Literature, especially English litera-
ture has gained considerable limelight
in urban Indian society in the last de-
cade...
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The 1st ever action packed Annual Bangalore Comics
Convention organized by Comic Con India saw grand re-
sponse from fans ...
So, you have this story bursting inside
of you, plots and sub-plots racing around
in your mind, vying for space. Yet, when...
back to the primary plot. Instead, plan
your story well. Make a plot outline,
splitit into x scenes of y words each.
Expan...
Thou shalt not take the cri-
sis/climax out of the protagonist’s
hands.
Comments: Make sure your hero
(protagonist) is the...
Thou shalt know your
world as God knows this one. The
pro-research commandment.
Comments: Be a master of your
domain. Rese...
If you don’t know Ravi Subramanian, then the best way to describe him would
be as someone who is in possession of a philos...
in me was not at all evident at that
time. Many of my classmates were
surprised when I wrote my first
book. I was not the ...
When asked about “the trigger” to
write a full-fledged Novel, he said!
“Writing for me was a journey I
embarked on very la...
a close friend and a fabulous writer,
PrakashIyer told me that he signed
his first book with Penguin after he
sent them a ...
“f God was a Banker won the Gold-
en Quill Award in 2008. The In-
credible Banker won the Economist
Crossword Book Award f...
of nature, size or materiality should
have been close to zero, which is
not the case. Lack of controls, high
pressure on d...
next chapter is going to take. When
I myself don’t know what the next
chapter is going to be on, it is highly
unlikely tha...
the editors desk. Of hundred that hit
the editors desk, one gets published.
Of hundred that get published, one
makes it to...
willing to share notes with others. A
realization is slowly dawning that
authors are not commodities. They
don’t eat into ...
they begin writing. All they need is
an idea. For example in The Bank-
ster, the story has taken a completely
different sh...
What prompted you to start
writing?
Sometimes, you can’t always tell the
truth, neither, you are strong enough to
face it,...
“IsmitaTandon Dhankher is ‘A Lesser Known Poet’. Her poem, ‘The Beasts Run
Wild’, is currently up on MSN, as part of an on...
Does an author have to be crim-
inally minded to write Crime nov-
el?
Not at all…I have never intentionally
hurt anyone…bu...
Preeti singh is an author, editor and writer based in Chandigarh. Apart from
being a full time mom, she actively involves ...
Ialways felt the ‘writer’ label is an
unnecessary one. At one point, we all
become writers, scripting our own lives,
penni...
Rahul Biswas is a software engineer working in Kolkata for a reputed MNC.
Born and brought up in the City of Joy, he wishe...
If I was told in Class 8 that I would
one day publish a book, I would have
keeled over in violent hysterics.
Everytime I r...
Renowned for making things up as she goes along, Smita Shetty stumbled into
the literary world quite by accident. The rele...
Tell us something about your exciting career ?
As a career, nature photography is never a good option. It is very
challeng...
cherished dreams are coming alive.
With wildlife destinations becoming
even more expensive, life of a full time
Nature and...
any favorite assignment I have had. Be-
ing able to work in the field for as long
as I want to, being amidst nature, exe-
...
Debarshi Goswami
A student of Photojournalism &
Travel photography from Kolkata,
pursuing his dream to became a
profession...
I await your return
You left me in shambles
Profoundness is lost on me now
I am alive in an empty world
The girl stands al...
Asmita Sarkar is a final year MA English student from Hindu College, Delhi
University. She has been inflicted with the rea...
A student by profession,a blog-
ger by choice, a new book-addict,
a dreamer and a dance-lover and
someone who is yet to fi...
I try and enjoy everything in life
and good company just makes it
easier. Poetry, for me, is comfort. As
for my profession...
The music of the rain
Neha Gupta
The warm red of the dusk seeps through me
As I soak in the rays through the dark clouds
T...
I am a Marketer by profession. I love writing, reading, watching movies and
travelling especially to historic places! Expl...
Iwas pregnant.
My world stopped. I had just started
building a new life and I was mentally
disoriented. The first thought ...
mother. I accepted the fact that I love
Nakul and cannot abort the only link
between us. I still had a hope that one
day N...
wallet and threw two notes of thousand
rupees at me. I felt hatred to my body.
Why am I born as a woman? I had no
answers ...
Rekha disconnected the call and ar-
ranged Mamta with her husband’s auto
rickshaw. The reached me as soon as
possible but ...
me. I was thankful to Rekha, who was
married and happy. Mamta and Bittu
were blessed with a baby boy, who was
like a broth...
