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This e-magazine is a compilation of Poems, Short Stories, Short – Story Series, Non – Fiction, Photographs published on Writer’s Ezine. Cover Photo © Arti Honrao Image source Google Images, unless mentioned otherwise. The copyright of the work published in this magazine remains with the author of the individual work. Please contact the authors and Writer’s Ezine if you need to use the content. You are free to share the content as long as you retain and respect the copyright. Visit Writer’s Ezine for details Find us on Facebook | Twitter | Send us an email Administrator, Editor, Promotions and Marketing Manager: Namrata Administrator, Web-designer, Strategist, Relationship Advisor: Arti Honrao

Editor’s Note Fiction Poem Poem Short Story Poem Non Fiction Author Inteview Book Review Short Story Poem Poem Short Story Series Short Story Book Review Author Interview Non Fiction Short Story Poem Short Story Poem

Never Give Up Blade of Grass Secrets The Wait The Thread of Love I Ran Home Revisited, Twice a Month Kiran Manral Once Upon a Crush Milestones Sojourn Home Psychedelic The Double Murder Living To Be a Hundred Meera Shashidhara Sweet Jasmine I Am Back .. Ha .. Ha ..! Uncontested Lies The Push We Need The Lost Smile

Poem Short Story Poem Whispered Words Photography Photography

Fighting Our Own Cruel Self Descent Political Circus Not-Leading-Anywhere-Road Memories Sunset

Editor’s Note If there is one thing that got reiterated by the recent election results in India it is one fact of life – Never give up. The world has witnessed the criticism that was bestowed upon Mr. Narendra Modi and the same world has witnessed the zeal with which he continued to stride ahead despite it all finally reaching where he is today. Life is all about making a choice – to do or to not to do. But to un-do is never a choice. ~N In life there will be many instances where the only feeling left is to give up. And THAT is the easiest thing to do for any one. Rather it needs courage to not quit, keep believing and pushing ahead towards the dreams. Writer’s Ezine was conceived as an idea to give voice to those wonderful writers and bring their work on a larger pedestal for the world to witness the magic. But for many months it was just sitting on the dashboard as WE team battled their wars. Amidst all

the thoughts that were floating the one that never came was to press the DEL button on it. For WE knew it carried within a lot of hope, not only ours but many others too. And that is the secret behind the no rejection policy of ours! Every issue that WE brings to you, we try to bring in as much variety as we can in terms of poems, stories, book reviews, author interviews and articles to ensure you have one of the best reading experiences. It’s your love and support that helps us keeping sailing throughout. When the grey clouds of self-doubt surround us the sunshine of our loved ones is what helps us find a way and stay afloat. Hence; This issue is dedicated to our LOVED ones – who make our life live-worthy!

Blade of grass by Gloria Monaghan

It is Thursday after class. I am sitting in my cubicle, which passes for an office discussing Oliver’s grade for English when the phone rings. Oliver is a tall student with a strong jaw line. He is wearing blue jeans, slightly worn and frayed at the bottom. He has a cap on his head, the kind that clings to the skull. He is sitting in the chair. I take the call, although I don’t’ always answer the phone when I am talking to a student. It is rude, and they seem to always be talking about something important to them. It is late in the day. Hello? Samantha? Mother? How are you? Your father’s is dead. Long pause Mom? I went to the social security office to get my check and they told me he was dead. I asked if I was entitled to

any of the money. And do you know what they said? No. I made more than him you know in my life, so I get nothing. I am really sorry to hear that mom. Actually… I can’t believe this. Mom, how did he die? I have no idea. I think he died in March. March. Yes, but other than that, I know nothing. Mom, I am so sorry. Oh sorry for what? Mom, I am so sorry. You must be really upset. No, I am not upset. Shocked maybe, but you know that just how it is. Years ago I may have been upset. I just can’t believe I have to find out in the security office. You know? Mom, listen I am really sorry, but I am with a student now. His name is Oliver. I really can’t talk. I can’t believe no one called me. It is pretty amazing. I mean I have lived in this town for twenty years. Mom, I really cannot talk now. Ok. Yes. I will talk to you later. Sorry Oliver, that was my mother. She told me my father died. Oh. Oliver shifts in his chair. Yeah So anyway, what were we talking about?

Do you want me to come back another time? No, no. This is fine really. I call my mom again. But we had the same conversation. She told me she was fine. And I wondered how you could live a life away from your children for thirty odd years and then die? I wondered how you survive those years away from the ones you brought into the world. I wondered about his small New York apartment. I thought of my mother alone smoking in her larger house in the Midwest. I had in fact very few memories of my father. Here is one. We are walking home. I am around 4. He liked to swing me up onto his shoulders. We played a game. I would put my hands over his eyes, and the more scared I got, the more I would clutch at his neck and cover his face. He would pretend he couldn’t see. He probably couldn’t. Here is another. We are in a park. My mother brought the plaid blanket. Everyone else is gone to swing or to play in the grass. And it is just us two. He takes a log thin blade of grass and puts it in his mouth. He is leaning on his hand with his elbow on the grass. We both stare up at the sky while he twills this thin reed in his mouth. The grass is very green. And I remember

the smell of it, and the stillness of the day. It must have been early June. Here is another. My father is driving. It is night-time. My brothers and I are in the back seat. It is raining. I see the green phosphorescent light of the radio. My father is wearing his off-white raincoat, which I will always refer to as a George Peppard raincoat because that is what he wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. We pass the pharmacy, with the small empty shut down store windows, and head to the empty train station. We must be in a suburb of Jersey. John Coltrane is playing on the radio. My father is smoking. I can sense his sadness. And here is another. The phone rings and I am coming around the corner. Our house is one of those with a sort of special area for the phone, a small hallway actually. You come around the corner and you are in the kitchen, which is yellow and white with a small Formica table near the window. I am coming around the corner and I hear them shouting. I have my favourite red hoodie on. I am three. He calls her a bad name, and she slaps him hard across the face. I have never seen my mother hit anyone, so I stop. They look down and stare at me. My mother tells me to go into the other room. My father is wearing a white t-shirt. He looks unshaven. He has the look of something in

his eyes that I cannot identify. I go into the other room. And here is another. We are eating dinner in the dining room. We are sitting at this huge wooden dining room table. The room itself is beautiful. It is the kind of room where you could entertain people. The walls are a dark blue. There is a Modrien painting in the room- a print. My father is at the head of the table. My mother is serving. She leans over the candle to reach for the potatoes, but her hair catches on fire. He grabs her hair and dunks it in the coffee cup. It is only when I go off to college that I find his address and start to write him. He writes me back too. The day I get his first letter I run upstairs and close the door to my room. I lie on the bed and read his letter six times. It is one page long, and there is a signature on the bottom. Love, Dad. Love, Dad. Those two small words fill my heart. Just be yourself he is saying. Don’t try to be anybody else, just be who you are. But those words just confuse me. I am lying in bed listening to my husband snoring when I think back to this - the raincoat, the thin crust pizza, the night lights and the empty feeling in my heart.

About Gloria Monaghan: Gloria Monaghan currently teaches poetry and art at Wentworth Institute in Boston. She can be reached at monaghang@wit.edu. Her book, Flawed was published by Finishing Line Press in 2012. Her poetry has appeared in Slope, Spoonful, and Aries. She also writes screenplays and fiction. Editor's Comment: A moving tale of yearning of a daughter.

Secrets by Priyanka Dey

Secrets How easily one unlearns them. And when the voids fill the gaps in between, They etch onto us, like reminders. Cindered on our pillows, the shampoo we’d shared How I’d been conscious to throw it away, after you left. A hundred lonely nights of talking it out, Sometimes to myself, and at times to your silence. They only grew, the shadows against the wall Of the monsters lying under our beds. When did it come to this? No one would become a friend now, or a lover How important can one person be? How many relations can break at a single goodbye, How come we never think till there’s no other choice?

When you left, a thousand echoes hid in the nooks you’d lazed on Your touch was almost shed off in the springtime of my poetry writing I sighed at the thought of you gone, The only solace being, the secret remained. About Priyanka Dey: Priyanka Dey is a post-graduate in history and thus loves delving in the past and things only frenzied minds can imagine. She is a published poet and has her short stories published as well. Priyanka blogs at Priyanka's Neverland and would love a shout-out from you, there! She can be reached at priyankadey90@gmail.com Editor's Comment: The beauty of secret brought out magnificently by the poet.

The Wait by Purba Chakraborty

The moment has finally arrived; I wheezed breaking the smile And looked around in a jiffy. The wait is making me impetuous; My lashes now, know not how to blink How did I wait for thee a thousand days? Twin flames we are, unwavering is that Our souls met clandestinely every full moon night, Whispering vows of ethereal togetherness. My soul has had enough of thee; Now my senses suspire for my soul mate, The yearning refuses to alleviate. Impatience laced with frequent gasp;

My eyes searched thou silhouette In the jam-packed railway station. Abruptly the beating of my heart paused As a gust of warm breath kissed my nape, Melody of thy voice caressed my ear.

About Purba Chakraborty: Purba Chakraborty is a freelance content writer, online Bollywood magazine writer and the author of bestselling novel "Walking in the streets of love and destiny�. Her second novel "The Hidden Letters" is currently under the editing phase. She blogs at www.purbaeasternwind.blog.com and www.reverieofpurba.blogspot.in . Her short stories have been published in various anthologies. Apart from being a professional writer, she is also a singer in leisure. She can be reached at purba.khushi@gmail.com Editor's Comment: The beauty of romance held tightly between those words in this poem.

The Thread of Love by Sreelekha Chatterjee

Atreyi woke up with a heavy heart. She was desperately trying to avoid this day. It was the festival of rakhi when sisters tied the sacred rakhi threads on their brothers’ wrists with so much love and affection, symbolising the inexplicable bond of love and trust that they shared. She had nobody to tie the thread this time. She looked through her window on the fourth floor and found young boys playing in the lane in front of her house with rakhis tied onto their wrists. She recollected the moments of happiness and sorrow that she shared with her younger brother Raghav during their childhood days. He always had the sweets before she tied the rakhi and hid in some corner of the house, waiting for his sister to find him. Atreyi had to spend hours searching for him before she found her mischievous brother at some part of the house. The fun and banter would go on throughout the day, and finally, in the evening the whole family would visit their aunt’s

house where they celebrated the festival with joy and fervour. She seldom understood the inseparable, divine bond that she shared with her brother—a tenderness and affection that gathered depth and volume along with the passage of time. She could always prognosticate something that would happen to him—be it good or bad—with an intuitive feminine precision that was more accurate than a reasoned comprehension. She would often instinctively predict about his illness much before it actually happened. Atreyi’s mind was drifted in the pleasant reminiscences of her brother, but at the same time she was unable to escape from the conscious presence of an inextinguishable light that directed her thoughts toward that side of the past which also enlivened the moment of sorrow and deep emotional distress. Atreyi remembered the days when she was eighteen years old and Raghav was only nine. Atreyi’s mother found a suitable match for her. Atreyi was very much against the idea of marriage at that point of time, but ultimately had to yield to her mother’s coaxing. Her mother was of the opinion that Kushal would be her ideal life partner. She had no reason to disagree to

that but somehow felt that perhaps it wasn’t the right decision of her life. ‘I’ve certain responsibilities which I may not be able to ignore after marriage.’ Atreyi told Kushal when she met him alone for the first time. ‘I can understand. I’ve no problems with that.’ Kushal said assuringly. ‘My younger brother Raghav is very much attached to me. Our father passed away when I was 10 years old and he was only 1 year old. Though he is 9 years old now, he’s still very innocent and immature. I don’t want to hurt him by leaving him alone at such an early age.’ Atreyi expressed her concern. ‘No worries! You may meet him whenever you feel like.’ Kushal tried to release the tension and worries that seemed to engulf her. Kushal’s assurance somehow helped Atreyi to think positively about their marriage. She thought that even if she stayed in some other part of the city she would be able to visit her brother at frequent intervals. Raghav knew that his sister was getting married, and he enjoyed the fun and merrymaking that was going on at their place. He didn’t realise that his sister wouldn’t be staying in the same house with him anymore till one of their relatives acquainted him with the truth.

