricular activities from artistic ones to sports ones. However, currently, she enjoys sharing her blessings with fellow women by addressing women and parenting forums and helping women in her capacity and spreading message & about the importance of being happy & content

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FORGIVENESS

You Owe That Much to Yourself to be

BY ANKUR R. GUPTA

HAPPY AGAIN


I

s it fine to hold grudges against someone who has harmed or hurt you? Well, the instant answer is Yes, when we are seething with anger and hatred for that person who has caused us sorrow. But as time passes and we continue to hold tight to our feelings of resentment, it is time to sit back and think about how exhaustive this journey is. A journey that will burn you out in perpetuity fuelled by bitterness and sadness. Ask yourself, is this holding back worth losing your peace, happiness, and rationality? I do agree when people say it is not easy to forgive and let go, But then it’s not impossible too. It all depends on what you like to choose for yourself- a moving river or a muddy puddle. FORGIVENESS IS ALL ABOUT SELF- CARE. YOU FORGIVE NOT BECAUSE OF OTHERS BUT TO SELF-HEAL Surely, forgiveness is not easy, nor it’s a mandatory first step of recovery when you’re reeling from betrayal or pain. It passes through stages of denial, hurt, anger, acceptance, and then finally forgiveness. If you are still not ready to let go, hold onto that hurt a little more, but you’ve to draw a timeline. The more you delay, the more you will be stuck in the whirlpool of the time zone of resentment. While the perpetrator of all that pain has moved on. A friend of mine still holds

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feelings of bitterness towards her ex, who jilted her a couple of years back. The guy is happily living his life with no remorse, but my friend is still burning herself with pain and not letting it go. So, it’s my friend who is now solely responsible for her pain and no one else. She is not willing to take these acidic emotions out of her system. You have to ‘let go’ by putting closure to a chapter of your life to start a new one. FORGIVENESS IS NOT FORGETTING How can one accept the wrong done to them? When we say “I forgive you” do not imply that you’re condoning the actions of a wrongdoer. Neither, you’re forgetting how they hurt you or giving room to that person to hurt you again. By pardoning, you’re having a tryst with peace, riding over the excuse of 'Act of faith'. And, gather yourself to bounce back and embark on your forward journey with loose baggage of anger and pain. Once you are ensuring movement, the loosened baggage is shed off in no time.

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Priyanka Gandhi, the daughter of the former Indian Prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, who was killed in 1991, once said when she went to meet the killer in jail -"It is true that I met Nalini Sriharan in Vellore central jail on 19 March 2008. It was my way of coming to peace with the violence and loss that I have experienced.”By forgiving the killer of her father, she was easing the burden of revenge and hatred from her shoulders and getting on with life by acknowledging her grief, permitting herself to feel the pain, and giving time to heal and move on. A much better option than carrying the colossal weight of anger, bitterness, and revengeful emotions in your heart. So, what stops us from forgiving when we understand that it helps in Self-healing? Anger and Ego are two fireballs that burn down our rationality to think and act. They lead us to resentment, which amplifies bitterness and revenge. An eye to an eye or rage of being betrayed or hurt is the after-effect of these emotions. The pages of Ramayana, the holy epic in Hindu Mythology have a lesson of a lifetime that tells us that fury and ego lead to inflicting more pain on your well-being than the others. Ravana the Demon King was considered a scholar and devotee of lord Shiva, but he lost his sense of rationality in the rage of Anger and Ego. Ravana’s sister Supnakha was punished by Lakshman, the brother of Lord Rama, to defend Goddess Sita from her. This infuriates Ravana falls into his trap of 28

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anger, and vengeance by abducting Lord Rama’s wife Goddess Sita. Later, in a fierce battle, Ravana gets killed by Lord Rama, and his family and the kingdom perish. In the fire of fury and ego, we often burn our own hands than bring much harm to others. Adapting to an attitude of accepting, forgiving, and burying the hatchets forever helps you to sail through peacefully and move on in life rather than falling into the dungeon of the pessimism of revenge, ego, and anger. BE MINDFUL AND JUDICIOUS WHILE FORGIVING While it's fine to forgive someone that wronged you, it's not ‘okay’ to let someone back into your life who has consistently exhibited a pattern of inflicting pain on you. You cannot forgive an abusive relationship or behavior and let that person take you for granted. Nor allow them to enter back into your life again and again. You can forgive unintentional mistakes but not the ones done knowingly or repeated continuously. So, it is not “Okay” to say to such a person “I forgive you” who has been continuously violating your boundaries or abusing your self-esteem. Be mindful and judicious while forgiving. Your willingness to forgive should display as a strength and not your weakness. Pull out from such toxic situations, relationships, and people without any repentance or guilt, and get your life back.

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In nutshell, you forgive to make yourself HEAL and not for others. This may sound selfish but you owe that much to yourself to be happy again. Here is a brief description of the four phases of Dr. Robert Enright’s Process Model of Forgiveness: Steps 1: Uncovering Phase: Where you become aware of the pain/hatred/anger/resentment that has resulted from a deep, unjust injury. You gradually then start the honest confrontation with such acidic emotions to understand the depth of the sufferings you are going through. In this process, the injured person goes through great emotional distress. However, bringing this anger, and pain in open confrontation is the first step of Self- healing. Step 2: Decision Phase: You start to acknowledge that these acidic emotions are burning you out and you need a “Positive Change” to heal yourself. You realize that hiding or avoiding your pain or seething with hatred is making you more miserable. It is at this stage the idea of forgiveness starts seeding in but still not completely. The injured person at this point takes the first

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step to forego any thoughts, feelings, or intentions of revenge toward the offender. Step 3: Work Phase Here the injured person starts working actively to forgive the injurer. The work phase includes the heart of forgiveness which is the acceptance of the pain that resulted from the actions of the injurer. This must not be confused with any sense of deserving the pain but rather a bearing of pain that has been unjustly given. As the individual bears the pain, he/she chooses not to pass it on to others, including the injurer. This is often where the challenge of a “quest for the good” is most evident. Where you realize that hatred and revenge lead to no good to anyone. Step 4: Outcome/Deepening Phase In this final phase, the forgiving person starts experiencing emotional relief from the process of forgiving the offender. The forgiving individual may find meaning in the suffering that he/she has faced and may discover a new purpose in life. The forgiver beings to look back to see how the experience has changed him/her on the inside and how he/she can bring these new changes to make their life better.

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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. @writingstomakeyousmile

SEPTEMBER 2022


Gift Yourself A Book!

India's Money Heist by Anirban Bhattacharyya

The Adventurous 6: The Sinister Summer Holiday

Mumblings and Musings by Anirban Bhattacharyya

The Deadly Dozen: India's Most Notorious Serial Killers by Anirban Bhattacharyya


CATHARSIS

(TO FORGIVE. TO BE FORGIVEN...)

by Madhumathi H


"M

istake repeated more than once is a decision" - I disagree with this widely believed quote.

Is it easy to be the one, who has to forgive, then gather the strength to seek forgiveness?

We, humans, are made of a Kaleidoscope of emotions. Each day we evolve through our strengths, weaknesses, learning, unlearning, relearning...

Haven't we struggled to forgive someone, unable to forget the wound? Carrying the memories of pain is a huge burden...

In earnest efforts to correct our mistakes, we may fail a few times and might repeat the mistakes, unintentionally...

Shall we, forgive? Shall we ask for forgiveness? Let's break the silence before it is too late. Heal the wounds.

Forgiveness helps largely, to mend one's ways, and evolve...

Wait not, for the other to speak. Forgiving, is the most liberating...

Our impulsive decisions and reactions might have deeply hurt others in certain circumstances.

Forgiving is cathartic.

There are moments when we feel, that our inner-self is stripped of its masks, and we bleed inside from the wailing guilt, seeking one last forgiveness... SEPTEMBER 2022

Accumulated bitterness, ruin our own peace. Walls can be demolished, without hurting self-respect if we are willing to love, forgive, and heal...

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We all have blemishes and longing for forgiveness... Let minds expand like the sky, hearts widen, unfolding like a thousand-petalled lotus... Forgiveness is our own reward. Let shoulders be ready for the weary hearts. Voices are heard, that sow hope... It's OKAY, and a warm hug to an apology, kindness brimming in the eyes, turns one's mind as light as a feather drifting in the wind... Apologies for seeking forgiveness healing the past, and nourishing the bond in the present. It's an unpredictable, ephemeral life. Why delay seeking to be forgiven? Why not shed our ego, for the bitterness and forgive? And, let's forgive ourselves too. It is important to be kinder to ourselves, shed all the guilt, and doubts, and stop blaming ourselves for past mistakes. NOW, is the moment to forgive, believe, bloom again...