“Born and nurtured in at a scholastic family in Delhi,
Himadri studied English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College, Univ...
I felt a whiff of breath on my neck.
Goosebumps had erupted over my neck
as blisters would sprout after contact
with a hot...
Ritesh Agarwal is a freelance writer, a zealous blogger, a book reviewer and
a voracious reader. He literally reveres Edga...
“Oh shit, I’m late”, I thought to
myself while driving as fast as possible
in the maddening traffic and pothole
ridden roa...
profile, smiling only occasionally.
“I have an idea,” Sidharth said excited-
ly, “How about Naman helping us with
our flat...
As I heard Naman’s voice, I almost
dropped my phone. Thoughts of him
had been haunting me day and night
and I couldn’t get...
dialled the security to know if it was
flooded even near our apartment build-
ing. The security guard confirmed my
biggest...
to do - from throwing things to calling
me and Naman names to sobbing. I
felt sorry for him but there was no use
pretendin...
She is an avid reader and an amateur writer and poet. She pens what she
observes, weird yet intriguing lives of real peopl...
Jacob Hills, the second book by
Ishmitha Tandon Dhankher, is not only
a novel with a murder mystery at its
core but also a...
Arunima is by Profession a doctor, working with phar-
macovigilance with a research organization. She is an
avid reader of...
When I got copy of this book, I was
not really thrilled. I unfurled its pag-
es- lo and behold- it was entirely in the
for...
Anuradha reviews classics, romantic comedies, mys-
tery and thriller, in short books of all genres. She
latches on to book...
Iam a complete Cover Page person. I
have to like the cover page to give book
a chance, otherwise no matter how
good the co...
“Reema Sahay is a Stay-At-Home-Mom, Freelance Writ-
er, Voracious Reader, Passionate Blogger, Social Media
Enthusiast, Int...
Sapna Agarwal
Social consultant, Ajmer
Vikram Seth
Vikram Seth is one of my favorite In-
dian authors. And no, I haven’t r...
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
Storizen Magazine - July Issue
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Storizen Magazine - July Issue

  1. 1. Literature, especially English litera- ture has gained considerable limelight in urban Indian society in the last de- cade or so. Number of publication in Indian English literature has gone up many folds in the recent past. Fiction by Indian authors, in particular, has gained huge popularity. Reasons for that are many. The new- age digital platform has provided many a social networking and blogging sites, encouraging many to take up writing. In presence of an open publishing platform, the limitations of the traditional publishing meth- ods are cast aside. Starting out with tentative amateurish writings, bloggers have gradually evolved and blossomed into professional authors, able not only to hold their own but also challenge the popularity of the veterans. The changing socio-economic landscape, increase in buying power has meant that the market of the published books has become more lucrative. Publishers have in turn become more open to the new breed of writers. Armed with this new found confidence, many have chosen writing as a full fledged pro- fession, leaving behind otherwise successful careers. But perhaps there is a basic change in the writing industry (if I may call it so). The new generation of media savvy writers/ publishers who are more focused on marketing, has a decisive edge over the not so strong old war horses whose main weap- on were their pen alone. This has thrust upon all of us – the readers, the reviewers and Storizen, the additional responsibility to consciously search and promote meaningful literature. Thank you for your patronage and overwhelming support. We hope to be able to continue to promote and encourage young aspiring authors to take Indian English literature to new heights with your continued support and well wishes. Editor Victor Basu Sub Editors Mukesh Rijhwani Sumantra Chowdhury Sanghamitra Guha Trainee Sub Editor Nidhi Mathur Copy Editors Asmita Sarkar Saurabh Chawla Photo Editor Neloy Banerjee Designer Amit Mitra EDITORIAL TEAM
  2. 2. 5 26 30 34 38 66 64 58 52 55 56 54 42 10 12 03 46 06 78 72 76 74
  3. 3. The 1st ever action packed Annual Bangalore Comics Convention organized by Comic Con India saw grand re- sponse from fans from all age groups. The two day fest was an effort put in to celebrate the love for comics and give a boost to the Comic industry by in- creasing local interaction and participation. People were dressed in their favorite comic characters and superhero costumes; Renowned Guests took Special Ses- sions, there were over 10 book launches, tons of merchan- dise & lots of activities.