‘So from now on you have to take care of your mother when Atreyi Didi won’t be around.’ Raghav’s aunty Smita said, quite unaware about the consequences that her statement might cause. ‘Why? Didi won’t be here with us?’ Raghav enquired innocently, with tears welling up in his eyes. ‘Your sister is getting married. She is going to live with her in-laws.’ Smita unfolded the reality. ‘No. That’s not possible. I can’t stay without her.’ Raghav started crying inconsolably. ‘Her house would be very near to your place. You’ll be able to visit her quite often.’ Smita tried to console him, realising that she’d unknowingly hurt his sentiments. Raghav wouldn’t listen to any reason. He rushed to the place where his sister was. Atreyi was sitting along with her friends and discussing her future plans when Raghav came up to her and hid his face in her lap. ‘What happened?’ Atreyi asked lovingly. ‘What’s the matter? Won’t you tell me?’ She persisted. ‘They say that you’re leaving me forever. Aren’t we going to stay together anymore?’ His lips quivered, as tears started pouring out uncontrollably down his cheeks, almost drenching him in that sorrow and pain. Atreyi was taken aback and felt the moment’s agony that her brother was going through, and she was

almost certain that it would linger for quite a long period after she would be gone. She didn’t know how to console her younger brother. All she did was take him in her arms. That night she made up her mind not to leave her brother for anything in the world. She knew that she would be the cause of disappointment for Kushal, but she didn’t have the heart to part with her brother who could not even think about leading a life without her. A long time had passed after that incident. It was only a year back that Raghav had joined the army. She was so proud about the fact that he had decided to take up such a profession which required so much courage and selfless dedication. ‘I may have to go to the front.’ Raghav announced one day when a war was declared against one of the neighbouring countries. ‘Oh! Why did they ask you to go there? You have joined only recently. Moreover, you don’t have any experience whatsoever.’ Atreyi said in nervous agitation. ‘Didi, please try to understand…’ ‘Why on earth did they ask you?’ Her voice trailed off into an uncomfortable and awkward atmosphere, but Raghav decided not to show how depressed he felt on hearing her remark.

‘Aren’t you proud of me? Nothing will happen to me. I’ve got such a wonderful opportunity to exhibit my love and concern for my country.’ Raghav said brightly like a hero. ‘I agree but somehow I’m not feeling happy about it.’ Atreyi could not conceal her tension and anxiety. ‘Please don’t send me with a heavy heart. I’ll be back very soon.’ Raghav pleaded confidently, as he touched her feet asking for her blessings. ‘God bless you! Come back soon.’ Though Atreyi turned pale as she got scared thinking about the consequences of the war, she tried hard to squeeze in an assuring smile. But deep within she was numb and scared, as she felt a strange sensation in her body. She could hear her inner voice say that he was touching her feet for the last time in his life, as he would never come back. Atreyi thought that it was not the type of intuition that she always had about her brother. It was her momentary concern and apprehension that was responsible for such a weird feeling. At that time she didn’t know that her thought would soon turn into reality. After a few days she came to know that Raghav had become a martyr. It was next to impossible to believe and at the same time control her tears that initially rolled down her cheeks on a regular basis and then intermittently whenever she could not come to terms

with the reality. She had lost her mother around 10 years back in a car accident and then it was her brother who left her all alone in the world with nobody by her side, except for the past memories and unpleasant moments to feed to her sorrow. Atreyi could not overcome the restlessness and disquiet that had become an integral part of her life after that incident. She shifted irritably towards the window from where she could view the balcony. She gazed listlessly at the flame-coloured roses that adorned the small garden over there. The softness and beauty of the roses didn’t seem to ease her agonies of loneliness and misery. She moved on to her balcony from where she could view the adjoining lane. She saw young children play. As she noticed carefully, she found them wearing worn-out clothes. The small boys did not have any rakhi threads tied onto their wrists. She wondered whether they had any sisters. She recalled that there was an orphanage nearby and perhaps the children belonged to that place. There were people in this world who were much more lonely and miserable than she could imagine. There was no way she could refurnish the void that was created by the untimely, sudden loss of her brother. She felt the grief once again in her heart with

the accustomed twinge of despair, and returned to the solitude of her room. She started looking for a story book in the wooden rack that could perhaps help her to drift apart from the gloomy atmosphere that had become a part of her existence for long. She came across an old, browncoloured diary that used to be maintained by her brother. She flipped through the pages of the diary that had witnessed the happy and sad moments of his life. She could barely read as her eyes were full of tears almost impairing her vision and ready to roll down her cheeks. Just when she was about to keep aside the diary, she came across a thought expressed by Raghav: ‘There’re so many people in this world who are poor and lonely. Can’t we do something to spread joy and happiness in their lives?’ She sobbed uncontrollably as she momentarily felt the agony and grief of the people in need of love and affection. It wasn’t long before she found herself amidst a group of children playing in the garden of the nearby orphanage. She tied a rakhi on the wrists of each of the boys over there and presented gifts to all the inmates. She could see the joy and happiness that reflected on each one’s face and realised that her brother was right. So long her mind was preoccupied with her personal grief and sorrow. She had lost only one brother, but there were so many brothers who

were waiting for their sisters to come and tie the sacred threads. She felt the peace and serenity within her slowly overwhelming her sorrow and pain for the loss of her beloved brother. She’d actually found the lost connection with her brother in the midst of these young children.

About Sreelekha Chatterjee: Sreelekha Chatterjee has edited several scientific and social science books/journals. Her short stories include ‘Wisdom of the Decision’ in Chicken Soup for the Indian Bride’s Soul (Westland Ltd, India, 2011), ‘Friendship Beyond Rules and Norms’ in Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul: On Friendship (Westland Ltd, India, 2011), ‘The Direct Approach’ in Wisdom of Our Mothers (Familia Books, USA, 2012), ‘A Sense of Sibling Love’ in Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul: Celebrating Brothers and Sisters (Westland Ltd, India, 2012) and ‘Wisdom So Uncommon’ in ‘Hope’: An Anthology of Literary Pieces (Lituminati, India, 2014). She can be reached at chatterjeesreelekha@gmail.com. Editor's Comment: A heart touching tale of the beauty of life.

I Ran by Sfurti Sinha

At the stroke of midnight I ran, I ran from you, from my pain, from my past I ran from you, from my love, from my life I ran from me, from hurts, from strive I ran From known To unknown, To future black and bleak Without you crazy and weak But for you, I ran, From you I ran like a crazy man, I ran with my legs and my soul My legs running in all directions, away from you

My soul entwined with you but running away from you I ran Your love engulfed me Your eyes overwhelmed me Your bare soul made me weak Your deep eyes made me weep Your touch your look gave me spasm My heart still bleeding, couldn’t take your passion Hence I ran I ran from your love and my obsession My heart couldn’t believe the love you offered I kept hurting you and saw you suffer You felt trapped, I felt locked My mind was numb and my senses shocked I asked this question again and again Am I fair to you? Am I your Man? And my mind gave me this answer again and again No, you don’t deserve her Will you be able to preserve her? Will you look after the pieces of her heart? Will you be able to restart? You hardly manage to let go of the past, You hardly manage to breathe on your own How will you be her Man? Will you ever be able to be a part of her plan?

Would you be able to give her the due? Will you ever stand up and say I do? I knew, I would never And I ran! I ran so you could see a better tomorrow I ran so you could be out of my sorrow I ran to give you wings I ran to give you wins I ran to let you fly I ran in the night, To let you see the day, I ran so I could die, Without you I ran, So you could live without me

About Sfurti Sinha: Sfurti also known as Juztamom is a mother by choice and heart, and a researcher by profession. Her life revolves around her two little bundles of joy. She is passionate about writing, especially poetry. Her pen is ruled by her heart. She writes on various topics including parenting. Apart from her blog

http://juztamom.blogspot.in, she also writes for “Mycity4kids�. She can be reached at myboyzterouslife@gmail.com Editor's Comment: A poem that says much more than what it holds within those words.

Home Revisited, Twice in a Month by Beloo Mehra

It has been exactly a month. Exactly a month ago she was sitting at the same place where she sits today - this spot at the Bangalore airport, waiting for her next flight. Then too, like today, she was going home - a different home, home of her childhood, home where love and blood tied her to everyone around, home where she felt loved and protected, home where she learned to dream dreams of growing up, of becoming independent and living her own life in her own home - home of her adulthood, home where she is heading today, exactly a month later, a home where also love ties her to everyone and everything around. But so much has happened during this one month. Truths of Life have revealed and expressed themselves in ways so that once again she finds herself asking what is home, especially that home of childhood? Who or what makes that home? Walls? Furniture? People? The bonds between the people? A particular Presence that is the anchor of a home? Is that Presence only a physical one? When that physical presence is gone, does the home remain the same

home? In what ways does the absence of a physical presence change the home? Or does it change anything at all? As her flight is delayed further by an hour, she reflects on what will that home of childhood be like when she visits there next. May be much will change, including the physical address of the home itself. But perhaps that change too will only be on the outside, would matter only when looked at from an outside view. May be the true home of the childhood will always remain, hidden within, held safely on the inside, letting its presence felt through the ties of love and blood, making its impact felt through all those memories some easier to dig into than others, some more pleasant than others, but all that have shaped her into who or what she is today, all that will continue to shape her into what she will be tomorrow. As her heart and mind continue to wander with these thoughts and emotions, a voice deep within reminds her of something she had come across a few days ago - "We need so much less than we think, and think so much more than we need." (William Chapman).

And so she tries to quieten her mind and moves away from that spot for a leisurely stroll around the terminal so that she may simply be...be with that "home" inside, be with that "love" inside.