A bilingual poet-writer(Tamil, English), Madhumathi is an ardent lover of Nature, Poetry, Photography, and Music. Her poems are published in Anthologies of The Poetry Society(India), AIFEST 2020 Poetry contest Anthology, CPC- Chennai Poetry Circle, IPC – India Poetry Circle, Amaravati Poetic Prism, and in e-zines UGC approved Muse India, Storizen, OPA – Our Poetry Archives, IWJ International Writers Journal, Positive Vibes, and Science Shore. ‘’Ignite Poetry'’, “Arising from the dust”, “Painting Dreams", and “Shards of the unsung Poesies" are some of the recent Anthologies her poems, and write-ups are part of. Besides Poetry, Madhumathi writes on Mental health, to create awareness and break the stigma, strongly believing in the therapeutic and transformational power of words. Contact: madhumathi.poetry@gmail.com

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Wheeling Through Madhulika Ra Chauhan Life Pic: Aline Carriel Campos


When I met Aline, on a bright sunny afternoon, little did I know about what our conversation would ensue? A simple introductory question of “What do you do?” would lead me to wander into rather unchartered territory, and I would be left wondering about how she got to be who she is. So, to let you all in on the answer to that simple introductory question. Aline replied with a twinkle in her eye, “I’m a stunt artist.” “I perform bike and car stunts (2 wheels and one wheel). A side wheelie.”She perhaps had anticipated my response, as I stared blank-faced back at her. “Here, let me show you. That would be better than explaining,” she replied calmly, perhaps she had had several blank stares. She opened a video on her phone and showed me a stunt she had performed not so long ago. To say the least, I was awed and flummoxed at the same time. Also, a strange fear stuck in my gut. “How can you do it ?” I asked. “It’s easy,” she replied with a bright smile, the same I had seen her flashing in the video. That answer perhaps wasn’t all that true. She told me she had become addicted to the adrenaline rush that she felt each time while performing for an audience. That wasn’t all. SEPTEMBER 2022

To work as a professional stuntman or woman, one needs to be highly trained, dedicated, and open to performing tasks that would normally terrify most people. Stunts require synchronized precision, which comes with practice and dedication. She has been doing the stunts for the last 22 years, starting in the year 2000, with her husband and has been through phases like pregnancy and childbirth. Despite the odds, she has consistently lived through with this career choice and now even actively trains her son who’s all but eleven years old. ROLE OF THE BRAIN Aline told me that initially, she used to be a little scared but with time and practice, she had learned to enjoy it. I was curious to know what really happens inside the brain once we train ourselves to face our fears all the time. The amygdala, an area of the brain named for its almond shape, is a key brain region for pain modulation and the emotional-affective measurement of pain. It uses norepinephrine to stimulate electrical impulses throughout the sympathetic nervous system and induces the adrenal glands, which immediately release adrenaline into the bloodstream. Normally, an average person when undergoes the feeling of fear, when faced with a life-threatening situation or adrenaline rush goes through a series of steps which is perhaps felt STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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Pic: Tales Rodrigo Campos

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through different organs, a fight or flight response activates one to:

hormone, cortisol, encourages release of adrenaline.

a) use your whole physical potential to reach an objective,

In this case, it isn’t in your body for only 3 to 5 minutes. It may last for days or even weeks, seriously affecting your health: your heart may race, you get dizzy, poor digestion, and headaches.

b) increases your heart rate, blood pressure, and the ability of your lungs to retain air. c) dilates your pupils and sends more blood to the muscles in your arms and legs. d)maximizes your glucose levels in order to send them to your brain. e) slows down digestion and even intestinal movement for one very specific reason: so all of your energy can be used by your muscles. When a threat appears or when you experience an intense emotion like fear or anxiety, the nerves connected to your adrenal glands stimulate the secretion of adrenaline for it to be released into your bloodstream. The amount of adrenaline that is released is enough for you to feel it for 3 to 5 minutes. That’s the length of time you need to react to the situation without compromising your other organs.

the

CHALLENGE FOR A STUNT ARTIST: OVERCOME THE ADRENALINE RUSH So how would a person who is constantly facing a life-threatening situation overcome the fatigue associated with it? In the case of a stunt artist, he or she has to override the adrenaline rush in order to override the harmful effects of adrenaline which might sabotage the very thing a stunt artist needs most – focus. The amygdala is generally responsible for emotional responses, memories, and stress detection. On the other hand, the prefrontal cortex is involved in regulating executive functions, emotions, stress responses, and personality development. The prefrontal cortex regulates stress responses; it helps the amygdala to perceive tense situations as less frustrating or dangerous. It has a significant role in making people feel calm during stressful events.

However, the problem with adrenaline is when you experience stress for a long period of time. Then, another SEPTEMBER 2022

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Since our brains only can consciously focus on one thing at a time, once you are in the act of doing, your fear fades away. Even though it might sound counterintuitive, taking action, reduces conscious fear. Therefore, stunt artist spends hours in training, making their prefrontal stronger which helps them override the harmful effects of adrenaline and makes the actions rather smooth and practiced. Just like the smile I had witnessed on Aline’s beaming face. It was the result of hours of practice and dedication that she had been able to truly enjoy the stunt and feel “alive” each time she did it. “It’s like the love you know,” she said. “It gives you a high”.

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Madhulika Ra Chauhan is a digital marketeer by day and a passionate writer by night. She lives in China with her super curious son and an ever busy husband. Her articles have appeared in Ezine, FWD Media and DailyO

SEPTEMBER 2022


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READ NOW

Why Authors Should Respond To Fan Mails? With Donna Stroupe

Saheb Nanda


I

t takes courage to write emails and snail mails to your favorite authors. But, it can be really disheartening to never receive a response from them. Right? So, let’s talk about some of the reasons why every author should respond to the fan mails they receive.

and make them feel special for what they wrote for everyone, for you. And that is why there exist ‘fan mails’ in the form of ‘emails’ or ‘snail mails’ - a path so many readers choose because they’re now ‘fans of their favorite author.

The times are tough. Especially after the COVID-19 Pandemic, it seems like everybody needs a shoulder and people have thousands of battles to fight. Every once in a while, a book in your hands, with a cup of tea and some almonds on the side, sounds just perfect for a light reading sessionmore like a self-care session.

WHY READERS WRITE TO AUTHORS IN THE FIRST PLACE

But sometimes, you also need someone to talk to about the book you’re reading. To ask - the person who came up with that story questions about why the character did what they did, what happened to the ones left behind, what year they died in, and what names they ended up giving their children. Remember The Fault In Our Stars, where Hazel Grace wanted the answers to so many questions after reading An Imperial Affliction (the imaginary novel)? But even if it isn’t for answering some questions, it always feels grand to compliment a writer on what they’ve written, and sometimes, you just want to send them presents

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Everybody likes validation of some or the other kind. I hate to admit it, but I do too. When you write a secret letter or even an ‘open letter to your favorite writer, you feel you’re sharing a part of yourself that needs discussion. Moreover, you feel like a writer yourself. Of course, it’s not ‘pivotal’ for a writer to respond, but wouldn’t it be perfect, in a perfect world, where there are flying cars, a real Hogwarts, and a white owl brings you letters - replies from your ideals that you had always been waiting for? We write to let that person know how much they’ve changed our outlook on some of the most important things to us in life. They should know they are loved and we should be able to perform catharsis too, every once in a while. THE ROLE THAT AUTHORS PLAY IN THEIR READERS’ LIVES This discussion is quite different for every reader. For the readers of

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romantic novels, the authors practically and theoretically teach them how to love and be loved. A good example of this can be the portrayal of love in the Indian novel ‘2 States by Chetan Bhagat, which was later chronicled into a movie casting Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor as the protagonists.

theatre, restaurants, nature, friends and family – and stories. I love to escape into a good book. It’s one of my favorite things. I write primarily for myself, to entertain ME. I’m just lucky that people enjoy what I write, enabling me to earn money from it. Without my readers wouldn’t be able to do it.”

As mundane and easy as that story is - of two people from different states falling in love with each other and managing to get married by battling all the obstacles - it is still relatable and loved by readers worldwide because they see themselves in the story and the characters. People learned how to love freely and without the thought of caste and culture renouncing them of the happiness they could otherwise be lucky enough to have in their lives, and it was not through the book that they learned it, but through the author himself.

If you can comprehend what Montefiore says, then you might perfectly understand that ‘readers’ have a substantial impact on the lives of the authors too.

Santa Montefiore, the author of 22 novels, with her most recent one being ‘An Italian Girl in Brooklyn’, says, “I want to entertain. That is my goal. If my readers derive anything more profound from my work, and many do, that is a bonus. Life is hard. Reading and watching the news can be depressing. The world seems to be going mad right now, but I think it always has been this way, we just have many more channels nowadays through which we hear and read about it. News is 24/7. Therefore, we all need things to make us feel better: movies,

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WHY AUTHORS SHOULD RESPOND TOFAN MAILS In the words of Montefiore, “I feel it’s a matter of courtesy to respond, but also, in my case, of delight, because writing is a solitary occupation so communicating with those who read what I write is a lovely way of connecting with other people. When I was young I wrote to Jilly Cooper. I adored her books and wanted to thank her for writing them. I couldn’t believe it when I received a reply. She was charming. I still have her letter to this day!” The biggest reason to respond is that the readers feel heard. It’s easy to not appreciate something and avoid being someone's cheerleader, but when someone really wants to do that, why deprive them of that simple pleasure? “I get a lot of emails about spirituality. My readers seem to respond to those threads

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in my novels more than any others. They want to discuss life after death, and spirits and explore our purpose here. Some write because they are supporting a family member who is sick, or they are, perhaps, sick themselves. Some are grieving the loss of a loved one and want reassurance that they haven’t gone forever. I really enjoy those discussions. I’m someone they can talk to who has nothing to do with their ordinary lives. I don’t know them or their family and friends. The conversation is confidential. Perhaps that's people reaching out. Or perhaps because, having read my books, they know I’ll understand.”, the author says.