  4. 4. So, you have this story bursting inside of you, plots and sub-plots racing around in your mind, vying for space. Yet, when you finally get around to penning it down, you find yourself stuck. So, what are these intangible blocks that leave us stumped one time or the other? Here’s a quick list that I put together based on my experiences. 1. Procrastination: A variant form of lethargy, procrastination tops the list every time. Browsingthe internet or slouching on thesofa while watching TV seems tempting instead. But, no one can teach you to discipline yourself. You can take a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink. Not unless it wants to. Push yourself to take that first step. 2. The Name Game: Are you one of those who are so obsessed with the title, so much so that you cannot pen down the first word of the story until you have an appropriate title in mind? No point in fretting about it. If your naming kitty is empty, look to friends for ideas. Think of innovative ways to generate names. Parents today even hold on- line contests asking for baby names, surely a story is no different. 3. Starting Trouble: Say you’ve got characters, their intricacies and the flow all lined up. Yet, you can’t de- cide which incident to start with. If you can’t make up your mind, put it aside for the time being. Is there an incident in your story which you feel strongly about? Start there. Once you start penning it down, sooner or later, the start will fall into place. You can always re-align the scenes later as per your original sequence. 4. ‘Ender’ Bender: Have you read stories that leave an unfinished taste in your mouth? As if not enough work was done to give it a smooth ending? I often get stuck at Act III because I am not sure how best to wrap up the story or how effective my ending would be. Of- ten I just ditch the story mid-way and come back to it weeks later. If you’re like me, explore different authors instead – pay attention to the part of the story which signifies the wrapping-up section of the book. Try multiple endings. Get reviews and constructive feedback. 5. Everything in the middle. Recently, a writer friend of mine, was working on a novella. Before she knew it she had introducedunwanted flashbacks, irrel- evant characters, and unnecessary de- tours from the main plot. And then she got stuck, unsure as to how to mould the story back to the primary plotline. It took a whole lot of rework to come
  5. 5. back to the primary plot. Instead, plan your story well. Make a plot outline, splitit into x scenes of y words each. Expand each scene a little to note down the main characters, the emotion, what is expected from the scene, etc. This will serve as a useful guide throughout your quest. 6. Word count: I have known writers to get stuck because of word counts. Sounds strange, isn’t it? It happens when you start out with a fixed word count in mind but nothing more. And then, one might end up stuffing un- wanted details into the scenes simply to fluff up the word count. Plotting and se- quencing are essential activities to story writing.Happenings should be engaging enough to hold the reader’s attention but a good amount of detailing also helps in making the story come alive. 7. Negativity: There’s enough depres- sion and sad news in the world today to bog one down. This in turn affects our mental state of mind andkills creativity. Spend a little time righting the wrong by doing your bit and force yourself to spend the rest concentrating on your story. 8. I-m-Perfect syndrome: You want to write the perfect story, I get it. But striv- ing for perfection in the first draft and driving yourself crazy in an attempt to achieve that could end up in you ditch- ing the idea mid-way. Get the first draft down. Then work on perfecting it. 9. Social Media: Yes too much distrac- tions from the much loved phenome- non – Social media - Facebook, Twit- ter, Google+, TV, Internet, Youtube (especially sitcoms), even reading blogs. There’s no dearth of distractions to pull you away from what you really set out to do. Again, self-discipline is the solu- tion. Make a time schedule. Stick to it religiously. 10.Conflicting or Negative Feedback: Don’t pull out your hair trying to sieve through conflicting feedback. If you find yourself in such a situation,I rec- ommend following your instincts. You know yourself and your writing styles the best. Never say no to feedback, especially the constructive kinds. But picking and sieving through it will be your responsibility. Blindly following anyone’s feedback and incorporating the same could end up doing more harm than good. Use your judgment. At the end of the day, remember. This is how you do it. You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard. – Neil Gaiman. Deepa’s stories have been published in two multi-genre an- thologies - Ten Shades of Life and Kaleidoscope - both of them fetching good reviews. Basically a fiction writer, she also loves to write about experiences that mould her life!!