About Beloo Mehra: Beloo donned the hats of school teacher, university professor and researcher for many years, and is now happy to be doing what she does best – learn. Living in Pondicherry for the last 7 years and working parttime as an online educator for a private university in the US, she devotes most of her time to studying the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, blogging, reading, gardening and just being. She blogs at http://letbeautybeyourconstantideal.blogspot.com and can be reached at beloome@gmail.com Editor's Comment: The beauty of human relationships painted beautifully through this.

Author Interview – Ms. Kiran Manral

Today we have Ms. Kiran Manral the author of the latest book “Once Upon a Crush” by Leadstart Publishers. Kiran Manral has worked with some of the leading media houses in India as a features writer and journalist. Her debut novel, The Reluctant Detective, was published in 2012. She lives with her family in Mumbai and puts her current job definition down as school gate mom.

The blurb of her book reads: Rayna De, stuck in a dead end job with a boss from hell, zero love life and the big 3-O looming large on the immediate horizon, has started to panic a bit. No, make that panic a lot. Enter new object of lust in the office, Deven Ahuja, and Rayna is overpowered by inappropriate visions of Cupid aiming his arrows straight into her heart, with turtle doves doing their billing and cooing act in the backdrop. Alas, Deven is completely out of Rayna’s league despite the contradictory messages he seems to be sending out, and is, as decreed by page three supplements of the city newspapers, the man in the life of the gorgeous, light eyed model-turned-actress Sharbari Raina. As Rayna battles with her crush, shaky employment status and dithers about signing up for domesticity with the approved-by-her-parents Sid Bose, of the multi zero pay package and threebedroom house, she discovers that life has its own plans.

In conversation with her: 1. WE team would like to extend a warm welcome to you here. Firstly congratulations on your latest book Once upon a Crush. Can you please tell us something about it? Once Upon A Crush is the story of a single woman in a metropolis stuck at a place in her life where nothing seems to be going right for her professionally and with no love life to speak of. Add to it the pressure to get married and the crazy crush she has on the resident office goodlooker. It is a book about crossroads in life, decisions and perhaps, finally growing up. 2. Somewhere between a rom-com and a chick-lit is how this book can be tagged. What is that one thing you would like to tell the readers before they grab this one to read? Just have fun reading it. Don't overanalyse it. 3. Who is your inspiration as an author? Definitely P G Wodehouse. 4. It is said that an author breathes life into characters and makes them come alive. Has it happened with you while writing these books?

Who is that one character who is very close to your heart and why? I think all one's characters have bits and pieces of the writer in them. You tend to put in your own characteristics or characteristics of people around you into them. I would think Rayna's father. He has a very brief presence in the book but he's a hat off to my dad whom I lost when I was very young. 5. WE would like to know how it all started, the desire to become an author and pen a book. I was quite content being a blogger. A couple of friends and my mother insisted I write a book and so I did. That's how it started to be honest. I started fiction rather late. I was almost forty when I wrote my first book. I think it was definitely something on my subconscious bucket list of things to do before I die. 6. Given a chance is there anything that you would like to change in the story? Not really. I think a story writes itself and an author needs to respect how it flows. 7. Your both the books have been chick-lits and have women as central characters. Any specific

reason? Do we get to see some different genres in the upcoming projects? No specific reason except writing female voice narrative came easier. But yes, I am experimenting with different genres. 8. We would love to know your future projects or any other books you might be working on currently. Hmm. I am currently experimenting with different genres. Too early to say though what will come of these experiments. 9. A feature writer, a journalist, a blogger, an author – What defines the real YOU? School gate mom. 10. One message that you would like to give to your readers and all those aspiring authors who dream of being HERE someday and having the title of author associated with their name. Write something every single day. Read every single day.

A huge thank you for sparing some of your precious time to be with here today, WE would like to wish you all the best for all your future endeavours.

Book Review: Once Upon a Crush by Kiran Manral :Intro: Rayna De, stuck in a dead end job with a boss from hell, zero love life and the big 3-O looming large on the immediate horizon, has started to panic a bit. No, make that panic a lot. Enter new object of lust in the office, Deven Ahuja, and Rayna is overpowered by inappropriate visions of Cupid aiming his arrows straight into her heart, with turtle doves doing their billing and cooing act in the backdrop. Alas, Deven is completely out of Rayna’s league despite the contradictory messages he seems to be sending out, and is, as decreed by page three supplements of the city newspapers, the man in the life of the gorgeous, light eyed model-turned-actress Sharbari Raina. As Rayna battles with her crush, shaky employment status and dithers about signing up for domesticity with the approved-by-her-parents Sid Bose, of the multi zero pay package and threebedroom house, she discovers that life has its own plans.

: Book Review: 1. Cover: The cover page is very catchy with a heard drawn with a lipstick on a yellow background highlighting the genre and also the kind of story a reader can expect from the book. 2. Presentation: The presentation of the story is pretty stylish if I can use that word. For throughout the book you will find many popular brands being mentioned with reference to things as small as breakfast to something as big as clothes/ make up / shoes range. 3. Narration: The narration is simple in the first person’s context with the character Rayna De narrating the whole story to us. 4. Characters: As mentioned in the blurb, Rayna De is the main character of the book around which the whole story revolves around. The only thing that one can make out from the story about her is her age and height. Perhaps the author wanted it to be like this so that each and every reader can think it’s them in that story as she has made even the other character of Deven Ahuja with whom she falls in love like that.

Apart from these two there are many other characters in the story who add to the humour, glam and entertainment quotient of the story. 5. Plot: The plot is simple and straight out of any Hollywood rom-com movie. 6. Storyline: The storyline is entertaining but at the same time it doesn’t have anything new to offer to readers of this genre. In other words it is a boy meets girl romance where it starts with attraction and misunderstandings to end up in love- till-death-do-us apart. 7. Story flow: Smooth 8. Language: Easy going 9. Pros: Entertaining. It does make you laugh at some incidents that happen in the story. (Reasons could vary from person to person!) 10. Cons: Too many clichÊs used in the book along with grammatical errors. There are places where had the right word been used the effect on reader’s mind would have been more profound.

:Overview: The overall rating for the book would be 3 out of 5 for it is a decent one-time read. WE team would like to thank the publishers, Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd for sending across this book for review and would also like to wish the author all the best for all her future endeavours.

Milestones by Meera Sundararajan

Impatience He pressed down on the accelerator and watched the speedometer touch hundred! He could not believe he was driving so fast‌!! A careful driver, it was the fastest he had ever driven. He watched the trees and building whiz past on the highway as he sped on. He looked at his watch. It was 4. 30AM. He had driven right through the night. He slowed down as he entered the city. The streets were deserted with just a few stray dogs walking by. His entire body felt like a coiled spring- taut with tension. He looked at the street names until he found what he was looking for. He drove up to the building where he was supposed to wait. The State Public Services Corporation building like most government construction was shabby and dilapidated. But to him it had taken on the form of the Taj Mahal, shining in the light of the moon, as she dipped slowly down the horizon. He looked at his watch -4.40 AM now.

The road continued to be deserted. He lowered the window and let some fresh air in. His heart was beating. There was only one question that it seemed to be asking “Will she be here?” Uncertainty She watched him from behind a tree. He was here as he had promised. He had driven through the night just as he had said he would, from another town nearly 300 km away. Her fingers were sweating with nervousness as she clenched and unclenched them around the strap of her overnight bag. It had all seemed so simple when he suggested it- a weekend at a picturesque hill station. She had surfed the internet to read more about this little known place. The photographs were beautiful! Just the sort of place that would lift one’s lonely spirits. But the point was did she want to go there with him? There was no denying the fact that she was attracted to him in a way she had never been to anyone else. They had spoken for hours over the telephone for about a year before she had actually met him. Meeting him, though very briefly had not been a disappointment. She had been to his town for a conference and had texted him just as she was heading towards the airport. He had been there outside the departure lounge even before she had

reached. She did not have to guess who he was and neither was he in any doubt. They had just known each other even thought this was the first time they were meeting. He had suggested coffee. She recalled the warmth of his hand over hers and the heat of his gaze as the two cups of coffee sat between them, cooling down to unappetizing muddy brown pools . They had not been able to speak a word. But the tension between them spoke volumes. It had seemed like eternity before she withdrew her hand from under his and bid him goodbye. That was last month. The conversations over the phone did not seem enough now. They wanted more. And then last week he had brought this up – a weekend at a quaint hill station two hours away from where she lived. She had taken time to accept the invitation. After all, it was not every day she went away like this. But he had been persistent “You will not regret it”. And so here she was with her overnight bag hiding behind a tree. She wondered if Aditi, their common friend would approve. But then this was not about her. It was about them. She heard her phone beep a text message. “Hi, are you here?” was the question. It took her a lot of courage to type” Yes. Look behind you” and press the “send” button.

Passion He found her standing silhouetted against the tree -a frail looking woman with an overnight bag. He walked up to her and took her bag off her shoulder. She continued standing there looking lost. “Come, let’s go” he said gently nudging her. She started, as though someone had woke her up from a trance. She followed him as he opened the door on the passenger side of the car for her to get in. When the door slammed shut, she felt a sense of finality overtake her. There was no turning back now. But the question was, did she want to open that door, get her bag from the back seat and go back to her empty flat? She watched him watching her. His green eyes glowing in the dark. “Relax” he whispered as he brought his lips down on hers. She closed her eyes and was only remotely aware of the car starting. He held her hand throughout the journey. Not to imprison but to reassure her. It gave her a strange sense of comfort. She could feel the pulse beating at his wrist. It was racing… like the car. But strangely, she felt a sense of calm overtake her. They drove on in silence until they reached the hotel. The room was obviously designed with a honeymoon couple in mind. She looked around at the silken sheets and the champagne bottle resting on the

bucket of ice at the bedside. But she would have been equally happy in a shack. She looked up at him and smiled for the first time since dawn. He held out his arms and she ran into them feeling her bones melt. Pain It was difficult to believe that the two days had passed so quickly. She watched wistfully as the bell boy loaded their luggage into the boot of the car. He looked at her from behind the wheel and said” Come on. It will get late. We have a long way to go”. She made her way slowly to the car. He was holding the door open for her to enter. As she settled down, he revved up the engine and they were speeding downhill. He took her hand in his and kissed it. He seemed very happy as he hummed a tune. “Why are you so silent” he asked her. She shrugged. What a question!! As if he did not know. She looked out of the window and watched the landscape speeding by. Strange, she had not noticed it when they had come in the morning yesterday. They stopped at a small tea shop on the way. As she emerged from the wash room behind the shop, she could hear him talking on his phone. “Oh, yes, we had a good time. All the chaps from our class had come. Great time chatting and swapping

memories. Should be home by 8.00PM. What are you making for dinner?” Why was she feeling so let down? After all, who was she? Certainly not his lawfully wedded wife – the woman to whom he was feeding the story about a weekend spent with some school buddies. “Shall we go?” he asked almost impatiently. She nodded as she got into the car. He was whistling a tune now. She withdrew her hand as he reached for it. She could not stop the tears from rolling down her cheeks. “Hey.. Don’t cry” he said as he slowed down the car and took her in his arms. She sobbed and sobbed until there were no tears left in her eyes. The rest of the journey passed in silence. Not a companionable or a tension filled one. But the silence brought about by a sense of emptiness. There was nothing left to say now. The noise of the city roads was slowly descending upon them filling the silence. She could see the State Public Service Commission building came into view. Strange, how different it looked in the afternoon light. Harsh and ugly with its skin peeling…! He stopped at the same point from where they had begun their journey together, almost thirty six hours ago. He bent across and opened the door for her. Their eyes met for a brief moment. She looked at him, drinking in his features. She needed to store it away for the long and lonely nights that lay ahead.