How Authors Should Ideally Respond to Fan Mails

Some readers also find a way to have a ‘pen pal’ like Julia Child did in her days, that she later met in Paris, as seen in the movie, ‘Julie & Julia', while some others want to regularly perform catharsis and feel like there is somebody at the receiving end of the conversation and that their letters are not just arrows in the dark, or simply, a monologue.

When asked how a writer should ideally respond to fan mails, Montefiore says, “Personally, I won’t give advice unless I’m specifically asked for it. I won’t share confidences of my own because I’m aware that anything I write might be shared. Although that said, I have built up a few really lovely relationships over the years with readers in America and Canada especially, and I consider us friends now, so I do share things. I won’t judge and I’ll always be polite, even when a reader criticizes something in my book. I’m not going to please everyone all of the time.

As Santa expresses, people from all sorts of circumstances write to her, maybe sometimes to find a friend in someone they’ve never met, or maybe because they know their correspondences will remain confidential. Either way, people look for comfort. So I say, give them the comfort they need.

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Everybody has a different way of doing things, especially writing. An expression that is convivial might just be tauntingly hostile to another person - it all depends on the kind of emails you write. But idealistically, trying to become a bigger person in your writing and letting the fan know you can hear them even if you’re miles apart, is the best way to approach these situations. Of course, stalkers and other sorts of people can be avoided, but the simple act of kindness never hurts anyone.

The only advice I would give is to be yourself. Readers who love your work just want to reach out to thank you – occasionally, they write to correct an error and I always thank them, even

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though sometimes they’re not right, or just being pedantic about something that’s really not important. I’d advise you to always be polite in that case.” EVEN IF AN AUTHOR DOESN’TRESPOND, JUST KNOW THAT THEY STILL LOVE YOU On a lighter note, what is the worst that could happen? You won’t hear back from them. Montefiore exclaims, “I’m flattered. Really, it’s an honor to be trusted like that, and wonderful to know that what I write sometimes touches people on a deeper level than simply entertainment. Also, I know what it’s like to get an email from someone you admire. So, if writing back makes my reader feel special, heard, uplifted, encouraged, then that’s a wonderful thing and I’m fortunate to be in a position to do that.” For people reading this piece: Just know that even if your favorite author doesn’t write back to you, they definitely don’t hate you or despise your writing. You’re courageous and very empathetic to have reached out to them in the first place. It’s always good to keep writing to people and appreciate what melts your heart or brings you joy. Never stop doing that.

Saheb Kaur Nanda hasstudied Economics Honoursfrom MCM DAV College For Women, under Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. She has done her schooling at St. Kabir Public School, Chandigarh. She is a former Vice President of AIESEC and is currently working with Lawctopus and NoticeBard as a Marketing Associate. Saheb writes pieces for the Writers’ column on NoticeBard every day as a part of her job, along with various other things. Writing has been Saheb’s go-to passion ever since she was a little girl. Saheb likes to inspire people with her writing, her sense of aesthetics, and her love for travel. She already loves her future readers and dreams of building a community of everybody who loves doing what she does.

And…for the reader in you, I’d like to say, Never Stop Reading.

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EKTA SINGH CHANDEL

A HOME LOOKING FOR A HOME


A

fter a long day, finally Alex had reached the familiar street. Her head was buzzing with information and gossip about her office. Not that she was interested in any of it, but she couldn’t just escape what happened around her all day. She was a part of it, and though, being a writer, she had trained her mind to filter the information, it didn’t help. As she trudged her way through, straps of her bag sinking into her shoulder, she noticed that one of the homes wasn’t in its place. Must have gone for a walk, she thought to herself. She walked further ahead and reached her place. Fishing out the keys of the door, she moved towards the door with her keys pointed, and as she climbed the two usual steps of her porch, she stumbled. She looked up in shock at the wide orange-blue sky, and grimaced, “Not again, H!” She looked across the street at Joseph, a smiling house that loved sunsets. Without a thought, she shouted, “Joseph, where is H?” She was dead tired. Disturbed by Alex’s interruption, he rolled his eyes and then replied, “Why are you asking me? Isn’t that your

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home to take care of!” It wasn’t the first time Joseph was rude to Alex. Alex was used to Joseph’s rudeness, but today she was tired and so she hollered back, “This is the reason why assholes like you don’t like sunrises but only sunsets.” Joseph pretended to not hear her as it drowned back into the eyes of the dawn. Alex furiously checked on her left and right, but H was nowhere to be seen. Then she remembered the other house that wasn’t in its place. Although she knew that H and that house weren’t good friends, she walked over to ask its neighbor. But she realized that that house had already returned. Putting a pause to her stomping foot, she roared, “Have you seen H?” That house was busy watching its family returning home. A peaceful smile was planted on its face. But when its eyes fell on Alex’s face, he scoffed like he was shocked that Alex had the audacity to even stand on his side of the road and ask about H. Didn’t she know that they were enemies? As thirty seconds of silence passed, Alex felt proud of H’s decision for choosing her friends wisely. Without any other words, she returned to STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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where H sat and sat right there. The grass was warm. H must have left a few minutes ago, she thought. Her back had already given up so using her bag as her pillow, she flattened down. The sky was clear with shades of orange and red spread across it. But the angle of her neck wasn’t allowing her eyes to cover enough of the sky. She removed her bag, and now all her eyes could see was the sky. It was heavenly gorgeous. From over her cheeks, she took a peek at Joseph who was still enjoying the sky. But suddenly, a thought hit her like thunder and she was up on her cushiony rear ends. She dragged her bag towards her and fumbled out her phone to check the messages. She refreshed, again and again, but there wasn’t a new message. She remembered that she had paid her home loan entirely. Relieved, she shoved her phone inside the bag and lay down. Orange shades of the sky had faded and the sky had grown darker. “Must have gone for a walk,” she whispered. “H didn’t look its usual self,” a voice came from across the street. Alex shifted her head to see whether Joseph was talking to her. Joseph’s eyes confirmed that it was talking to her. But she was a bit worried now and she couldn’t afford to give away this chance. There was no other option other than talking to the rude Joseph. 50

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Why would you say so?” Alex’s anger had faded and curiosity had peaked. “Didn’t sing at all today,” Joseph explained, and Alex was surprised because there wasn’t a day that H didn’t sing. Its day started with a song and ended with a song. But also, Alex realized that she hadn’t heard H’s song for a long time. “Just to be clear, H hadn’t sung for days,” Alex contradicted Joseph’s observations. “Or maybe you had just stopped listening to it since days,” Joseph riposted. Now it was Alex’s turn to roll her eyes. She had lived with H for years; how can she not hear anything that H said? After all, though melodious it had a bulky voice one couldn’t escape just like that. But before Alex could say anything, a little girl appeared between them and asked, “Hasn’t H returned yet?” Alex wanted to say that if it had returned, she would have seen the giant house sitting right here, but skimming her two ponytails and a big butterfly on her blue cotton dress, she spat, “How do you know H?” Alex was sitting again. The little girl walked closer with something in her hands wrapped up in the newspaper. “I am…,” she thought and extended the wrapped-up stuff. It was roughly wrapped, but the work of the small hands couldn’t

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have done more. “I am H’s friend. H came to meet me today. It didn’t say much except that it was looking for a home.” "A home?” Alex asked as if her past memories had thrown a stone of thought to her frontal. “Mmhmm. I wondered why would a home need a home, right? But it looked heartbroken. And this…” The little girl glanced at her full hands, then spoke, “this is the best I could find for him.” Alex thought of getting up but did not. She took the wrapped-up stuff. Busy criticizing the open ends of the material which could have been neatly taped, again she thought of the small hands of the little girl.“What is it?” Alex looked up to ask, but the girl had left already. Alex sighed and looked at Joseph who was quite aware of the stuff in her hands. Alex unwrapped it. A small white toy home with a letter H in black on the roof emerged like a sunrise between Alex and Joseph. And though Joseph hated sunrises because he didn’t like to wake up early, his teary eyes couldn't stop looking at the home. Alex turned it up and down with thoughts juggling through her mind.

“You can ask H itself,” Joseph eyed something at the entrance of the street but now Alex was listening to everything. The loud thump of her H as it had entered the streets and was pacing towards his place was almost visible. Picking up her bag, she emptied H’s place. The newspaper rustled against the toy house as Alex moved towards the road. H saw her, and she noticed. It walked up to her and halted right there on the road. “You are back,” Alex cooed. Alex waited for H to settle down in its place, but it remained standing right there blocking the damn wide road.

“You are so big H,” Alex realized and said it out loud as her eyes moved from one corner to the other. Suddenly, she felt proud that she owned this huge beautiful house. H hadn’t said a word yet or moved, she registered and immediately her eyes moved to its face. “You went for a walk. Did you forget that today was my morning shift?” She asked as a few splinters of anger spilled off her voice.

“Why would H ask a little girl for a home? Why a home?” SEPTEMBER 2022

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H remained quiet. His stare remained affixed on Alex. She had started to feel uneasy now. Confused, Alex glanced at Joseph who in its unnecessary exciting voice chimed in, “Hey buddy! A little girl stopped by. She brought something for you.” There wasn’t a smudge of movement in H’s body or face. “Why did you name me H?” H's question came out politely contradicting his stare.