  6. 6. Thou shalt not take the cri- sis/climax out of the protagonist’s hands. Comments: Make sure your hero (protagonist) is the one which re- solves the mystery in the end or as a matter of fact, destroys the villain in the end. The last thing you want in your story is – It’s the last ball of the match, 4 runs to win and your hero is at the non-striker’s end. (Lagaan anyone!) Thou shalt not make life easy for the protagonist. Noth- ing progresses in a story except through conflict. Comments: Your hero has to over- come hardships. If life is easy for the hero, it will not be of much interest to your readers. It doesn’t matter whether his life is awfully poor or extremely grand. Thou shalt not give expo- sition for exposition’s sake. Drama- tize it. Convert exposition to am- munition. Comments: Do not give compre- hensive descriptions and explana- tions when it’s not needed. Instead, dramatize it and make it count. Thou shalt not use false mystery or cheap surprise. Comments: Be authentic. A fake flower, no matter how similar it looks to the real one, can’t emit long lasting fragrance. Thou shalt respect your audience. The anti-hackcommand- ment. Comments: Your audience is not stupid. Stop treating them as if they are! 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
  7. 7. Thou shalt know your world as God knows this one. The pro-research commandment. Comments: Be a master of your domain. Research and make sure, you’re second to none. Also, know your characters as if they are your children (or family members). Write a quick story about each of your characters from birth till death. Thou shalt not complicate when complexity is better. Don’t multiply the complications on one level. Use all three: Intra-personal, Inter-personal, Extra-personal. Comments: Don’t over complicate things for your hero or the story. Don’t treat your hero as if he was the protagonist of a ‘game’ where he has to fight with increasing ar- mory as the level progresses. Thou shalt seek the end of the line, taking characters to the farthest reaches and depth of con- flict imaginable within the story’s own realm of probability. Comments: Make sure you exploit all the situations which makes your hero weak, strong, sad, happy, etc., within the boundaries of your sto- ry. Thou shalt not write on the nose. Put a subtext under every text. Comments: These 3 words should explain this. “Show, don’t tell”. 10. Thou shalt rewrite. Comments: Never ship your first draft. Someone said, “Writing is rewriting”. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
  8. 8. If you don’t know Ravi Subramanian, then the best way to describe him would be as someone who is in possession of a philosophers’ stone. Everything he has touched, or got associated with, turns in to gold. For instance, when we did a vid- eo on his book ‘The Bankster’ on Storizen TV, the viewership soared and till date it has been the most watched video. When we asked, if he could take time out for our magazine, he obliged enthusiastically. The first questions that we asked him were about his IIMB days, were they fun? To which he replied. “The two best years of my life were spent at IIM-Bangalore. Small town background, protective family, conservative values: I felt like a misfit on day one. In the midst of super confident students from metros, it was not too difficult to get intimidated. While keeping ones chin up was difficult, it helped me evolve. I had to work harder for success, but when it came, the same success was sweeter. By the time the first term ended, I was in the top 20 on campus. Not a mean achievement by any standards. I made quite a few friends; many of them still remain friends. I owe a lot of what I am today, to my days at IIM Bangalore. Having said that the writing streak
  9. 9. in me was not at all evident at that time. Many of my classmates were surprised when I wrote my first book. I was not the literary kinds, not at all. I was more of a fun loving guy, always out to pull someone’s leg, play a prank or two on others, listen to the absolutely latest in Bollywood at the middle of the night, that too at peak volume – definitely not the kinds you would associate with the “Literary types”.” Ravi, who grew up in Ludhiana where his parents were teachers at an engi- neering college, was exposed to people, language and culture that were dramati- cally different from the one at his home Interestingly, we also did an MBA spe- cial episode of Book Samachar on Stori- zen TV. This was also well applauded by our viewers. We next asked Ravi as to why bankers and especially MBAs are taking tow- riting, tell us why? “I guess many bankers are losing their jobs today. Guess writing is an insurance against loss of job and consequent income. On a serious note, When I started writing, there weren’t many banker / MBA au- thors. Chetan Bhagat was one. And may be a few others. But definitely not the numbers that we see today. To my mind, there are multiple rea- sons for this change that is taking place. Firstly, publishers, after tast- ing success, are more receptive to Indian Authors. I guess the market was always there but supply to ful- fill the need was not there. No one was confident of publishing them profitably. Now when publishers are taking the lead, the writers are responding enthusiastically. Second- ly, the media glamourized authors. Authors are beginning to be seen as Intellectually glamorous now. And the ambitious bankers / MBA’s see this as a way to glory. Thirdly MBA’s have been able to successfully stand up and market their books well, a bit shamelessly too. And this has helped them build their own brands. This leads me to the most import- ant point, we as Indians always look for role models. And when we see a Banker / MBA become a successful author, he or she becomes a success- ful role model for many other bank- ers or MBA graduates. And that becomes a trend to follow.” Ravi has spent close to two decades in the financial services industry. After having worked with companies such as Citibank, HSBC and ANZ Grin- dlays, Ravi is now the president and chief executive officer ofShriram Group (non-chit). He has brought in many innovations at his work place, but we’re curious to know about his writing ca- reer.