“Bye. Take care. I’ll call you” he said with smile as he ran the back of his hand across her tear stained cheeks. She nodded and got out on the road waiting for him to take out her bag from the boot. He held her with his eyes again as he slung her overnight bag on her shoulder. She wrenched his eyes away from hers and turned around walking back towards her loneliness. She could feel her chest clench with a sharp pain. She did not know which pain was worse, the one in her heart now or the blows that used to land on her face when she had been married to her former husband. “Difficult choice” she murmured to herself as she walked on. He watched her through the rear view mirror, moving away from him. He felt like a cad, leaving her like this in the middle of the road. He wanted to take her in his arms, comfort her and wipe all her pain away. But there was a limit to what he could do. He started the car and turned towards the western highway that led to his town-towards the reality of his existence. There was another woman and a child waiting for him there. He had a duty towards themas a husband and as a father. That man inside him had better come to terms with that...!

About Meera Sundararajan: Meera Sundararajan is a blogger from Chennai, India. She writes on various themes ranging from fiction to nonfiction. Writing for her is a consuming passion. Most of her themes revolve around life and its everyday happenings. Editor's Comment: A very touching take on the complexities of relationships.

Sojourn by Shloka Shankar

After a customary ‘Good night,’ I tuck my phone away beside my pillow; positioning and repositioning, fluffing it till it’s nice and comfy, opening my blanket fold by fold, tugging at it with my hands and legs, trying to even it out and lay it on top of me, shifting till my head plops exactly in the centre of the pillow… a sigh of relief as another day comes to an end, not quite exhausting or productive, but I just might live to see tomorrow.

The street peers in and a few branches sway on the wall opposite my bed. Next door, the neighbour parks his car in the garage and the gate creaks shut; along the block, one by one, the lights go off as people retire to bed; I lay counting my blessings, sometimes cursing under my breath, or sometimes, crying and nursing my wounds. Lying on my back, I stare at a ceiling that holds me in its hypnotic trance, replaying each episode over and over again, till I begin to breathe softly, and fall into my unconscious.

About Shloka Shankar: Shloka Shankar resides in Bangalore, India. She is notable for her work in six anthologies of repute, including 'The Dance of the Peacock,' 'Traversal of Lines,' 'Family Matters' and 'Rainbow Hues' among others. She has also seen her poems published in online literary journals such as Ekphrasis, Kalyani Magazine, Wordweavers India, Writers Asylum, The Literary Yard, Urban Confustions, RaedLeaf Poetry India, Coffee Shop Poems, Readomania, Verse Wrights and Emanations. Shloka can be reached at: shloks89@gmail.com

Editor's Comment: A very unique perspective to what otherwise we call LIFE.

Home by Jayshree Murali

What kind of a home should I build Mamma, he asked. May be of bricks and mortar cement and concrete steel and glass she replied for they will last you a lifetime and more. His eyes in awe and wonder as he looked up from his Lego Home which would often fall to the ground. But he was a child with questions, who read and dreamt and just knew ! What if earthquakes and storms and tsunamis strike my home ? will they last then ?

She looked up and said ... oh these are Nature's ways and you must obey ! and she knew the tsunamis only too well for they wrecked her heart. In that case , I will just build my hut with bamboo leaves and mud stick my walls with matchstick drawings and glue them with my own spit. he laughed.. His spit ? she asked how would it ever glue He replied my spit is viscous and sticks on to anyone I love. and I love my home Mamma my home under the stars, by the brooks where I can be just me !

About Jayshree Murali: A volunteer mentor in a Beyond School Learning Program at the not for profits VIDYA (http://www.vidya-india.org), Jayshree loves working with children and youth. the inclusive and diverse platform that is VIDYA , has been the perfect

foil for her creative expressions that can only happen in a joyful learning environment. She loves to travel and connect with herself on these journeys even deeper. She calls Education and Environment the two Es of her existence and Poetry helps her to be in the “Now “of the moment! She can be reached at jayshree.murali@gmail.com Editor's Comment: This poem is a reminder of all the good and bad things of life.

Psychedelic by Priya Anand

Part 3 of 3 The pink cliffs glowed with an intensity and brilliance as if backlit. She heard snatches of laughter in the distance and veered her car in that direction. She saw a campfire with tents set up around it and the strains of “Stairway to Heaven’’ emerging in a distorted manner. “Maybe they were playing it backward,” she thought drowsily. People looked in their direction, as the car drove through the campsite. Her husband’s lookalike helped her alight from the car and took her towards one of the tents. She noticed something strange about the people; they were half men and half animal. While the upper part of their body was human, the lower half was covered in fur and ended in sharp talons that could rip through skin and muscle. “Where am I, who are these people?” asked she, but she received no answers as the hitchhiker lowered her to a narrow bed and began removing his trousers. She welcomed him with an eagerness that shocked her; she had never cared for sex with her husband. She didn’t remember anything after that.

She woke up to an insistent knocking. Someone was trying to open her apartment door. “It's me, Anju. Open the door or I am going to have to ask somebody to break it down.” She felt like shit and the loud persistent knocking and Anju’s grating voice weren’t helping. “What is wrong with you? You didn’t open the door to the maid yesterday and this morning, and she got worried and called me. God, this place looks like a dump. What’s been happening here?” asked Anju as she walked into the apartment. “Anju, stop screaming and give me a minute to talk. It’s Chirag, he’s…” There was a knock on the door. “Now, who could that be?” asked Anju in an irritated tone. Anju opened the door; it was the police. “I am Inspector Krishnappa from the Fraser Town Police Station. We got a call from a lady residing in this apartment saying that her husband was missing since yesterday. She didn’t give us her name.”

She didn’t remember making a complaint, but she said, “It’s me who made the call.” Before she could give the police details about her husband, Anju intervened and asked to speak to the Inspector privately. The Inspector kept stealing glances at her during the course of the conversation and then thanked Anju and left. “Hey, what about my complaint?” she said. Anju placed her arms around her shoulder and said “Don’t you remember, Chirag and you got divorced a year ago. You’ve been depressed since then and on medication.” “I don’t believe you. I saw Chirag yesterday. We made love in a tent. We were surrounded by strange beings…” “You need to visit the psychiatrist again. It’s been too long and I think you’ve stopped taking your medicines.” “Really, then why do I feel as high as a kite?” “You need to relax. I’ll give you something to sleep” said Anju and led her into the bedroom. She must have slept and when she woke again within the dark confines of her bedroom, she couldn’t say

what time it was. The bedroom door was partially open and the light streamed in, creating a lattice of shadows on the floor. She heard a distant laughter and whispers, then a thump and the sound of something being dragged. “Anju‌â€? she called out, but her voice emerged in a whisper, too low to be heard. She stood up and the room seemed to revolve around her. She staggered to the door, pushed it open and stepped out into the corridor. A single wall mounted shade cast its weak light on the walls; darkness had gathered in spaces in between. The sounds seemed to emanate from the guest bedroom. She hesitated outside the door, some instinct telling her to walk away and go back to sleep. She pushed open the door and her eyes took some time to adjust to the Cimmerian gloom. Two figures were intertwined on the bed; their bodies mutated, half snake and goat; their lovemaking grotesque and perverse to the eye as the upper part of their bodies were still human. She must have made a noise, since the creatures

simultaneously turned and looked at her. It was Anju and Chirag.

About Priya Anand: Priya Anand is Bangalore based and has recently started writing short stories and poems. Some of her work has been published in Bangalore review and Spark. She is yet to discover her genre, but is having great fun trying to find it. She can be reached at priya7767@yahoo.co.in Editor's Comment: A perfect ending to an enthralling read.

The Double Murder by Prachi Sharma

“Listen, David. Wait for me near the gate of the apartment building. Towards the right, by the side of a paan shop, where there’s no streetlight, so no one will notice you there, darling. I will meet you at 8.30 p.m. after the job is done and my tracks are covered,” Melissa Lewis whispered on the phone, sitting on the toilet, in the bathroom of her swanky apartment in South Mumbai. “You seem to have thought of everything, honey. Are you sure your husband doesn’t suspect anything?” she heard David reply. “No, why would he? That idiot isn’t aware that I know about his affair with that stupid cow, Nicole Fernandez. He won’t be able to see it coming, darling!” Melissa replied, glancing at the bathroom door again and again. Even though she had locked it properly from the inside, she had to be careful. She couldn’t risk Will standing outside and listening to her talk with her lover about her plans. It could ruin the whole ruse she’d been planning for weeks. “Good. I’ll wait for you outside, then. All the best, Melly. I love you,” David spoke from the other end.

“Love you too, honey. See you in two hours. Tomorrow by this time we’ll be in a faraway land, starting a new life! Bye,” Melissa whispered, excitedly. “Bye,” David replied, and Melissa heard him hang up. She kept her phone in her lap, took her face in her hands and bent forwards in her seat, her elbows on her thighs. In a different room of the apartment- behind the closed door of the study to be exact, William Lewis was having a conversation on his phone. “Be ready with your luggage, Nikki darling. I’ll pick you up exactly at 9.00 p.m. The job will be done by 8,” he whispered, his ears on the alert for any sound of footsteps outside the door. He couldn’t risk Melanie hearing his plans for the evening. “Okay honey. You sure your wife doesn’t suspect anything?” he heard Nikki speak. “No, not at all. That silly woman is so busy with her teaparties and luncheons and social dos that she’s no idea about anything which goes on with me,” Will replied. “Our flight is at 11 p.m. so be on time, Will. We gotta make that flight…time is of the essence here,” Nikki spoke.

“I know, darling. I will be on time. See you in two and a half hours. Love you honey!” Will replied. “Bye honey. See you,” Nikki said, and hung up. Will kept the phone on the desk in front of him and went over his plan in his head. He took out the gun in his trouser pocket, and checked it for bullets, and if the safety was off. He didn’t want to entertain any chances of the gun going off by itself and shooting himself in the thigh. He suddenly realized his palms felt sweaty. He could hear his heart thumping against his rib cage, indicating his heart rate had increased. Will stood up and paced around the room, feeling the adrenaline rush through his body. A battalion of thoughts raced in his head, tumbling over each other in their scramble to be considered, some staying and some disappearing after a fleeting moment. He was taking a very, very big step today. He and Melissa had been married for ten years. In a few short hours- one and a half to be exact, he would be leaving this life behind for a completely new one with the love of his life, Nicole. She was beautiful, intelligent, and ambitious; and a tigress in bed- the kind of woman he wanted to live with. Melissa was okay- but she wasn’t half as charismatic as Nicole. She only cared about herself and her costly dresses and her high society parties and her rich, fair-weather friends.