“He was no stranger.” For God’s sake, this was the first time he came home,” H scoffed. “And if that’s your home…” Alex interrupted, “We have been meeting outside…” She pursed her lips, then continued, “For a while now.” And then heard a loud honk. She realized a truck was waiting behind H.

“What?” Alex was confused, tired, and somewhat furious. She was aware that roads were still blocked. What if someone had to pass through?

“Why do I even need to explain myself to you!” Alex had lost her mind. “You are blocking the goddamn road. Please just settle down at your place. I am really tired.”

“Not Joseph or Murphy or… I don’t know… Root or Steffen… but H.” H said whirling his head once in the air.

H was well aware that there wasn’t just a truck behind him but a long array of cars but didn’t budge.

“Umm…,” Alex swallowed and wondered if H had realized that he said, Joseph.

“You told this guy that he is your home. Then what am I to you?”

“Don’t pretend like you don’t remember.”

Alex walked over to H and patted it on its textured white wall. “It wasn’t in the literal sense, H.”

Was he mad at her and that’s why he left, she wondered as she skimmed the memories of this morning when she was leaving for her work. Did she say something to H? “And then, you have the audacity to tell that stupid drunk stranger that you have found your home in him?” Embarrassed, Alex checked the street and the houses around her, especially Joseph. 52

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“Don’t call me H.” “Fine. No H. I will give you a new name. Now come on, let’s get moving.” “I am not moving until we clear it,” H thumped his foot. Alex shivered and walked a step away.

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“I am sorry,” H murmured. “But if that guy who is going to leave you tomorrow or maybe next week is your home, then…” “It was just the way of saying it, H. You haven’t yet understood how languages and humans work. You have a lot to learn.”

“Now give me that!” H snatched the toy home with the letter H and stomped his way back to settle it in its place. “Don’t ever teach me lessons on languages, actions, and humans!”

Honking wasn’t going to stop until H wasn’t convinced. “What is the use of understanding languages when actions aren’t speaking enough?” Alex was amazed by how real her house had started to sound. “I mean you clearly named me H because you couldn’t make any effort to name me anything better. But tell me to whom do you come when you are tired. Why haven’t you called that home of yours yet? I mean you are tired, and I don’t know what all. You need a home. And you declared him your home, just yesterday.” “You aren’t talking sense H,” Alex could feel her brain giving up.

Ekta Singh Chandel is a writer interested in dark and weird creative fiction. Sometimes, she writes romance. Her works have been recently published in Kitaab online literary magazine and in a few anthologies by Ukiyoto Publication and Monomousumi. Currently, she is working on her debut fiction novel. She aims to pen down her every thought.

“You were asking me where I was.” Alex nodded. She didn’t have the energy. “I was out looking for a home. Because I was not home just to you, you were my home too. But now since you don’t consider me your home, I can’t have you as mine.” Alex gawked at H with her mouth open as he stomped toward her.

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GRAVITAS BY CHATURVEDI DIVI


"I

don’t have anything to declare,” Sandeep said to the airport official and moved out. “Just the cabin baggage? Traveling so light!” said Easwar who was waiting for Sandeep. Sandeep smiled. “How are you dad? How is mum?” “She has become busy these days. She is working as the corporate communications officer in Tata Communications.” While driving towards their home in Secunderabad, Sandeep asked, “Dad, are you really doing well?” “Why, boy, what makes you think so?” “You lost weight, there are wrinkles on your forehead, and you haven’t shaved for several days.” “No, I’m fine. I’m not getting younger at 55, you know.” “I’m not convinced dad.” When they reached home, Easwar made some coffee for Sandeep and said, “Take rest. Your mother will be back in a couple of hours. We will have dinner together.”

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“Dad, you’re not your usual self. Are you hiding anything from me?” “Oh! No.” At 8 pm, Sandeep woke up and went into the living room. Ramya was sitting there. “Hi Sandeep, did you have a good journey? Are you enjoying your work?” “Yes, mum. There is a lot of demand for cyber security specialists in the USA.” “That’s good. I’m glad to know that you’re happy there.” Gravitas 2 “It’s quite warm here. It’s snowing in Chicago,” Sandeep said. “Oh.” At the dining table, Sandeep noticed that Easwar was reserved and withdrawn. “Mum, dad has given me a shock to me. There is a change in his manner and talk. He used to be jovial earlier. Is he keeping good health?” She passed the jacket potatoes to Sandeep. “That is not the problem. His titles are out of print for a long time and he is flooded by rejection slips.” “Mum it is quite common in the field of writing.” STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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“It’s true but you should change your writing style with the changing times. Your father never cares to pay attention to the new social trends... and if this continues…” Ramya paused. Easwar quickly finished his dinner. “Sandeep, you must excuse me. I’m feeling tired.” After Easwar left, Ramya said, “And if this continues, I’m afraid that I may not stay here for long. I have better offers in Mumbai.” Sandeep was stunned. Is this a hint of separation? Dad might have never expected it. They were a highly successful couple, Sandeep thought. “Mum, I’m sorry to say that you’re harsh towards dad.” “I can’t adjust with those who can’t see life in its true sense. Take it easy.” It seems that father is more upset by the attitude of mum rather than by the problems in his writing career, Sandeep thought. Sandeep sat at the breakfast table waiting for Easwar and Ramya, watching a cricket match on my pad. After a few minutes, Easwar joined him and said, “Are you still interested in cricket?” “Yeah, dad, you may be surprised to know that we Indians have taken a ground for lease for 25 years and we play cricket on weekends.”

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“Oh really? At your place, in North Carolina?” “Yes, dad.” “I hear these days Indians in the US are participating in festivals and cultural activities with greater enthusiasm.” Ramya entered the dining hall. Yes, mum, there is confidence. India is playing a decisive role in world politics. In healthcare sector … Entire world appreciated India’s highly successful Covid management.” “And in the financial front …India is now stronger than Britain,” Easwar said. “Yes, you know, financial success… it makes all the difference,” Ramya said. Mum takes every opportunity to target dad, Sandeep felt. “Dad, recently, I conducted a seminar on cyber security for writers, agents, and publishers. One agent said of all the genres, humor is the toughest. He mentioned your name for the superb handling of humor.” “What is his name?” Easwar asked. “Name.” Sandeep fumbled. He drank a glass of water. “Let me recollect… he represents an agency. NCMA. North Carolina Literary Agency.” “Oh, Sandeep. Is it NCLA?” Ramya said. “Yes, mum, I am a bit confused.”

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“These days there is a lot of stress on e-books, digital publishing, and so on. Dad is not familiar with the nuances of the digital world.” Gravitas 4 After Ramya left for the office, Sandeep went to his father’s room and said, “Dad, I think that I can help you in a way.” Easwar looked disinterestedly.

at

Sandeep

Cutting in, Varshini said, “It doesn’t matter. The interview will be posted on several sites. You may speak on your journey as a writer, influences of other writers on you..” She paused and said, “about various literary devices that go into the making of fiction and how they were explored in classics.” “Dad, we will make a video of it. It will be interesting.”

rather

“Yes, in NTR Gardens, it will provide the ambiance” Varshini added.

“Dad, I will select a few features and short stories from what you have already written and mail them to some of the agents and publishers I met in the seminar.

“Video, in NTR Gardens!” Easwar touched his face and ran his hand over his shirt.

“I don’t have great respect for the new breed of literary agents and publishers, but if you want to try, go ahead.”

Sandeep and Varshini noticed that he was conscious of his overgrown beard and his attire. “Not today, we will plan it,” Varshini looked at Sandeep.

A few days later, Sandeep took Easwar for lunch at Basera. There he introduced content marketing manager Varshini to Easwar. The writer in him tried to assess her quickly. She was around 25 years old and was in traditional attire. The sky-blue saree, her wavy low ponytail, especially the bindi on her forehead impressed him. Not spoiled by the Bollywood trend, he thought. “She read some of your works and wants to interview you. She helps authors in monetizing their websites.”

Gravitas 5

“Yes, dad, we are not in a great hurry. We will take care of every detail. I am afraid I need a new hairdo.” Varshini glanced at Sandeep smiled. Smart guy, she thought.

and

Sandeep rushed to his mother and said, “Mum, dad had won the $2000 award for his story, the political satire.” Ramya turned towards Easwar and said, “You know, we just can’t believe these mushrooming websites or email

Oh, but I don’t have…” SEPTEMBER 2022

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messages. A few days back I received a message stating that I had won $5000. I never bought any lottery ticket.” After one week, Easwar said, “I’m not still convinced but the prize money has been transferred to my account.”

“From which bank?” Ramya asked. “From HSBC, New York branch,” Easwar said. There is a review in TLS too.” “It’s a good break but you see Sandeep is helping your now. Once he leaves this place, you may go back to your old ways and ignore the opportunities.” “I hope things will settle down before I leave,” Sandeep said. The next Monday Easwar received a phone call from Vinod, a literary agent. “Easwar, I’m interested in your book, What If…Can I have a copy of it? Oh, I’m sorry I forgot to tell you. Yesterday Sandeep had a discussion with me.” Two days later, Sandeep emailed the manuscript to the agent. Easwar was surprised at the pace things were moving. Gravitas 6 After one month, Duncan Publishers accepted his book. The advance the publishers offered to him was beyond his expectation. It is amazing, Easwar thought. What is the mystery behind the

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the terrific speed at which things are moving, he wondered. Ramya said, “I’ll invite the GM of my company as the chief guest to the book release function. Is it okay?” “We can fix it after speaking to the publisher. Dad may not have any objection to it,” Sandeep said. Releasing the book, the chief guest said, “I’m a business executive. I look at data. I’ve come to know that the prepublication orders are encouraging.” Vinod said, “I’m glad to announce that I will sign a contract for the upcoming book of Easwar.” He waited until the audience stop clapping and said, “It’s still a puzzle to me. The agency, which encouraged Easwar, ceased to function once he signed the publishing contract, for reasons unknown.”