  10. 10. When asked about “the trigger” to write a full-fledged Novel, he said! “Writing for me was a journey I embarked on very late in my life. My first book, “If God was a Banker”, was pretty much my first attempt at writing fiction. Yes, had written a few short stories, a few poems when I was a teenager, pretty much the way most teenagers do. But serious writing began with If God was a Banker, in 2006. The prime motivation behind writ- ing a book was a bit philosophical. I wanted to leave a legacy behind, to be remembered. And I felt, at that time, that long after I am gone from this planet, a book in some library in some remote corner of the earth will remind people that someone by the name Ravi Subramanian walked the planet. No one remembers CEO’s, put people do remember creative outputs. All of us have certain quirks in life, well this was mine.” We asked him about his journey of “If God was a Banker” (from writing to getting a phone call from publisher) and this is what he has to say! “Publishers are busy people. They seldom call back an author writing his first book. Its always an author who follows up. A few days back, storizen.com | July 2013 | 17
  11. 11. a close friend and a fabulous writer, PrakashIyer told me that he signed his first book with Penguin after he sent them a very brief concept note. In my six year career as an author, he is the only author I got to know, whose first book deal got closed out on the basis of a one page note. Otherwise it is still a struggle un- less you know someone at the top or have birth marks at places deep in the cervices of your body which you yourself cannot see. (It is said of such people that they are extremely lucky). I do consider myself extremely lucky. This is a story not many people know. When I finished writing If God was a Banker, I knew only one author and that was me. I didn’t know who to send the manuscript to. From the publisher’s websites, I got their email id’s and sent the manuscript to those id’s. No re- sponse. No acknowledgement either. I was later told that this was the norm. I was getting restless. I had to do something about it, so I tried to get Chetan Bhagat’s contact number, to speak to him and get some gyan on what to do. I stumbled upon a press release of his and that had the number of his publicist/PR – a girl called Bhavna. I called her out of the blue and she recommended that I not speak to Chetan, but speak to his publisher directly instead. And she gave me Kapish Mehra’s (MD of Rupa Publications) mobile number. I thanked her and called Kapish. The rest is history. Rupa moved real- ly swiftly after that and If God was a Banker deal was inked in three weeks. Remember, only the first deal is dif- ficult. Once your first book comes out and does reasonably well, it’s not at all difficult to find yourself a pub- lisher.” His book, If God Was A Banker, un- covers the darker side of MNC banks in India. The book sold more than 2.65 lakh copies. The book went on to win him many awards and this is what Ravi said, when asked about the accolades received.
  12. 12. “f God was a Banker won the Gold- en Quill Award in 2008. The In- credible Banker won the Economist Crossword Book Award for 2012. Winning awards feels great, mas- sages your ego quite a bit, gives you bragging rights, and lastly when you write the author bio, you can write the words “award winning” in front of your name. But if you ask me what’s important for me – win- ning awards or selling more number of copies, I would any day take the latter.” When we asked him “have you sold movie rights of the book ‘If God was a Banker?”. He said; “Not yet. I guess the Indian audience is not ready for movies based on the perceived complex world of interna- tional banking.” We nudged him to tell us some real life episodes that he has translated in to his latest book. He coolly said ; “Every writer is inspired by what he sees around him. To that extent there are various parts of my books which have been inspired by various things I have seen, heard and expe- rienced over years of working in this industry. But the challenge is how you convert the 10% of inspiration using 90% creativity, into a fabulous story which keeps the reader en- thused over his 360 page journey.” We poked him further with the ques- tion “You work in the world of global banking, is it as crime-ridden as your books describe?”, He cleverly respond- ed. “Crime is a relative term. I am of the belief that banking needs to be dif- ferent from other industries, simply because in banking, you deal with customers hard earned money. More than anything else, you are the cus- todians of their trust. If you look at it from this pedestal, banking today, is far from clean. Tolerance levels for crimes and frauds, irrespective storizen.com | July 2013 | 19