He wondered why he’d ever married her…he strained to remember what made him think he was in love with her, a megalomaniac, self-obsessed socialite who didn’t understand love or marriage or relationships. Well, it was all going to be over soon. Melissa was going to go…and he would be gone in a few hours. Both of them would be gone to points of no return after that night. ********* Melissa was taking a cold shower in the bathroom to soothe her jangled nerves. She was taking a colossal leap that evening- make one of the most difficult decisions of her life. Not difficult because her conscience was prickling her every time she visualized the scenario of her plan becoming successful. She didn’t think she had a conscience, to start with. The decision was difficult because of the nature of the job she had to do, and the importance of covering her tracks. Melissa knew of she was able to carry out the ruse that evening without a hitch or hesitation on her part, she would be free for a lifetime of happiness with her man, David. He was gorgeous, fun-loving and made her feel young again by treating her like a queen-both in bed and out of it. She didn’t understand how she’d

fallen for William in the first place. True, he was tall and muscular and hunky, with that dangerous edge to his persona, his successful meat-packing business and his fat bank balance. Melissa guessed she’d been caught up in the heady, deceitful mixture of riches, a life of luxury, adventure and desire which William presented to her, and fell for him. Everything was fine till she discovered he was sleeping with that supermodel Nicole, who was a mutual acquaintance of theirs among South Mumbai’s elite. He’d been doing it behind her back for a long, long time. She knew that if Will decides to divorce her, she’ll not get anything because they hadn’t signed a pre-nuptial. She would be left on her own and that husband-stealer Nicole would get all that money and wealth. Something had to be done, soon. At first she had been angry and vindictive, but only in her heart. She made sure her real feelings for Will didn’t show on her face or in her behavior and body language. If she was going to send Will away on a oneway trip, she was going to have to be discrete to not give herself away and let the plan fail; or get caught, which was way worse. Then she had met David. He understood her, loved her, and didn’t think she was a jerk for wanting to kill her cheating husband who was going to rob her of her

entitlement to wealth and luxury. She’d found in David both the man she wanted to spend her life with, and with whom she could share her secrets. She was nervous because she wasn’t cut out for the kind of work she was going to do. She was her best at organizing tea-parties, talking fashion, style and other people’s lives with her girlfriends; not with mixing poison in people’s drinks. It would all be over in two hours. William won’t see it coming. Melissa turned off the shower and stepped out of the bathtub. ******* “Hi honey. You okay?” Melissa asked her husband as she opened the door of the bedroom, dressed in a black, strapless lacy number which William had brought for her long back, and in which David liked her, ironically. She just felt like wearing it that night. William was standing at the door, wearing a white shirt, black pants and a dazzling smile on his handsome face. Melissa thought it was perhaps the smile which had drawn her to him. “Yeah! I’m fine. How do you like this, darling?” Will asked. “You know I love you in this combination,” Melissa replied. She actually loved him in this combo- she

remembered it was what he was wearing when she’d first met him at a party ten years ago. “Well, you look drop-dead sexy in this dress, and I remember this is the millionth time I’m telling you this. I’ve got a surprise for you,” Will said, smiling broadly. “Really? Where is it?” Melissa asked, thrown off a little. “In the living room. Come on, let me put my hands on your eyes and walk you till there,” Will said, taking his wife in his arms. “Okay. I’m already loving this,” Melissa said, smiling, and allowed her husband to put his hands over her eyes. Will walked his wife to the living room. “Be ready to be blown away, honey!” Will declared, and removed his fingers from his wife’s eyes. “Wow! A candlelight dinner!” Melissa exclaimed loudly, her eyes almost falling out of her eyes. The living room was dimly lit. There was the dining table in one corner, having candles, various containers of food and plates on it. “You like it?” Will asked. “Of course! I love it! How…why…?” was all Melissa was able to say. “I like to do something good for my lovely wife once in a while,” Will said, kissing Melissa on the cheek. Melissa hugged her husband, alarm bells going off in her brain. Something was wrong. It had been a long time since Will had set up a candlelight dinner for

them- since he’d started sleeping with Nicole. So why a cheating husband would suddenly do something this romantic for his wife? Melissa was suddenly overwhelmed with a bad feeling. Will and Melissa went and took their seats at the table. Will opened a bottle of wine and poured each of them a glass. “To us and our marriage!” Will said, raising his glass high in the air. “To us and our marriage!” Melissa mirrored his movement, and their glasses clinked. “So…what’s for dinner?” Melissa asked Will. “I made you some spaghetti with cheese sauce, and chilly chicken. You love the combination so much,” Will replied, lifting the lid from the containers. “Oh my god, that’s so sweet of you!” Melissa exclaimed, her sense of foreboding increasing. Why had Will suddenly cooked her favorite dishes? “Will…honey…will you get me some ketchup from the kitchen?” Melissa asked. “Sure honey. Anything for you!” Will said, not finding anything wrong in Melissa’s demand. She loved her spaghetti with ketchup. While he was gone, Melissa took out a piece of folded paper from within the folds of her dress. Opening it, she quickly emptied a white powder in Will’s glass, crumpled up the paper and threw it under the table.

Will came back with the bottle of ketchup, and both of them resumed their dinner. “How do you like it? ” Will asked Melissa, as she ladled more spaghetti onto her plate. “It’s lovely and delicious, as always!” Melissa replied, telling the truth for once. She would really miss Will’s cooking when he was gone. “There’s more waiting for you tonight, lady!” Will said. “Really? I can’t wait! What is the other surprise? Why don’t you drink your wine?” Melissa replied. Will lifted the glass, and he didn’t understand what made him drain the whole glass in one go. “The surprise is…this is the last dinner of your life, Melissa darling,” Will stated, smiling. “What? What do you mean?” Melissa said, shocked. Will simply took out the gun from his trouser pocket. Melissa stared at it in panic. “I made a huge mistake in marrying you, Melissa. You have to go,” Will said, casually, pointing the gun at Melissa. “Really? Because you just drank a glass of wine spiked with rat poison, Will. You are definitely going,” Melissa said, smiling. “What? You what? You…” Will yelled, shocked. “Didn’t see that one coming did you, William?” Melissa smiled. Will, enraged and shocked, pulled the trigger, shooting his wife six times in the chest.

Within a few minutes, he started convulsing and collapsed on the ground. He foamed at the mouth and convulsed for a few more minutes, then he was still. About Prachi Sharma: Prachi Sharma is a Pharmacy student, author, blogger and researcher. Her other passions are reading crime thrillers, eating good food, drinking coffee, taking long walks and meeting new people. She mainly writes crime thrillers but is open to exploring new sub-genres within the mystery/suspense milieu. She has started writing a weekly web mini-series, called the Face-Off Killer, at her blog http://www.thecrimocopoiea.blogspot.in/. She hopes to be both a scientist and a published author some day, and can be reached at sprachir_123@yahoo.com Editor's Comment: A perfect edge of the seat thriller.

Book Review – Living To Be a Hundred

:Intro: Nineteen centenarians from different countries and a crosssection of society, share their memoirs, intertwined with the history of their century, as they experienced it. They were ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives. In these pages, they share their values, beliefs, habits, attitudes and lessons learnt from living to be a hundred. Most important of all, they tell us how to harmonise science and soul. They were around from the rustic horse and buggy age to the sequencing of the human genome. They witnessed the Big Bands performing, the railroads being constructed, and Gandhiji’s non-violent movement against the British. They have had personal experiences of the Great Depression, the World Wars, and the Japanese invasion of China, India’s freedom struggle, and apartheid. They have lost children to war and poverty.

So what inspired them and kept them Spirited? What did they learn from history? How did they find the strength and the will to keep going in times of despair? Is there hope in the 21st century for all of us to achieve more fulfilling lives? In their diverse narratives, they offer us a common and real hope for health, longevity and a saner world-based on our own humanity. : Book Review: 1. Cover: Eye catching and very relevant to the book theme. 2. Presentation: The author has kept the presentation of the book very intriguing, with various pictures and anecdotes from the lives of the people who have lived to be a hundred. 3. Narration: The narration is pretty engrossing as it has been presented in terms of conversation where each and every person seems to be telling his or her tale directly to the reader. The author has done a commendable job is keeping the 1st person tone of narrative intact instead of making it into third person which would have perhaps taken away the charm of the stories.

4. Characters: Each and every person speaking about his or her life in this book is truly an achiever in every aspect. Time and again the author has emphasized that life is the biggest battle we all can fight for survival the one who emerges victorious is actually a true survivor. 5. Plot: There is no plot as such as we are talking about a nonfiction book here. But the author has maintained a same flow for each and every story retaining a tone for the readers which makes a very light, intriguing and refreshing read. 6. Storyline: The stories are hauntingly beautiful. They stay with you in your thoughts long after you have finished reading the book. They remain as reminders inspiring you at every step of life, motivating you and pushing you to change the way you think for that way you will change the way you live. 7. Story flow: Gripping is the only word. You are so engrossed in the story that you actually don’t want it to end. 8. Language: Easy to understand, lucid and very connectable.

9. Pros: Highly inspiring. 10. Cons: The only con is some of the stories seemed very short as I just wanted to know more about them. Perhaps the author could have told more about them rather than their views in the later chapters on various things which have been presented as quotes. :Overview: The overall rating for the book would be 4 out of 5 for it a very nice and inspiring read. For a debutant the author has done an excellent job in bringing together such a mesmerising read which is a treasure worth having and gifting it to spread more cheer. WE team would like to thank the publishers, Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd for sending across this book for review and would also like to wish the author all the best for all her future endeavours.

Author Interview – Meera Shashidhara

Today we have Ms. Meera Shashidhara the author of the latest book “Living to be a hundred” by Leadstart Publishers. Meera Shashidhara was born and raised in Bangalore, India. In 1991, she immigrated to the US, where she did an MBA and worked in California, for over six years. She took a break from work when her second child was born. Though her career has been in Finance, Meera has always had a keen interest in human behavior. She is also deeply interested in nature and conservation, and is a qualified Naturalist. Meera lives in Bangalore with her family. She can be reached at:meera_shashidhara@yahoo.com.

The blurb of her book reads: IF THERE IS ONE BOOK WHICH SPANS GENERATIONS WITH THE COMMON THREAD OF COLLECTIVE WISDOM, IT IS THIS ONE. Nineteen centenarians from different countries and a cross-section of society, share their memoirs, intertwined with the history of their century, as they experienced it. They were ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives. In these pages, they share their values, beliefs, habits, attitudes and lessons learnt from living to be a hundred. Most important of all, they tell us how to harmonize science and soul. They were around from the rustic horse and buggy age to the sequencing of the human genome. They witnessed the Big Bands performing, the railroads being constructed, and Gandhiji’s non-violent movement against the British. They have had personal experiences of the Great Depression, the World Wars, and the Japanese invasion of China, India’s freedom struggle, and apartheid. They have lost children to war and poverty.