Dr Chaturvedi Divi’s short stories and poems have appeared in Only Men Please (anthology), Reading Hour, America the Catholic magazine, Twist & Twain, Spillwords, Borderless Journal, and elsewhere. He has an MA in creative writing from The University of Wales. His doctoral thesis is on diasporic literature.

Easwar looked at the literary agent. The agent looked at Sandeep who turned his face towards Ramya. She was busy discussing the opening lines of the forthcoming book of Easwar with the chief guest. End

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by Komal Ishtiaq


L

ost in the memories, I was thinking of the most golden pastime I had spent with my precious and favorite people. I always wondered if it is nearly impossible for one to forget those days, sometimes I thought even if Alzheimer's patients, could they really forget those? My husband is a great psychologist and he dealt with several Alzheimer's patients, and of course, I am an inquisitive person always wanting to know the things that I find of interest or that prompt me the most, but yeah it is another debate that I feel too indolent to indulge in. In these years I came to realize that I have become more of a social person than I was in the past, in my university days. My husband also discerned this progression in me. About this I had a vast discussion with my husband. Now, I have a lot of friends in my workplace Azher, Paul, Aima, Jeh, Samantha, etc., etc. but I still reminisce about my old but gold friends, living in Pakistan. Now, I am currently living in the United States, New York for the past ten years, having a hybrid identity American-Paki, therefore having diversity in friends who come from different countries and some even Native Americans. Last night, I opened my email to check whether I got some important mail regarding my work and I found the most thrilling and exciting email, guess from what______ from the Alumni club of my university. I read it all at once and it was more of a relief than

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excitement to know at that moment that I am about to go to Pakistan after ten years. They held this get-together of my batch called “reunion” and I am about to meet my old fellows and friends. I am going to discuss it with my husband today and asked him to arrange a visa and ticket for me. After having a long conversation with my husband and discussing with him all the pros and cons, he finally permitted me to attend this reunion and to travel alone because due to his work he won’t be able to make it to Pakistan. I am doubly excited, firstly I am going there after a whole ten years, secondly seeing my old friends is super exciting. This reunion party is going to be held after a month, though I have a lot of time, still, I need to prepare a lot of STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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things, as it is going to be my first visit to Pakistan after being in New York. I decided to go shopping this evening so I could buy some gifts for friends and family. My husband has excited me with the great news by putting both the visa and the ticket in my hand and in the next week I am about to leave for Pakistan, saying goodbye to my beloved New York. At the airport, I said to my husband, “Goodbye honey” and then the plane left. Standing here on my very own land amplified all sorts of emotions in me and sentimentalize me. Waiting here at the Islamabad airport for my relatives to come and pick me up. The long wait ends and finally, Baba Jaan is there at the airport, seeing him after so long brings tears to my eyes now and I say to him, “Salam Baba Jani” and he hugs me. After a while, I sit in the car open the window and start the music in the car as baba has saved all the old classic collections and it plays one of the classic qawwali of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, “Apni Kahani Kaise Kahein” it amuses me and takes me into my childhood memories and breeze follow my path to home. Baba Jani calls Hassan to take my luggage to the old room where I used to live before marriage. Hassan Ali is our old servant since baba Jani was in their university days and we used to call him Hassan Rehmani. All my emotions stir up when Ami fried the samosas in the hot oil and put the tea on

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the stove and complains to me about my arrival after ten years, as emotionally utters, “you seem to have forgotten me now since it’s almost ten years alas, and further you come_________, come only for the sake of attending this reunion party, but not for your own parents”, which makes me little embarrassed somehow. I questioned myself “is it true?” then I come to my room and first get stunned because nothing has changed in my room, the way I decorated my room ten years ago, it is the same but tidy as used to keep it before my marriage. Then I thought of going downwards standing in the verandah and inhaling all the eastern air and exhaling all the western air at once seems pleasurable to me. At the dining table, I talk with baba Jani and ami and baba asks me about the weather, I reply, “though the weather is chilly I miss the days, evenings, and mornings I spent here on my own land”. Baba smiles and I don’t know but I like it. I miss Hateem at the same time, “Hateem my husband” I have never left him alone on his own since marriage this is the first time and I realize that I love him so much and cares about him which I never realize living in the US with him, but I forget to call him, what does he think of me. I am now thinking, does he miss me or does he feel the same the way I am feeling right now, but then lying on the bed I fall asleep because I am tired of the long journey.

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The other day, I have to go to the university to attend the event, so I already set an alarm and told ami to wake me up early in the morning, so I will make all my preparations for the event and my mother assured me. I don’t know but I feel reluctant and hesitant about attending the event and my inner self tells me consistently, not to attend the reunion, but on the other hand, the excitement cannot be neglected as well.

Finally, the day comes, and I get up earlier, without an alarm, without being awakened by my mother, first, enter into a kitchen where Hassan Rehmani is making tea for baba Jani, and he asks me “would you like some tea” and I simply nodded in affirmation. Then, I moved to the garden where Baba is sitting and holding a newspaper in his hand, as soon as he hears my approaching him, he gives a pleasant smile just like he used to before my marriage, but he gets old now, on his forehead there seems a lot of lines, crumpled lines, his hands get skinny and it seems more bones than skin and veins gets more prominent, transparent like. I greeted him, “Salam, baba ''.

about my visit to the university and attending the event and I tell him that it is going to start about late in the afternoon, but he is the same old baba who commands me to get ready on time because for him punctuality is something that always comes first, he never compromises for it. I’m going to the university with baba, he drops me there.

I have been in the room, getting dressed for the event, looking in the mirror, I realize how much I change these years have turned me into a mature woman, as I was never before in my university life, where my life is free of all tensions, all worries and concerns and it also impacted my physical

He replies, “Walikum Salam”. I ask baba ``You have the same old habit of reading the newspaper in the morning with a cup of tea in your hands” and baba replies, “Some things are never meant to change, beta”. He asks me SEPTEMBER 2022

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appearance. In my youth, I was very popular at university because of my active participation in all events; I also took part in the organizing team committee of those events, but if someone asks me now I totally refuse. Sometimes these changes are unbearable to accept as your perception changes with the passage of time and so do your priorities. I get ready by 11 AM then baba calls me I walk past the verandah towards the parking area where baba used to park his car, baba takes out the car from the garage, ami is standing near the front gate so she opens the gate when baba starts the car, but it is not just the reason, also she is there so that she prays to Allah for our protection after we leave the home “Fi Aman Allah”, as it is a part of the Muslim Asian culture where most of the women, particularly wives and mother do, in almost all the houses.

Komal Ishtiaq, a story, article, and content writer has a BS, Hons. In English Literature and Linguistics. She has already published a story “Inferior” in Kitaab magazine. She loves to observe mundane things around her, listen to people's thoughts, their experiences, and then write a story. She also has a plan to write novels in the future. She loves to read books on appealing topics and also novels. Her favorite novelists include “Montgomery”, “Hosseini” and “Emile Bronte”. Her favorite novel includes “New York Bestselling Book, The Kite Runner” by Khalid Hosseini.

Visit storizen.com to read the full story

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I forgive thee, for me by Sumana Bhattacharya


not to do that. Instead, I decided to move on with life. Soon memories of him and the pain it brought along faded. I was happy again!

M

Another scene flashes before my eyes from when I was in my twenties. I had just come to Delhi and taken up a job. I met a boy. We fell y eyes were welling with tears. “I am going to teach him a lesson. I know who his clients are. I will tell them what a liar he is,” I said choking. “If you sling mud at someone your clothes will get dirtied too,” said my friend calmly who was driving me back home. This was about a decade back. I had met someone through a matrimonial site. A high-flying corporate consultant, handsome, intelligent, and suave who professed love and proposed marriage. He convinced me to talk to my parents and set up a meeting. The day he was supposed to meet my parents he never showed up, and didn’t respond to my calls or messages. It was humiliating, it was very hurtful. I wanted to hurt him back. But I am so glad that I listened to my friends and silently withdrew. The same person tried to reach out to me later. Needless to say, I never responded. I could have met him one last time and hurled abuses. I decided

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in love. Life seemed so perfect. Soon there was trouble in paradise. After a few fights and tearful conversations, the boy told me that he didn’t love me after all. I was devastated, heartbroken. “I hope someday he hurts as much as I am hurting,” I told a friend who was trying to console me. “If he hurts, will that make you any happier?” asked my friend. That question was like a wake-up call for me. I realized I was going to gain nothing from his unhappiness. By pondering over and wondering whether he was happy or not, I would only make myself miserable. I decided to deal with my feelings instead and move on. To this day, I am so grateful to my friends who advised me to walk away. Years later, he reached out to me. I had learned through common friends that he had got married. I was upset when I first heard the news, but soon it stopped mattering. I was living my life, I was happy. We STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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met over a cup of coffee one evening. It was like meeting an old friend, someone I once knew. We chatted for a while. He also brought up bits and pieces from the time we were together, some I had forgotten, some I remembered. While we were leaving, he suddenly said that he was so glad that I didn’t bear any ill feelings toward him. “It was long back, and it doesn’t matter anymore,” said I. And it really didn’t matter. There are times in our lives when we are hurting. We are angry for the right reasons. We want to teach the person responsible a lesson, we want to hurt back. But is it really worth the effort? Remember Uma Thurman in Kill Bill? She planned her revenge for years, and she got her revenge, but at what cost?