  13. 13. of nature, size or materiality should have been close to zero, which is not the case. Lack of controls, high pressure on delivery and no job se- curity is leading to bankers across levels taking shortcuts. We only hear of mis-selling in Wealth man- agement, insurance, trading, struc- tured products etc. Why not in any other industry? That said, honest and competent bankers also exist in our system, but they do not make interesting reading and hence I like to write about the dark underbelly of this industry. Reading my books and assuming that all bankers are corrupt is like reading John Grisham and saying that all attorneys are on the take.” In his book “If God Was A Banker” Ravi, understandably, did not name anyone. But those in the trade and journalism had no problem in spotting the institutions and the real characters behind the fictional names. For the readers it was an awesome read and as a result. We asked the question that everyone wanted to know, that was about his”- John Grisham” connect. This is what he had to say; “John Grisham is a phenomenon. My favourite author.The way he has created a new segment of legal thrillers and made it his own, can only be done by a creative genius. Not only do I love his thrillers, I also admire the way he has gone about his task, year after year, month after month. No surprise that he is one of the leading bestsellers in the world today. It was a matter of great hon- our and pride when the Wall Street journal called me the John Grisham of Banking, the reference obviously being the series of thrillers set in a banking backdrop, that I had writ- ten. It is both flattering and hum- bling at the same time. Having said that Grisham has accomplished a lot, and it will take me a long while to even consider myself worthy of that title.” Not very often do we find Indian au- thors writing good thrillers. When asked about it? He said; “Writing thrillers is no different from writing any other fiction. It takes the same effort, the same ded- ication and commitment and the same rigour. However what works for me is the manner in which I ap- proach a book. Unlike many other authors, I don’t have the blueprint for the book in front of me when I begin writing. I start with a subject. One page leads to the next, and one chapter leads to the other. I seldom have a clue on what direction the
  14. 14. next chapter is going to take. When I myself don’t know what the next chapter is going to be on, it is highly unlikely that the reader will be able to predict what’s going to happen next. This keeps the readers turning the page wanting to know what’s in store. Its not that Indian authors don’t write good thrillers. Its just that most of the new generation Indian writing is inspired by real life exam- ples. As a result, most of them end up writing romantic novels, family stories, stories based on scandals etc. but not thrillers. Writing thrillers re- quires an intricate knowledge about the system you are writing about” When asked about the number of cop- ies sold? “They say, never ask a girl her age, a man his income and an author his numbers. Close to a Million copies.” As per our research, till last year, he sold half-a-million copies (before the release of his novel The Bankster, which was a runaway bestseller). This makes him Rupa’s second highest selling author after Chetan Bhagat. Interestingly, Penguin has offered the author Rs 1.25 crore for a two-book deal making it the highest advance given by them to any Indian writer. There’s a rising trend in India, thanks to big-hearted publishers, few MBAs (especially Bankers) gave up their jobs and became full time writers. Authors like Chetan Bhagat, Amish Tripathi and Manreet Sodhi Someshwar to name a few. When asked when is he planning to cross-over and be a full time writer? He surprised us with his answer ; “Never. If possible to keep it the way it is, I would love to let it be. I will never plunge full time into writing. Banking is my profession and writ- ing is an avocation. It will always stay that way. The fact that I pursue writing as a creative outlet and don’t depend on it commercially makes it an interesting passion for me. The day I depend on writing for a liv- ing, it will become a job, and like all things thrust on us, writing too will lose its fun element. And the fact is that thus far, I have managed to balance both my career and writing quite well. I have not felt the need to give up one for the other.” We got bowled over by his answer and that made us ask this tricky one - “Do you think writing in English is a feasible niche for upcoming writers?” He said; “I heard Jeffrey archer once say, that a hundred manuscripts hit a pub- lisher every day, of which one hits storizen.com | July 2013 | 21
  15. 15. the editors desk. Of hundred that hit the editors desk, one gets published. Of hundred that get published, one makes it to the best seller list. You can judge the odds for yourself.” Writing seems glamorous from the outside. People read success stories, glamorous media feed-ins and as- sume that this is the place to be in. Trust me it requires months of hard work to bring out the book. And it is one profession where effort does not guarantee success. It’s a lonely pro- fession too. Writers are pretty much on their own. If one wants to make writing a full time profession, I would recommend that you do it in phases. Do not give up everything and become a writer. Begin your writing career as a part time. Test the waters. See if you are able to find your space. Build your reader base, and hence royalty in- come. And once you are comfortable then dive headlong into writing. While I do not want to sound too negative, If your sole aim is to make money, writing is not the place to be in. There are better ways to make money.” We asked him whether he networks with other authors,and with which au- thors does he talk on a regular basis? He replied; “I enjoy talking to authors and ex- changing notes. In fact I find authors these days a lot approachable and