So what inspired them and kept them Spirited? What did they learn from history? How did they find the strength and the will to keep going in times of despair? Is there hope in the 21st century for all of us to achieve more fulfilling lives? In their diverse narratives, they offer us a common and real hope for health, longevity and a saner world-based on our own humanity. In conversation with her: 1. WE team would like to extend a warm welcome to you here. Talking about your book Living to be a hundred – it deals with a very unique theme. What is the story behind it? I'd like to quote what I've written in my Prologue here: "There comes an undeniable moment in each of our lives when we are pushed into encounters with the deeper questions of creation - the meaning and very purpose of our being, for instance. Perhaps it comes when tragedy strikes someone close or very young; or when the savagery of terrorism spits its venom close by; or when that invincible feeling that only youth is privy to, quietly tiptoes out, leaving one to face a physical and spiritual chasm." Though we don’t have all the answers yet (and perhaps might never have), the book

has addressed many issues through inspiring and enjoyable stories. 2. A book that is somewhere between self help and inspirational, Living to be a hundred has a very strong message to convey to its readers. Was that intended when it all was being planned? In some ways yes. As it started because of my own questions of the meaning and purpose of our being, it was my intention that the book finally has some solid answers and a wonderful positive message. 3. Your book reflects the amount of research that has gone behind it. How was your experience working on it and how important do you think is research for an author? My background is analysis and I've always enjoyed research. So it was wonderful to read up some history and research on finding my interviewees. It is extremely important that any published material shared with people has good research to back it up. It gives it credibility. 4. WE would like to know how did it all start, the desire to become an author and pen a book?

When it started, I was just looking for answers. But during the process, I realised that this could turn out to be a wonderful book which would be my contribution to the world. 5. Take us through your journey of becoming an author. The journey was quite a natural process....there was a topic that was burning inside me...as I did some research and started collecting stories and information, the possibility of it being a useful and wonderful material to share with the world became stronger. This created the motivation and an excitement in me which in turn became the impetus for me to be an author. 6. Publishing Industry in India is said to be a very challenging one. How has been your experience regarding the same? Any specific incident that you would like to share with us. Yes. Actually this book was originally to be published by a Los Angeles based publisher who had given me a contract. But as it had not yet seen the light of the day after 2 and a half years, I had taken the manuscript back from him. This was 10 years ago at which time I approached Penguin and Rupa India. Both did not get back to me positively and I had then shelved the

project. But thanks to my family and a few friends, I got the manuscript out about 2 years ago. I re-edited it and sent it to Leadstart Publishers who made it possible for the book to be shared with the world. 7. While writing this book, any particular story / incident that touched your heart particularly? All the stories in the book have touched my heart. 8. How different is the author Meera Shashidhara from the real Meera Shashidhara? Not different at all. The book is from my heart and so in a way it is a reflection of who I am as a person. 9. We would love to know your future projects or any other books you might be working on currently. None currently. 10. One message that you would like to give to your readers and all those aspiring authors who dream of being HERE someday, having the title of author associated with their name Work hard, have fun and don’t give up.

A huge thank you for sparing some of your precious time to be with here today, WE would like to wish you all the best for all your future endeavours.

Sweet Jasmine by Arathi Harihar

I moved to a small city in Texas, USA as soon as I got married. Being in a new place with not a familiar face around, it was sometimes very depressing. Each day dragged in to another and my home sickness only escalated. One day my husband announced that we were invited to a party. I got all excited thinking I will meet a few fellow countrymen there. I dressed up nicely with an encouraging complement from my husband making me blush. I was ready to meet people. A few minutes into the party there was nothing to sustain my interest. It was a party where people mingled, obviously knew each other very well. And I was left alone, high and dry. I went around the crowd with a plastic smile stuck to my face. I wanted to go home. The next moment I froze in my walk around; that familiar perfume cut through the air. I was thrilled. I looked around, nose held high started to walk around sniffing like a dog. I was pulled like a magnet. Lo! There in the back yard I saw her familiar beautiful smile; standing just the way she stood in my mother’s house.

In her crowning glory she was in full view to the entire world. Glistening like diamond, proud and perfect with all her flaws. I stood in front of her, admiring her beauty. I couldn't control it. With tears streaming down from my eyes I hugged her to my heart. I felt a hand on my shoulder. I saw my husband smiling at me. He bent down and plucked those beautiful Jasmine flowers and put it in my hair and kissed my forehead. It was like home coming. We both went back from the party with our hands locked!

About Arathi Harihar: Arathi Harihar has started blogging very recently. Being a statistician helps her to analyse, as a musician she is able to relate and as a amateur artist she tries to express and also being a Reiki healer she understands people. She can be reached at arathiharihar@gmail.com and arathiharihar.blogspot.in - Ragas’ of My Life Editor's Comment: A perfect slice of life that will leave you smiling

I Am Back ... Ha .. Ha ..! by Anvi Mehta \ I was waiting in this small room. It was painted blue on one side, red on the second, green on the third and blue on the last one. The floor had spotless white marble and the ceiling was jet black. "And this is going to decide my fate!", I thought as a short guy was walking up to me holding a hideous hat. He spoke in a very attractive and calm voice, "So, I am going to place this hat on your head. The hat will then decide where you will be going. It will be done in a few seconds and not hurt at all." The guy sounded more like the nurse who took my blood samples in the hospital 7 months before when I got to know about my sickness. It was a Brain Tumor - a time bomb which burst inside my brain a month later the report and killed me. I had no idea how it felt like dying but the after process sure was lethargic. After tons of form filling and standing in ques, I finally entered the dooms room. The place where my 'Karma' would be calculated and my fate of hell and heaven would be decided.

"This is the 'Harry Potter' hat?" The guy's face became red with irritation, "For the last time, I am waiting for Rowling to come again and apologize for stealing my idea" "She was here?" "Not your business" I sat quietly as the cap was kept on my head. I waited for a long time but the cap seemed to have lost somewhere in my head. Finally, the hat spoke in the guy's ears. The guy looked annoyed and spoke, "Could you just not balance your Karma so well before coming back again?" "Again? Am I supposed to do the form filling again?Why?" "You are balanced in all ways. Your good and bad is same. Your dreams and nightmares are balanced. Your achievements and losses are equal." "So?" "You go back. Pack your bags." Before I could respond, I was standing outside my house. I felt a gush of polluted air enter through my nose. The sun seemed less bright than the room I was in. I thought I was a ghost now - I had heard people say that if your soul does not get a place anywhere you hangout alone on Earth for eternity. I was shit scared, sweating like a pig. Wait! Even ghosts sweat, odd. I saw my sister at the parking wearing my dress. I went stood behind her hoping

she would feel me. I did not understand if she felt me, but I sure had my eardrums in panic when she screamed when she faced me. "Aaannnvviii!!.. OMG! Is this a ghost or a joke. I am sorry I will not wear your favorite dress again" She just saw me. I guess the sister bond worked after all. "Hey! You can wear it, I am dead anyways. What is up with you? And relax, am not going to hurt you." I stepped closer and touched her shoulder. I could feel her touch and so could she. I was feeling so much better that I hugged her. But, I guess she freaked out being hugged by her dead sis. She pushed me hard, I fell on my knees and bruised it. There was blood coming out. "You are a vampire or a zombie. I told you not to watch Vampire Diaries all the time..." I couldn't understand a word after that as she went running inside. I stood up and went inside my house. I could listen to my mother, hoping that she would be able to see me too. "Hetal, shut up. Your sister never was bad to you when alive or after she is dead. Stop the bull shit" But she stood still and shocked when she saw me and me with a bruised knee. She screamed aloud, "Kunal, she is back"

She came to me and actually inspected me from top to bottom. She made me sit at a corner staring at me till my husband was downstairs. "Who is back Mom?" "What are you doing here? What is wrong with our house?" I asked him seeing him in his house shorts and t-shirt. He looked at me and stood stunned. He could not speak. Finally, I walked to him and put his hands on my heart. "It is beating for God's sake. I am back. Did you remarry?" "She has a heartbeat. Mom, she is alive or what. I do not know. Call the doctor. Oh my god, and yeah she is Anvi, still the same questioning. I need to calm." The doctor was called and he finally proclaimed I was alive with running blood and beating heart. My family had a lot of questions but my mom hugged me tight and started crying. Her tears were unstoppable. I am sure she was glad that I am back again. Kunal kissed me and in front of my mom and sister. Though I loved his lips after so long. "I missed you. How are you back? you know I missed you right?" They told me everything that happened since the 6 months I was gone. My husband had moved with my mother and was her son now. My sister had taken

over all my room, clothes and cell phone but I know that was only because she wanted to feel me closer. My mom used to talk to my photo everyday and read all my blogs over and over again. Finally, I looked at them and tried to cheer up things, "I am alive; please remove that garland of my photo. And the frame does not even match my pic background." Everybody laughed and I am sure it was after a long time. Though they had all moved on, my room was not the same, there were new things happened. But, even if they had moved on, they had not forgotten me. There is a "Welcome Back" for everybody who is lost in the phases of life. So, death was real but I am back!!

About Anvi Mehta: Anvi Mehta is an Environmental Engineer with a passion for writing. She is from Kolhapur, which is a small pleasant city of Maharashtra. She has her own column in a local English newspaper in Kolhapur where she writes articles targeting the youth. She loves partying and dancing apart from writing. A fun loving girl who wants to strengthen her roots in writing. She can be reached at tetranvi@gmail.com

Editor's Comment: A light take on love, life and relationships.

Uncontested Lies by Paul M. Strohm

A boy is a killer a mammal stalking prey chasing other living things catching other living things killing other living things skinning other living things cooking other living things eating other living things you could say so much more but why add more to truth a boy is designed for trouble the ball trouble the game trouble the killing trouble the sex trouble the war trouble you don't want to think so you want to believe otherwise

you want a different script you seek other options history reads our lies experience smirks ask Dad ask a lover talk to him who survived listen to a killer’s story 11 months in Vietnam 12 months in Iraq 2 tours in Afghanistan somewhere in Detroit a bar in LA a church in Cleveland on a farm in Iowa selling shoes in Raleigh after a few drinks stare into our killer’s eyes an old man now once a swarthy brother he will remember he can’t hide his DNA the fuck word companion the stink of sweat piss and shit compromised by fear he knows its smell waits for it never to forget human body parts spattered blood

perhaps another boy a friend a comrade some human being madness madness madness a boy is a killer

About Paul M. Strohm: Paul m. Strohm is a freelance journalist working in Houston, Texas. He has poems published in HuKmag.com, The Lake, the Berkeley Poets Cooperative and other literary journals. His first collection of poems is scheduled to be published by the Wellhead Press in December of 2014. He can be reached at pstrohm_conte@yahoo.com Editor's Comment: The poet has managed to bring out the apathy of human life very beautifully.