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

SEPTEMBER 2022


Gift Yourself A Book!

Journey of a Nation: 75 Years of Indian Foreign Policy by Madhav Das Nalapat

Journey Of A Nation: 75 Years of Indian Economy by Sanjay Baru

Journey of A Nation: 75 Years of Indian Sports by Chandresh Narayanan

True to Their Salt by Ravindra Rathee

Celebrating 75 Years of Independence!


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I am a Spontaneous Writer with a Disciplined Writing Process by Smita Das Jain

Pic: Smita Das Jain

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STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE

An IIM graduate who is a writer by passion I am an IIM Indore and Sri Ram College of Commerce alumna and a business strategy professional with more than fourteen years of business strategy experience with Fortune 500 companies such as KPMG, United Technologies Corporation, and JLL. In 2021, after an exciting journey in the corporate world, I decided to pursue my passions full-time. As a Certified Executive Coach and Personal Empowerment Life Coach, I enable my clients to create a career they love and live the life they dream. Gurugram has been my home for the last sixteen years, where I stay with my husband and daughter. Above all, I am a writer by passion and write something every day. Writing is as much a part of daily routine as eating and sleeping. Samples of my writing are visible in my home office, the sunny terrace garden, my husband’s car, and the kitchen

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napkins. Some of these writings have found a prominent place in national and international anthologies and platforms. The early tryst with writing…and the hiatus I was twelve when I wrote my first story. It was published in my school magazine, and I became an overnight sensation for three days. I followed it up with an article. Then another. Eventually, I became the Chief Editor of my school magazine. Then from college life, balance sheets, corporate strategies, whitepapers, and business articles took center stage while creative writing took a back seat. In 2018, I rekindled my affair with writing by enrolling in Stanford University’s short writing courses. It was while pursuing these courses that I completed the first draft of my novel, now up for release as A Price to Love. I also wrote some short fiction, non-fiction, and poetry samples, for which I got encouraging feedback.

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STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE

Work matters again took center stage, and I lacked consistency in writing after that. The reincarnation as a Writer and Author It was in April 2021, after I quit my corporate job, that I picked up the writing thread again, and have been writing something every day since. I write to both express and inform, and dabble in all writing forms— articles, blog posts, poems, and stories. However, writing fiction gives me the most satisfaction; I have the creative liberty to create the world I want therein. By July 2021, I had written so many short stories that I decided to come out with a book of my own. It was a conscious decision to come out with short stories first to target professionals like myself who are busy with their careers and lives and have very short attention spans. A Slice of Life: Every Person Has A Story, containing relatable stories from everyday life, came out in Sep 2021 and became an Amazon bestseller, marking a

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the turning point in my writing career. It was also adjudged among the top three self-published works in India for 2021 by Writefluence earlier this year. I am a spontaneous writer. And a disciplined one. I wake at 5 AM and switch on my laptop to open a blank word document. Then I write what first comes to my mind. Then type another word, and then another. I let my characters lead me in my stories— whether short stories or novels. This is my routine every single day. A Price to Love took three years from start to publication The overwhelmingly positive reviews I got for A Slice of Life gave me confidence in my writing abilities. So, it was in late 2021 that I picked up the completed draft of the novel I had written first in NaNoWriMo style in 2018. The world had changed from 2018 to 2021, and so had I. I rewrote, edited, rewrote again, and edited some more.

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After four to five iterations, I finally felt the book was ready to be sent to publishers. Unlike A Slice of Life, I was keen to test the waters of traditional publishing for my debut novel. I self-taught myself about writing query letters by looking at blogs and articles on the internet and started sending them to publishers. The intermittent wait period was long for an impatient person like me. I didn’t get a reply to most of my emails. The ones I did were mostly regret and rejections. Readomania was my first choice among the publishers who asked for my complete manuscript, and I was ecstatic when after evaluating the manuscript, they informed me about their decision to go ahead with it. I had incorporated beta readers’ feedback in my novel during that time, and the original MS had again undergone some iterations! The discussions continued and led to a fruitful association, and A Price to Love is available for preorder currently, scheduled to be released by the end of

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September 2022. I am excited and nervous at the same time. I wrote A Price to Love to satiate the reader in me I wrote this book to satiate the reader in me and other readers like me. As I grew in life, candyfloss romances that enthralled me in college held no appeal to me in a world where I had to balance family responsibilities with work deadlines. I wanted to read a book with a working female protagonist in the backdrop of India Inc, my professional world. And I could find

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STORIZEN CONTRIBUTE

no such book in fiction by Indian writers. So I wrote this contemporary tale showcasing the human side of the professional world. Patience is a virtue in writing Writing is a long process, and the job doesn’t get finished after completing the first draft of the manuscript. Editing, Publishing, and Marketing take more time combined than completing the draft. Patience is as much a virtue in writing as in other areas of life.

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INTERVIEW I realized that after a great number of difficulties and fights at different levels, a law came into force for preventing sexual harassment of women at workplaces which is the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (the "POSH Act”).

Anupamaa V. Legal Expert and Author

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Congratulations on writing this book, which is the need of the day. Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers? I am Anupamaa and am a passiondriven professional entrepreneur, with over 2 decades as a corporate lawyer and over 15 years as a partner and managing partner at Dr. Kainth & Associates LLP and AVRC Legal. I passionately believe in equitable, respectful, inclusive, and bias-free workplaces, which resulted in the founding of Upceed Consulting Services Private Limited (UCS) where I am the chief Trainer. I also possess indepth knowledge in Industrial Psychology, am a certified mediation and negotiation expert, and ICF certified organization development coach (Symbiosis-USA). A professional mentor and guide to many and a NonExecutive Director on boards of several companies for legal compliance and strategic business, supporting and advising the boards on the overall management of the company.

I realized that after a great number of difficulties and fights at different levels, a law came into force for preventing sexual harassment of women at the workplace which is the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (the "POSH Act”). However, in the last ten years, the implementation of the law has been extremely skewed. There are organizations that have a policy in place but are not even sure about who the members of the Internal Committee (IC) are. There are other organizations where an IC is constituted and meets regularly, but they have never done training for their IC. The ICs of several companies do not even know how to go about conducting an Inquiry. Another personal experience that I had was that most organizations were embarrassed by the law itself and preferred not to address it. All of this made me feel that this book was needed, that this subject is the need of the hour, to give a perspective to organizations as well as employees, and has to be seen as any other incident that happens at workplaces. Hence, I decided to write this book.

Why did you want to write this book? What is the reason?

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Talking about Sexual Harassment at workplaces in our country, how effective is the POSH act? What are the drawbacks you found in the act? The POSH Act is very effective. There are proper processes to spread education on sexual harassment, to encourage people to acknowledge the existence of the same. It has a fair inquiry process and it is made for the benefit of the employees. The major drawbacks that I see are that the POSH Act could have been made genderneutral. However, having said this the POSH Act is definitely not favoring only women, in fact, it supports men as well, to ensure that men are not unfairly treated. The second drawback that comes to my mind is that the POSH Act was enacted in the year 2013. However, the enforcement mechanism is not as stringent, as the Companies Act or the GST which came in much later. Though policies exist, women, men, and other genders are subjected to harassment. How can this book help in tackling the problem? Yes, I do believe that this book can help in tackling the problem because the intention here is to make the law simple and understandable for the organization and for the employees. It also ensures that all the information, including the Act, the Rules and important judgments (case laws), and the explanations to

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frequently asked questions are all in one single book. Hence the phrase, “Ready Reckoner”. If organizations are serious about implementing the POSH Act, and the employees want to know more about the POSH Act, then definitely this book will help tackle the problem of sexual harassment. How is the response to the book? Can you share the feedback with us? The response to the book has been very good. In spite of the fact that we have not individually reached out to organizations as yet due to many constraints, we see a good sale of this book in the market. What kind of publicity campaigns did the team do for the book to reach the women in need? There are regular posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. What is the first step a woman should take when she suspects she is being sexually harassed? I assume that the above question refers

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to a woman being sexually harassed at a ‘Workplace’, and basis this assumption I am answering this question. When a woman feels uncomfortable at a workplace and believes that she has been/ is being harassed, the first thing she is required to do is to reach out to the Presiding Officer of the IC of the organization where she is working. If the organization does not have an IC, she must approach the Local Complaints Committee of the district where her Workplace is located. Further, the Government has come up with a “SheBox” facility, which is an online service. Therefore, if approaching the Internal Complaints Committee or Local Complaints Committee is difficult for her, she can file the complaint and express her concerns online on SHe-Box. What must be the role of fellow colleagues toward a victim? And do you think there is a need for male employees to be trained at the behest to stop such incidents? The role of fellow colleagues towards the victim needs to be that of compassion and the knowledge to rightly guide the victim to the right forum, and not to give