  16. 16. willing to share notes with others. A realization is slowly dawning that authors are not commodities. They don’t eat into each other’s market share. A reader is not going to not read me because he is reading Ash- win Sanghi or vice versa. A reader, if he likes your books, will read you, irrespective of which other books he is reading. Hence the entire author community is coming closer. A good sign for the industry. I talk to most of the Indian authors. No point tak- ing names here because it’s a long list and each one of them is equally special.” In 2012, Jaipur literature festival, everyone was mesmerized by the segment where he was in conversation with Lord Jeffery Archer. When asked about it, he said; “I am what you would call the Owl-Writer. I normally write be- tween 9.00 at night and 1.00 AM in the morning. Having said that, I don’t write every day. When I am in the flow I go up to seven hours a day, or even more. Sometimes, I don’t pick up a pen for weeks.” Writers block? is it fact or fiction? “It does happen at times. When you are stuck at a point and you have no clue where to take the story from there on. Various authors have dif- ferent means of dealing with them. A long drive, discussion with people who are aware of what you are writ- ing, debating ideas etc, has worked for me. Some of the interesting ideas and possible directions the story should take, come from my dis- cussions with my thirteen year old daughter. And no… like Dan Brown, I don’t don a pair of gravity boots and hang upside down from a spe- cial frame, in case I am faced with a writers block.” Well said Mr. Subramanian. He resides in Mumbai with his bio-technologist turned banker wife Dharini and their daughter Anusha. Finally we asked him if he has any pearls of wisdom for wannabe au- thors. “Most people who want to write, never even begin their journey be- cause of two reasons – firstly they are unable to find time to write and secondly they keep waiting for the entire story to take concrete shape. The former is easier to handle through proper prioritisation of time spent on daily activities. As far as the latter is concerned, most of the writers do not wait for the story to take shape from end to end, before storizen.com | July 2013 | 23
  17. 17. they begin writing. All they need is an idea. For example in The Bank- ster, the story has taken a completely different shape from what I had en- visaged when I began writing. So if you have an idea, start writing. Like any other journey, the first five pages you write will give you ideas for the next ten and thereon the story will evolve. This is the best way to give yourself a realistic chance of finish- ing the all elusive book. Times have never been so good for an Indian Author as they are today. Publishers, distributers, bookstores and readers are all laying out the red carpet for you. Back yourself and prepare to walk bravely on the red strip” With that ended an interesting con- versation with the “John Grisham of Banking”, we wish him a hundred more bestsellers. Thank you Ravi Subramani- an. Books: • 2007 If God Was a Banker • 2008 I Bought the Monk’s Ferrari • 2010 Devil in Pinstripes • 2011 The Incredible Banker • 2012 The Bankster
  18. 18. What prompted you to start writing? Sometimes, you can’t always tell the truth, neither, you are strong enough to face it, nor people around you. So, you camouflage it, present it in a manner that people find it palatable, digestible and even lavish praise in return for your half-lies. Maybe not all, but most great stories are born out of a conflict that a writer expe- riences within and without. Writing to me is just a way of answering my own unanswered questions and I have many. Which is your favourite book? And who is your favourite author? The Seven Spiritual Laws of life by Deepak Chopra. He’s also my favor- ite author. His writing is simple, yet, it possesses great depth and wisdom. No writer can hope to create anything im- pactful, if he doesn’t first dwell, dip into the dark crevices of his own mind. Which author do you feel has in- fluenced your style the most? Sydney Sheldon and Ken Follet How did you get published? And how did the second book happen? I got lucky with the first book when Penguin offered to publish my first book Love on the Rocks. Jacob Hills is actually my third novel, Harper decided to release it ahead of my second, Love Kills because it seemed like a book that was destined to be big. The decision has proved to be right. Tell us something more about Ja- cob Hills? The shadow of the erstwhile British army lingered long after they left the country. Their drinking, smoking, womanizing culture was eagerly em- braced by the cream of the crop in the organization. Flirtation is a norm of an elitist, high flying society and it was used to further, both personal and pro- fessional agenda. The seventies and eighties was an era of great suppression, men and women were not allowed to mingle freely. All over the world the hippie movement was on a roll since the sixties but pre- marital sex in India was seen as an ab- erration. Under the garb of British legacy, syco- phants and lotharios in uniform thrived and carried on the tradition left behind by the Gori Chamdi. Every organization has its grapevine, I grew up hearing rumors, snatches of conversation, old wives tales. With an active imagination, the blanks were easy to fill and Jacob Hills was born. Why/ How did you decide writing murder mysteries? Like any teenager I used to enjoy read- ing romance, but I soon realized that romance without suspense was just the same rubbish presented differently. The protagonists kissed or made out in varied settings, one of them was always unavailable till the end and chapters dragged on endlessly. However, in a murder mystery, there’s so much to play with, to drop red herrings for the read- ers; to keep them from guessing, who the murderer really is. It requires cer- tain cunning to mislead people into storizen.com | July 2013 | 27