The Push We Need by Animesh Ganguly

I know not the rules but I'll play the game being pushed against the walls and the cuboid converging with each passing second. But you know what the most fantastic thing about this game is? Everyone has to play it. It tries, tests, suffocates, blows you off but doesn't kill you. And that is something scary. People often accept death over adversities. Never have that kind of attitude because the attribute you take inside that room is what you come out with, only to be amplified. I put my pen down and reclined back on my chair. Rubbing my eyes, I moved towards the other end of the room pushing aside the curtains & let the dawn set my study room for a new day. My gaze at school kids going to the bus stop was hampered by a knock at the door. "Did you sleep well yesterday, son?" "Yes Ma, I did. The new bed is very comfortable"

She asked me for tea to which I said yes. And then she left the room smiling and handing over the newspaper to me. This was something that took place every day. My mother knew I would sleep in the day after she has left for office. She was one person who understood in soul and flesh what life is, if personified. She understood the black box I had entered and was prepared to let me traverse my way out of it. The last one year had been her struggle too. She was strong, strong enough to know that her son needed to kneel before he could take a leap.I went back to my desk and turned back a few pages silently reading something I had written a few nights back.. -----At some point in your lives, you are going to be directed towards something you don't like but something you need. It is nasty. But when you swim out the ocean and drive down the mountain, make sure you turn back and thank the person who did you in. God manifests himself in various forms. -----I looked up holding the manuscript as my mom entered the room with tea. She put it on the table as I looked at her with affection and gratitude and she,

well, just smiled back knowing that her son was radiating the wisdom she pushed him from the cliff for.

About Animesh Ganguly: Animesh Ganguly, 24, hails from New Delhi, India. Fascinated with the idea of creating a world with words, he feels writing and him have an open relationship. An engineer on records, an actuarial professional by choice and a blogger by love, he does not mind taking the alternate route. Blogging at http://penningdownthemind.blogspot.in/, he feels writing has that rush which can send the heart pumping one notch faster. Though his heart is conflicted between his love for numbers and writing and doesn’t mind being called a geek. He can be reached at gangulygreen@gmail.com. Editor's Comment: A touching tale on the selfless love of a mother.

The Lost Smile by Nibha Gupta

Gloomily in the corner I sit, Killing time bit by bit. Going through this phase, Without a smile on the face. Blank stare out of the window, Little stars in darkness they glow. I get up to walk a mile, In search of a faded smile. I have so much to say, But no words make way. This silence no one can hear, That smile is nowhere near. To everyone it’s just a plea, Just buy me some glee. Help me once in a while, To find the lost smile.

About Nibha Gupta: Nibha is a Computer Science post-graduate student who is also a blogger, writer and a avid reader. Writing is something that comes to her naturally and frees her mind and soul. Being creative at heart she loves crafting DIY also. She can be reached at nibha. gupta91@gmail.com Editor's Comment: Touching is the only one that comes to the mind after reading this poem.

Fighting Our Own Cruel Self by Shelly Rathee

God gifted us with a life so pristine and calm But human selfishness overpowered all its charm. This species which evolved from apes Now seems to be turning back to the same. They are titled to be the most sensible being among all Owing to their cruel behaviour, now humanity is left out to crawl. There is slavery, murder, rape and terrorism Above the bond of love comes racism. In an attempt to rationalize each and every bit Everyday many crimes they commit. Darkness overshoots the bright morning With a news of how brutality left another girl mourning. With every passing day crime and violence continues to escalate

Leaving a little hope for kindness to find the way to penetrate. Now it's hard to proclaim the vantage of mankind The lust for money and power has turned them blind. News channels and literature are cluttered With ugly face of hate and innocence left shattered. They don't understand innocence is very fragile With ruptured souls, they won't find peace even after miles. Everything around stings by the double shadow They are running so much after power, someone just them to slow. Why don't they understand by being so helpless and low Somewhere they will never be able make it home. It's the peak time to stand against violence Speak out the right by breaking the silence. Put the pieces back together to heal the broken souls Free yourself of the chains otherwise nothing will be left if time rolls. After the battle with darkness when sun begins to rise The bright yellow rays would bring the promise of a cherished life.

About Shelly Rathee: Shelly is an engineering student. She writes because it helps her preserve memories and their soul. She is a passionate reader. She can be reached at shellyrathee93@gmail.com. Editor's Comment: If this poem had to be described in one word it would be optimism.

Descent by Suraj Zala

Into the ante-chamber you walk, over to the elevator doors. The big, shiny, scary elevator doors, as your 6year old daughter Vee called them that time when she first came to your office and saw them. She wasn't afraid, no, not afraid. Just unnerved, you tell yourself. But then, what 6-year old knows the difference between that and fear? They operate on pure instinct. Instinct. Like the voice in the back of your head telling you to take the stairs? Or is that the voice of the icecream tub you've emptied in nervousness about the upcoming acquisition? Oh, you need to get some for Vee, she loves pistachio. The firm you work at as an analyst has been acquired by one of the larger continental corporations; words like “streamlining” and “lay-offs” have been flowing around like the stale air does in your floor, courtesy the fortnightdue-aircon-repairs. Well, now your office will smell like pistachio ice-cream, and that smell should hold for a day or more. You worked the Saturday afternoon till late and you certainly deserved the treat.

You tap the elevator panel, and the number count begins rising smoothly towards 30. You pull out your phone, and start spinning it between your fingers, bored. No notification light on, thus no calls, no messages, absolutely nothing. You slide it back into your pocket. The sun sets over the suburbs in the hills, shining through the glass wall to your right, a fine red glow it emits too, and the white luminescence of the fluorescent strips above merges with the red where the wall meets the ceiling. You never noticed it. Maybe the work never let you. Your daughter would love to see that, wouldn't she? The doors slide open, smoothly, silently; the fragrance of lavender and sage envelops you. The “lift-uncle”, as Vee calls him, is seated on his little berth, beside the glass panel, smiling under his clothes brush moustache benignly, peeking out into the ante-chamber. You step in and turn around, placing your attaché case on your right with a soft thump, and grab the handrail going round the elevator's inner chamber. “Aaj bahut kaam tha?” he asks, his face wrinkled, smile half-covered, as he takes off his uniform-issue cap, running his hand through a mane of greying hair.

You're not listening, which is quite unlike you. You're staring out into the ante-chamber, and with good reason. The fluorescent strips are fading, and the room is bathed in red and white, clashing with each other. Lift-uncle glances out to see what engrossed you, and he looks on. The lights in the elevator start flickering, as the monolithic doors begin to close on the room. “Shayad is floor pe hi problem hoga, yaha pe AC bhi bigda hai na?� he stammers. You nod, and catch a final glimpse of a scarlet, scarlet wall as the doors close. He taps a symbol on the glass navigation panel, and the lift begins its descent. The lights go out. The floor gives way to nothingness, and you fall. Of course you fall. There's no other way to go about it in a box of metal in a tube of metal, is there? You reach for the handrail with your other hand instinctively, and grab on tight. The elevator snags and swings sideways, the lights flicker on for a moment, the floor shears off with an explosion like a desi firework. Liftuncle accompanies the floor, and disappears into the darkness. He screams, but his voice is drowned out by

the blast of warm air and the groan of metal as the lift hits and scrapes the shaft's walls and comes to a stop. The darkness smells musty. There's a faint overhanging reek of rotten fruit and gutkha. If there were no darkness and a floor beneath your feet, you'd probably guess you were in one of the lift-installer's lunch zones. The bastards always ate pan and gutkha, and spat where nobody saw. “This is a place where nobody will see YOU,� comes the voice from the back of your head. The voice is right. Nobody will see you. Or lift-uncle. You now see your predicament. Trapped. In an elevator shaft. The power out. You tighten your grip, and look around in panic, as the darkness begins to close in on you again. Everything drowns into silence. Vee was right. Wasn't she? The darkness, the silence, both with such collusion, a powerful capability to induce panic. Aphrodisiacs for fear, if one may say so. You hear so much when all is silent. Your own breath, traumatising your solar plexus; your pulse throbbing, threatening a stroke, endeavouring to blow up your eardrums; the faint echoes of the creatures settles in the shaft, flying around, sensing a change, a corpse awaiting them.

And the darkness, your mind's blank canvas, made to sketch all the horrors you could imagine. Out of the corner of your eyes, you notice something faintly lit towards your left. You turn to look at it. The view slowly lights up, your eyes adjust to the darkness, and you see your phone's screen shining through your trouser pocket, reflected on the wall of the remaining section of the lift. It's a call. You consider reaching for it. You check your grip on the handrail. It seems sufficient. Gingerly, you shift your weight onto your right arm, and reach for your pocket, coordinating your movement using your reflection. Halfway there. Almost there. You fumble with finding the opening for the pocket. It simply isn't bright enough, you think. Like a godsend, a strip of light illuminates on your right. The space between the shaft's outer doors. You see the opening in your reflection better, and you gently stick your fore- and middle-finger into it. Which is when you realize the power is on everywhere, including the motors running the elevator. A creaking noise sounds from above, and the lights begin to flicker. You look upwards, gripping the handrail with both your arms again, as the light flashes again.

The power is on. The lights are connected. The motor will start. The lift has lost weight, and the counterweight hasn't. Lift-uncle had chosen ground floor. “You're going to fall.� You probably would scold the personality residing in the back of your head for being so condescending were it not for the fact that it is right. You tighten your grip on the rail, and clench your jaw, ready for the worst of falls. For Vee. You need to make it through for Vee. She's waiting for you. For her. Come on. The elevator begins descending. Not at free-fall, but not quite the speed it usually has. Not taking any chances, you don't loosen your grip, and you look down. The basement shaft-light is on, and approaching swiftly. You take a quick glance at the slits on the side of the shaft, you have about ten floors remaining. You need to get out of the way of the collision with the floor, or risk getting sandwiched between earth and metal. You look back up, squinting to look through the blinking lights. The hatch on top of the elevator is closed, but the force from the collision with the shaft has blown the locking mechanism apart. It's your only chance to make it out.

You pull your left leg up over the railing, and twist around. It's a few feet away, and at the rate of fall, you will reach it, but you need to climb out fast. You look down again, five floors and approaching steadily. You look back up, breath in. You jump. About Suraj Zala: Suraj Zala Old dude in teen body because visa problems. 19. Soon to be engineering student. Eats. Drinks. Sits. Sometimes tweets. Hates Cats. Likes bikes. Can be contacted at surajzala12@gmail.com Editor's Comment: Story that will haunt you long after you are done reading it.

Political Circus by Harsh Patel

The country is galloping through the tough times. Politics is on its own high. A common man is juggling in his hectic life. Politicians are busy with their vote bank theories. A commuter is busy managing his pocket money salary. They come up with their own unpractical schemes. With the swords and some goons waiting outside of our buildings. Five years pass with the same attitude. People die with their same debts due. So Many elections to come and so many to go. With the same agenda in their manifesto.