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advice that is beyond their purview under the POSH Act. With respect to the question on the need for male employees to be trained at the behest to stop such incidents. It is very important for you to note that while the POSH Act addresses, the person who is aggrieved with respect to an act of sexual harassment to be a woman, the perpetrator committing the act could be a man or a woman. Therefore, to rephrase your question, there is a need for all employees to be trained irrespective of their gender, to stop such incidents from happening in the Workplace. The Government has rightly provided for the same under the law and has insisted that awareness programs for employees must be conducted every year. What kind of research did you do before writing the book? Which other countries' policies did you study more? A lot of research has gone into writing this book. It is not just the research but experience as well. If we were to write a book that only addresses the legal part of it, it would be a book for legal colleagues and professionals to read. However, my endeavor has been to share knowledge regarding the POSH Act, with the common man and the organizations in an easily understandable form, which is nonlegal. The question of studying the

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policies of other countries do not arise at all, because India has stipulated laws and there are several case laws that form the basis of such recommendations, rather than falling back on the policies of other countries. Are there any ideas for placing the book in common libraries or book reading places? Yes, I would like to place the book in common libraries and book reading places. How was your journey with the book from writing to publishing it? My journey has been incredible along with my colleague Kavery, who helped me with this book. It was a new experience that taught me a lot of things. Over a period spread over two years and meticulous work that went into it, including a lot of discussions for publishing this book and the support given by Author’s Channel, the journey, as well as the experience, must say was truly satisfying. This is a topic that is very close to my heart and I am glad that by publishing this book, it became a dream come true for me. Pepper sprays, safety pins, or such things to protect oneself against change in mindsets. Any thoughts you want to share or discuss on this?

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Until people change their mindset, pepper sprays, safety pins and many other forms of protecting oneself including using an App are good, because it helps to secure one’s safety. However, I personally believe that in spite of all the education and training, human beings are human beings, and sometimes animalistic behavior in a certain category of people is not within anyone’s control and is difficult to change. While having these pepper sprays, safety pins, and other forms of ammunition, etc. is good for you as a weapon, in addition, there is a certain amount of caution that is advised when it is a man or a woman who is out there on the street in the wee hours of the morning or alone at any time in a vehicle. It is very important to have a support mechanism, such as having a cab driver from a known source or having someone from your family follow you from a GPS so that they know every move of yours. When it is necessary to travel in the wee hours, consider taking a bigger group of people along, because in some situations one or two accompanying you may not be enough to deal with such inhumane people. These are more important things that are to be kept in mind that carrying pepper spray, safety pins, etc.

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What was the most tiresome experience while writing this book? How did you deal with it? It was a very engaging journey and I never found anything tiresome while writing this book. Who supported you the most when you wanted to write this non-fiction book? My family and my colleagues have supported me throughout and continue to do so.

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STORIZEN REVIEW

How can the women workforce be treated as equals? This has been a million-dollar question across the globe for ages! It is always women who are looked down on either the pay scale or promotions. Whether a small enterprise or a multinational company, women are seen with a biased vision. In this book, Author Apurva stresses those women who subdue themselves for various reasons. She explains how one can strive to bring out the best version with little yet effective changes. The book also gives a detailed insight into the gender dynamics that are often ignored or not addressed in the workplace. It is a mustread for everyone for its various aspects.

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Author Apurva’s previous books catered to female readers from every walk of life. The translated versions also reached many women, and homemakers gave positive feedback. The relatable words, incidents and personal experiences she explained in the book are reflections of most of the women’s experiences. With her writing, Author Apurva brought women together with a sense of belongingness and inclusivity. The language used in the book is simple and easy to comprehend. This makes the book readable and accessible.

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About the book In this book, Author Apurva stresses those women who subdue themselves for various reasons. She explains how one can strive to bring out the best version with little yet effective changes.

A Must Read A personality development guide to every working woman!


STORIZEN REVIEW

Book Review

Micro Review This book is not only for women but men too. The contents help the readers to view the world from a neutral point of view. Also, the book helps the readers to understand how men talk about their achievements and targets met with a coating of pride.

Girls: You Are Forever by Aparna Mukherjee

Visit storizen.com for full review

Stories about and on women are always endearing and close to heart. A female being is the only person who dons many roles physically and mentally. Thus, a woman’s life has many experiences that are happy, sad, exciting, adventurous, and satisfying. In this book, the other stories deal with all the emotions one faces during her lifetime. The stories are written in simple English language with adequate grammar. But, a fine and rich vocabulary, if used, would have made the stories much more illuminating.

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STORIZEN REVIEW

Saya, a girl from a middle-class family, moves to America after marriage and comes to her maternal home in Mumbai after a long time. During her stay, she spends most of her time with her mother and talks on her bed in the tiny bedroom of her mother's flat, trying to relive moments that she missed earlier in the hustle and bustle of time. She also starts to feel that the intensity gradually declines. But somewhere at the crossroads are the golden vines of true love faltering on the ground of values, and she sees a vibrant campaign of selfdiscovery, loyalty, and the endless flight of the frantic dreams of a town teenager. The dark shades of the gullible girl's downfall, the disappearance of the limits for the pursuit of money, and the increasing crimes all create chaos in her mind, yet she sustains and fights.

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This is a story of the triumph of a gullible girl who stood against vulnerabilities and discrimination. The story is ala-carte of emotions and virtues. It has no drawbacks and is perfect in shape. The book is perfect for reading on a lazy day with a cup of coffee and a paper towel, as the nuances will mellow down the mind and turn them into sweet tears.

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About the Book

A Must Read

The book is written in conversational Hindi and can be interpreted by any mid-level reader. The book is also for all those fiction lovers who like light-hearted, emotional stories that talk about people, their feelings and various stages of relationships.

The book is perfect for reading on a lazy day with a cup of coffee and a paper towel, as the nuances will mellow down the mind and turn them into sweet tears.


Book Review

STORIZEN REVIEW

Author Poonam Chawla has chosen a unique of telling the story of the female protagonist named Saaya. The usual life dimension of a middle-class Indian girl is well played by Saaya. Visit storizen.com for full review

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 @bookreviewscafe @swapna508

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An Extreme & Intense Story! Reviewed by Swapna Peri


STORIZENREVIEW

Politics has been changing over the years in its shape and volume. The concept of leadership is becoming congested, and instead of leaders, we have witnessed political families growing rapidly. The advent of goons connected with the local political personalities also permeated extreme levels. Politicians started seeking the help of these goons, or Bahubalis, as named in the story, to sustain their political life.

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through his characters and their behavior showcases the ugly truths buried deep down for ages. I had a great time reading the book and expected more such fiction works from the writer. This story is a perfect thriller with real and known incidents around the area.

Too much of everything is always dangerous. Thus, in this story, something similar is showcased, and first-time writer Prince Avinash

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About the Book The story is a feast and a complete platter that no one will expect and ask for more. And hence no drawbacks are found. This story is a perfect thriller with real and known incidents around the area.


Book Review

STORIZEN REVIEW

The story flashes like a fastpaced thriller movie, and once a reader picks up the book, it is impossible to put it down. This happens to be one of the most entertaining! Visit storizen.com for full review

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 @bookreviewscafe @swapna508

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STORIZEN REVIEW

When I think about YA or chic-lit books, I love to pick up books from new Indian authors because relatable things matter! In this book, Enakshi and her encounters right from the family members and other characters she meets in Chennai during her internship flashed before me as if I was traveling with a young girl. The writing and the story as it goes forward kept me engaged. This book can be read on a boring evening to lighten up and calm your mind. Go, pick it up! The story is a fine read, except for some drags in the first half of the story. Too much of descriptions made the paragraphs drag.

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The book is engaging and funny at the same time. The names and the places are familiar because I come from a South Indian background and have friends in Delhi, Kolkata and Nagpur. In Ena, it is apparent to see a young girl coming out of her comfort zone to a different city where the language is the main barrier. The book also reflects the typical challenges of a modern youngster who started her career a few days ago as an intern and has already faced the heat from the company and its management. With attractive narration and well-structured writing, writer Aashisha captures the readers’ minds instantly.

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Pic Source: https://aashisha.com/

Aashisha Chakraborty


About the Book

A Must Read

This is a YA genre book and can also be picked up by a beginnerlevel reader. Though the narration in the initial chapters feels dragged, the incidents and the conversations the protagonist Ena or Enakshi has with the other characters are engaging.

It is a good one-time enjoyable read which will make your lips smile and laugh a lot!


STORIZEN REVIEW

Book Review

Micro Review It is a good one-time enjoyable read which will make your lips smile and laugh a lot!

Inked in India by Bibek Debroy with Sovan Roy

(Reviewed by Swapna Peri) Visit storizen.com for full review

Evolution theory poses many questions for rational minds across the globe. Little things like who invented the wheel, carts, machines, the computer, and other devices and how fire, hunger, continents, and other things were discovered always linger in the minds. Many studies, thesis, documented proofs, and facts have always reigned the world to understand the theory of evolution. This is a must-read book and recommended to every reader!!!

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A Nail-Biting Thriller! Reviewed by Swapna Peri


STORIZENREVIEW

India's Money Heist: The Chelembra Bank Robbery by author Anirban Bhattacharya is a gripping and mind-blowing bank robbery story set up in God's own country, Kerala. It is a story with brave police officers and extremely dubious criminals on par with each other in their masterminds.

As a reader, my love for Indian authors grows when a feastlike book conquers my mind. And this book is a perfect example. Highly recommended for crime thriller readers!

The story, as said, is gripping and extremely fast-paced with all the incidents, investigations, and explorations.

The book is a perfect story with well-written characters, and nothing more will make it better other than more pages of the thrilling story!

Anirban Bhattacharyya is known for his crime-thrillers, and this happens to be his latest best!

Anirban Bhattacharyya wears many hats - an author, a poet, a standup comedian, a movie actor, a television and media professional, a mainstream content creator, a motivational speaker, and a standup comedian.

Pic: Anirban Bhattacharyya SEPTEMBER 2022

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About the Book From the creatorproducer of Savdhaan India, the producer of Crime Patrol, and the bestselling author of The Deadly Dozen: India's Most Notorious Serial Killers, comes the true story behind one of India's biggest and most sensational bank heists


STORIZEN REVIEW

Book Review

A perfect entertainer with a wholesome story!

Micro Review Wildlife@50 by Manoj Kumar Misra

Visit storizen.com for full review

In 2022, India celebrates 75 years of Independence and 50 years of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. A lot has since happened on the wildlife front, and more could have been achieved. Rupa Publications has published three other books on the eve of the 75th Indian Independence. Knowing the Wildlife Protection Act and its internal policies is an honor. The book is a collection of essays by conservationists, academicians, and policymakers on India’s 50-year journey in wildlife conservation is a deep dive into what we have achieved, what more we can do, and what the future holds.

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An Interesting and Entertaining

Read!

Reviewed by Swapna Peri


STORIZENREVIEW

Human life is a mixture of sorrow and happiness. But life becomes more interesting when these internal feelings are moulded with external factors. How unexpected events are welcomed and manipulated accordingly is up to an individual. In this book by author Manu Bhattathiri, the readers come across relatable common characters that strive hard to make their lives happy and comfortable within their minds.

Expect the unexpected is the tagline I would like to give the book. This thus tells the book is a great read. Give it a try and immerse in Manu's story-telling world.

Rich language and vocabulary are used in the book. The richness is not only showcased by the words but also by the characters and their behavior.

Manu Bhattathiri was born in Kottarakkara, in the Indian state of Kerala. He did his schooling in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Kashmir, and Bangalore, and his colleagues in Kerala.

Pic: Manu Bhattathiri SEPTEMBER 2022

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About the Book The book is for readers who look out for rich language, unlike the new age writers who mostly use colloquially. The stories have plots intertwined with not-so-easy language, and hence beginners might have hiccups in picking up the book, but also it helps to improve the language simultaneously.


Book Review

STORIZEN REVIEW

Expect the unexpected is the tagline I would like to give the book. This thus tells the book is a great read. Give it a try and immerse in Manu's storytelling world.

Micro Review Inked in India by Bibek Debroy with Sovan Roy

Visit storizen.com for full review

Evolution theory poses many questions for rational minds across the globe. Little things like who invented the wheel, carts, machines, the computer, and other devices and how fire, hunger, continents, and other things were discovered always linger in the minds. Many studies, thesis, documented proofs, and facts have always reigned the world to understand the theory of evolution. This is a must-read book and recommended to every reader!!!

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Forgiving by Vidya Shankar


STORIZEN POETRY

The entrance — tall, menacing, reaching to the skies yet so narrow, yet just enough for me to squeeze in but I do and move forward leaving behind past grudges The path onward crude, cobbled oppressively dark trepidation closing in on me from all sides yet I take my first step and the next and the next — my every next step imbibing in me a strength that makes light the precarious journey

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Vidya Shankar finds meaning to life through yoga and mandalas which invigorate her to write poetry that wins accolades and finds its way into the ‘Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English, 2020-2021’. Be it stories, articles, blogging, editing, her work is suffused with passion. Awarded ‘Star Poet’ by Storizen, and featured in a unique coffee table book, ‘50 Inspiring Women boys and girls should read about, Chennai Edition’, Vidya Shankar, a motivational speaker and a “book” in the Human Library, is the author of The Flautist of Brindaranyam (in collaboration with her photographer husband, Shankar Ramakrishnan), and The Rise of Yogamaya (an effort to sensitize her readers about mental health and the need to break free from an outdated society).

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Forgiveness Is The Best Cure For Heart

by Aparna Mukherjee


I have pinned my pain Inside my heart I have never expressed The pain and insults I had gone through None other but from you Who was once so close to my heart. After bottling up the insults For so many years I had decided to take revenge on you Then, I thought for a moment Taking revenge is a sign of a weak person I will give you back my tears In the form of forgiveness. You were the one Whom I adored in my life For all the hurting statements and insults You used on me Will be etched on my heart forever Though I have forgiven you from my heart But have lost your place From my heart forever. No grudges, no bitter feelings For you hereafter I forgive you Because I want my heart to heal And forgiving insensitive and unemotional people, Is the best way of healing your heart.

In a few words, Aparna defines a woman who beholds high aspirations and firmly believes in expanding her horizon. She holds a Master's degree in English Literature from Mumbai University. By profession, she is a Website Content Writer. Her poems got published in the Indian Literature website named Facestory's.com. Currently, her stories and poems get published in the anthology books in the eminent Reflection Magazine and in the renowned digital magazine, Storizen. She is bestowed with the Indian Global Award 2022 and has been felicitated with a medal in the Tagore Literature Festival 2022 by Literoma. Her world revolves around creativity and writing. She wishes to make her mark in the literary world, hoping to leave an indelible imprint on the readers' minds.

So, I give you forgiveness For your misbehavior For your demean mind In return, I attain peace of mind. SEPTEMBER 2022

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TO READ SIMILAR STORIES, VISIT WWW. STORIZEN. COM


ARIES MOON SIGN: 10 OF PENTACLES This Month, Aries. You might get rewards for all your hard work in your workplace. It also indicates financial Success and Abundance. Some might receive Inheritance from their ancestors. Also, it indicates Family values and a happy Family. TAURUS MOON SIGN: 4 OF SWORDS This Month, Taurus, don’t take any decisions impulsively. It is the time to relax and meditate to gain your energies back to start a fresh. You can also go for a walk and think what exactly you need to do now. Sometimes we need to take a break from everything to charge are batteries for next move. GEMINI MOON SIGN: 3 OF WANDS This month, Gemini you might travel overseas for your new project. It also indicates teamwork for the successful goals. It also indicates wait for

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the result of your hard work in planning your ideas into reality. Some might be thinking about obstacles and challenges that you might have to face in order to fulfill your goals.

e

CANCER MOON SIGN: THE EMPRESS This month, Cancer it’s time to bring creativity in your work life. It also indicates enjoying the financial success and abundance. Women Cancerians can plan for a baby. It is the right time to conceive. Also enjoy your time in pampering yourself. LEO MOON SIGN: THE LOVERS This Month, Leo if you are single then you might find your life partner. It will be love and romance in your chart. People who are already in relationship, they will be spending quality time with your partner. If you are in a struggling relationship, then sit and have an open communication with your partner to sort STORIZEN MAGAZINE

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the differences. In work front some might be listening to their heart and take the decision. VIRGO MOON SIGN: THE HIGH PRIESTESS This month, Virgo if you are seeking any solutions regarding your problems, look within yourself and find the answers. You are the best guiding teacher for yourself.Listen to your heart, in taking any important decisions. This month, you will get the answers within yourself. LIBRA MOON SIGN: 5 OF CUPS This Month, you are feeling guilty or regret for your past mistakes and feeling depressed and sad and unable to move forward. Also, some might be facing disappointment in their life as what you expected, things are not moving like that. SCORPIO MOON SIGN: KING OF SWORDS This month, Scorpio you will be focused on your career and your goals. You will be taking 112

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decisions intellectually and logically. You will be going to be unbiased and fare as a leader for your team members. It also indicates some might be taking advice from a logical and senior person for solutions to their problems. SAGITTARIUS MOON SIGN: WHEEL OF FORTUNE This month, you will get good luck and good fortune. It’s a life cycle of Karma. Do good deeds and you will get good in return but if you do bad deeds, you will get punishment by the universe

CAPRICORN MOON SIGN: THE WORLD This Month, Capricorns you are happy to complete your project in your workplace and getting appreciation for your hard work. Also, some might be travelling round the globe for work. It also indicates, enjoy your success, and get ready for new challenging task with full determination.

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AQUARIUS MOON SIGN: 10 OF SWORDS This Month.Aquarians you might be facing a painful situation where you feel at the rock bottom. May be your project got closed suddenly or your unhealthy relationship came to an end. You are feeling lost. It also indicates, someone had backstabbed you. It is a temporary phase just get up and learn from the experience and move on with fresh determination.

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.

PISCES MOON SIGN: 6 OF PENTACLES This month, you will be doing charity work and helping others who are in need. It also indicates, sharing your knowledge and helping your team members to reach their goals.

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FUN Zone

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CROSSWORD

SEPTEMBER 2022


Arrange the letters above to make actual words Hint: 1st word - Facade

Arrange the letters on the right that make sense and fill in the last blocks describing what these are.

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