About Harsh Patel: Harsh is a college going, hardworking freak who loves laziness. He can be reached at tiger13295@gmail.com Editor's Comment: An ode to the recent elections’ frenzy


It hurts when the one you love does not reciprocate your feelings. It hurts when all your efforts to set things straight go in vain. It hurts when you are unable to let go. It hurts when everything is rosy one moment and dark the next. All the emotions that are pent up inside you, suffocate you. The other person, it seems, has always been or becomes unemotional, unattached and either unaware or ignorant of your feelings. You are stuck at a place where there is no road ahead and you cannot find the road back home. Sometimes, the road back home is there, right in front of your eyes, still you cannot bring yourself to move in that direction, you cannot convince yourself to walk down that road which will take you back home to a place where you can be yourself and give yourself a chance to be happy. Sometimes, you do not see the road, sometimes; you do not want to see it. According to you, there is no other solution to this problem. The suffocation is unbearable, yet you cling on to whatever little hope you have, you are waiting for a miracle to happen, for the person to understand, appreciate and reciprocate your feelings. You need

that person to hold your hand, to take you back home. However, a little voice in your head says, "That ain't gonna happen." Listen to that voice, it can never be wrong. So many people in this world are stuck in situations they cannot get out of. Some people do not want to get out of the situation. Everyone needs a love story in their life; even if it is a love story filled with sadness and pain. People tend to remind themselves of the saying - "If it is not a happy ending, it is not an ending at all�... Hoping that someday they would get what they want. What people fail to understand is that happy endings depend on their perspective. If you want to be in a particular relationship, there is a limit to the amount of time you can dedicate to it. You cannot spend your entire life for that one relationship to click, no matter what it means to you. At some point, you have to let go. People need to understand that being happy does not necessarily mean being happy together with the person they wish to be with. They can either be happy alone or happy with someone else. End of one relationship does not mean end of life, or an END for that matter, it can always be a new beginning.

Each and every person deserves to be happy. So, be happy. People need to learn to lessen the baggage, they need to learn to let go. If you are stuck at notleading-anywhere-road, it is time you make up your mind and take the road back home. Yes, it hurts when someone does not reciprocate your feelings but some things are just not meant to be. You need to understand and accept that. Sometimes, best of relationships fail. Of course, it is very important AND essential to do your best to hold on to it, make amends, rejuvenate it, communicate with your partner and give it a chance, but when all the attempts fail, you need to let go. You deserve to be happy - if not in this relationship then in some other. It makes no sense staying in a Relationship that suffocates you, takes you down a dark path, and makes you feel lost and empty. The first step is knowing that you need to take action, you need to make up your mind about what you want. Then follows the when, what and how. When should you take action, what you should do and how do you deal with the consequences. When do you take action? When you feel that you have had enough. If you are in a one-sided relationship where the other person is unaware of your feelings – you need to let that person know. It is

better to get rid of the “ifs”. Being afraid of rejection is not going to take you anywhere. If you are in a one-sided relationship where the other person does not reciprocate your feelings – you need to understand the reason behind it, accept and move on. How do you move on? It depends on individuals. Do what you love doing the most, get involved in activities that keep your mind occupied! Take a vacation, spend time with people who matter. Listen to music, meditate, and spend time with nature. Do whatever heals you. First and foremost, accept that you need to do this, you need to heal, and staying hurt and feeling sorry for yourself is not going to change the mind of the person. If you are in a relationship where things turned from best to better to good to bad to worse to worst; ask yourself a question first – Why did you allow it to happen in the first place? Why did you wait till the matters turned from bad to worse and then to worst? Why you did not take action when you realized that things are turning to bad? If you are still at the stage where things have just changed to bad, it is not too late to make amends. Also, ask yourself one more question – would your attempts change the relationship status from bad to good once again? Is your partner responsive enough to work with you for the relationship? If you see even a slightest ray of

hope, grab it. In any relationship, communication plays a vital role. If you have made up your mind to give the relationship a second chance, you need to convince yourself that you are going to be able to mend things. It is very essential to have a positive mind-set, it is very important for you to get rid of any negativity and/or doubt that either lies dormant in the recesses of your subconscious mind or constantly keeps hammering your mind every waking hour. How do you get rid of the doubts and negativities? Have faith in yourself, trust your instincts. Give out positive thoughts and receive optimistic response from the universe. Believe. Once you have gotten rid of the negativities and the doubts you need to “talk�. Even if you are a person who does not talk much, even if you think that it is not your fault that the relationship is a mess – TALK. Nothing else is going to help you save the relationship. You need to talk. Leave aside your hurt and/or ego and communicate if you really want positive results. Put forth your point of view, let the other person know that you care. Believe in the magic of touch. Round table discussions do not have a place in relationships. Intimacy is the other side of the coin of communication. Holding hands, a hand on the shoulder, a hug, a kiss matters a lot when you communicate with your partner.

When I say talk, it does not mean that you should not listen. Listening to what your partner has to say is equally important. The person might have something genuine to share, something that bothers him/her. Maybe, something that you did unknowingly, maybe something which you can easily change without changing yourself too much. If you are the person who has been wronged, if you are the one dealing with the anger, with the injustice, speak out. The other person deserves to know that you are unhappy in the relationship. You might want to consider professional help if you think one-to-one communication is not leading anywhere. Once you have tried everything possible and are still unable to make amends, there are two options available. 1. Convince yourself that you are strong enough to face the consequences of staying in a relationship clouded with doubts, ego clashes, misunderstandings etc. If you believe, your love for the other person is strong enough to mask these negativities, if you are flexible enough to mould yourself into the relationship as per what the situation / relationship status desires then give yourself the chance. If you believe that situation would take care of itself in future; the anger, the hurt will disappear, then give time the chance. Allow it to heal the relationship. And, as you wait make sure you do not add to the already

existing negativity. Your optimism is essential catalyst for healing. 2. All efforts have gone in vain? You are not flexible enough? You have done that already and failed miserably? You feel your life is stuck in a vacuum. The suffocation is unbearable. The other person is unresponsive, uninterested and abusive? Walk out. People deal with separation in different ways. How you deal with it would decide the course your life would take. Do not allow yourself to stay put in the hurt phase of a separation. Unless and until you step out of the hurt phase, you cannot really say that you have moved on. Moving on after a serious relationship would take a lot of efforts and I do not say that you will get over the pain in a day, however, to be able to allow yourself to be happy you need to take the first step. Being hurt is being human, it is okay to be hurt. It is understandable being emotional and not wanting to let go. Relationships are important, every opportunity, every effort to keep it together is required as long as the efforts do not drain you. Optimism and communication is the key. Getting stuck is one thing and staying so is different. While the former is not entirely in your hands, staying there is your decision. Everyone deserves to be home; everyone deserves to be happy.

To cling on to the relationship that leads nowhere, hurts you and makes you feel empty from within is not worth, however do cling on to the hope that you deserve to be happy. Keep your mind open to options. When one relationship ends, it necessarily need not be the end; it might as well be the beginning of a new relationship. Give yourself the chance you deserve. Be happy.

Memories by Namrata

Story Behind the Photograph: Photography for me began as a need to keep my brother who had gone abroad for studies updated about what happened at home. I wanted him to be a part of all the small and big joys that we shared despite him being so far from us. I didn’t realise the power this camera held. It had the magic of capturing memories and treasuring them so beautifully. The day I realised this I started capturing everything and anything that caught my eye. This is a gift I gave to a very dear friend and I captured this here as a memory, reminiscent about the memories we have created.

About Namrata: An investment banker by profession and a child woman, a dreamer, a dancer, a bibliophile, a poetess, a writer, a painter, a singer, a go-getter, a doer and an achiever by passion is how Namrata can be described. She is a prolific blogger and ardent reviewer since past 3 years under the name Privy Trifles. Her short stories have been published in various anthologies titled 25 Strokes of Kindness, Time’s Lost Atlas and Stories for your Valentine. She can be reached @ privytrifles@gmail.com.

Sunset by Arti Honrao

Story Behind the Photograph: I love spending time on our flat terrace. I needed open fresh air to be able to write the whispered words article. it is too hot and suffocating in Mumbai past few days. The heat before the Monsoon arrives. Air conditioned air feels good but is not really healthy and sort of freezes my 'writing ability' So, I walked out with a chair, portable table and my Ipad and casually looked towards the west. There was not much breeze but the scene was breath-taking. I rushed back inside to get my camera and clicked the photographs. Nature, in all its beauty infuses optimism and serenity in me and capturing its beauty with lens and sharing with the world is my minuscule attempt to thank Mother Nature for her shower of love on me. From headache to heartache, Mother Nature has healed me and I find joy and a sense of belonging in her arms.

About Arti Honrao: Author of fiction books titled 'My Life story' and 'Is This Love & Autumn - The Last Leaf' and novel 'Resemblance - The Journey of a Doppelganger' Arti enjoys writing short stories on Relationships. She has attempted writing different form poems but most enjoy writing Prose poems where she get to express without the limitations of words or rhyming. Most of her writings depict human feelings and emotions, which she tries to bring onto the page and into the minds of the reader. She believes that essence of writing lies in not only entertaining the reader, but speaking to them through words. She can be reached at contact@artihonrao.net

About Writer’s Ezine: When Alfred Hitchcock said “Ideas come from everything” little did he know that everything would mean literally everything in this world. Taking inspiration from him, two fellow bloggers and friends – Namrata and Arti debated one day the exact meaning of Freedom of Expression and its rightful usage is today’s times. And so was born Writer’s Ezine, a monthly literary online magazine (E-zine) with the intention of providing platform to emerging as well as established writers from around the world. Born out of a need and a necessity of solely being able to express all that one feels, thinks and understands Writer’s Ezine is one place where writing and creativity come together to ensure a wonderful experience to the reader. As you read along and turn a page you will find your mind wandering into places you never thought of before, making you sit up and question the biggest mystery of all times – LIFE. This is one place where readers, writers, poets, photographers, idealists, thinkers, atheists, believers and story-tellers all will be in sync with creativity. We accept submissions in poetry, short-stories, non-fiction,

author interviews, book reviews etc. read Submission Guidelines for details).


So what are you waiting for, unleash the artist within and paint the palette with colours of your choice! About the Administrators We are readers and writers madly in love with the written word. To know more about us please visit us at: About Namrata About Arti Honrao Submissions for the June issue of Writer's Ezine are now open. Please do read Submission Guidelines before Submitting your entries using the submission form. The closing date for Submissions is 20th May.

Designed by Arti Honrao

Profile for Writer's Ezine

June issue  

Writer's Ezine is a monthly literary online magazine started by Namrata & Arti with an intention of providing platform to emerging as well a...

June issue  

Writer's Ezine is a monthly literary online magazine started by Namrata & Arti with an intention of providing platform to emerging as well a...