  19. 19. “IsmitaTandon Dhankher is ‘A Lesser Known Poet’. Her poem, ‘The Beasts Run Wild’, is currently up on MSN, as part of an ongoing exclusive feature “Her Courage” in tribute to Indian women. Her second mystery novel Jacob Hills is just released by HarperCollins India.” believing that they know how the plot is going to unfold. It’s the craftiness that makes me want to write murder mys- teries. Which is the best and harshest feedback you have received from your readers? Truth be told, as a writer I am easily flattered and take all feedback, good and bad in my stride. My debut novel, Love on the Rocks had just released. Hindustan Times pegged it as a, ‘A fast paced thriller for those who like their whodunit racy and crisp’. It felt good! A particular snippet that remains in my memory, featured in TOI’s Crest edition in 2011. A journalist had tak- en a line out of my author bio, which read something like, ‘After a brief but highly successful stint in the Forex division, Ismita quit her management career and took up prose and poetry wholeheartedly’. He went on to write, ‘if a author quits her management career to be a full time writer then just imagine how smart she must be’, or something to that effect. That rankled! So, yes, it’s easy to judge and dismiss books and their authors, but I would like to believe that if authors perse- vere, they get to have the last laugh. Some words of wisdom for aspir- ing author? Believe it or not, The wicked are closer to finding God, Their flaws like flowers, Waiting to blossom when the season is right. Just put your most powerful emotions on paper and you’ll be surprised to see that it makes one hell of a good story; a story that sells.
  20. 20. Does an author have to be crim- inally minded to write Crime nov- el? Not at all…I have never intentionally hurt anyone…but wrote a crime nov- el—just imagination is required…not a killer instinct. Take us through the journey of “Firting with fate” from getting the idea to getting a call from publish- er. It’s been one long journey…as the idea was the brain child of a Bengali gentle- man Pinaki Chaudhuri who started me on the project about 5 years back but had to leave midway. I picked up the threads of the unfinished book in Jan 2011, simply to fulfil a dream of seeing my work in print. Like I often say, writ- ing a book is like pregnancy, a cakewalk but publishing is like the delivery…a tough struggle. It was not easy being re- jected by most publishers, but it’s never impossible either. My manuscript was accepted because perhaps it was differ- ent from the books brimming the mar- ket, It was not just another love story… it was a crime novel with the theme of how Karma Returns in our each action, good or bad. What about the book trailer, tell us more about it? Honestly, I never made a book trailer… coz I didn’t know how to make it..sim- ple. But when I received the Best Debut Crime Fiction of 2012 Award by Butter- fly and Bee, Sumit Sehgal, the CEO of this literary company, made a wonder- ful trailer for me. You can find it on my website http://www.writingnaturally. com/ And your day job? Apart from being a freelance writer, author and editor I am full time mom to a young teenager and a demanding dog, who is an interesting character in my book. When do you write? how often do you write? Good question !! But I belong to that breed of writers who are slaves to their moods….I write when the mood hits me, the moment when food…the world…the kids all take a back seat and the fire within wont subside till you pen down your thoughts. People like me do not like being tied down to completing writing projects….set us free…we give you a masterpiece ( not that mine is one…but I honestly tried ! ) Which are your favourite authors and books? and which ones from latest authors? Well… last I read fiction was in school/ college…with the best being Sidney Sheldon and Agatha Christie (maybe that’s why I wrote crime ). Now I do not read fiction but prefer spiritual and self help books with the best being POW- ER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle. Among the new budding Indian authors, the only book I hv read and loved is Bhavya Kaushiks’s –The other side of the bed… as I relate with its theme of Kal ho na ho…. storizen.com | July 2013 | 31
  21. 21. Preeti singh is an author, editor and writer based in Chandigarh. Apart from being a full time mom, she actively involves herself in social activities to help the needy as she believes life is too short and one should live each moment with gratitude. Kal ho na ho is her motto. Which is the best feedback you’ve received from an ordinary reader? When few readers asked me the same question….that they had wronged someone sometime in their lifetime… will the karma return ? will they be punished ? I felt that my book message had reached home. My work was done. Are you writing any other book? Yes, in the middle of my next book… will be a year almost before it hits the shelves….am in no hurry. Any plans or timelines when are you ready to crossover and write full time? Nopes…I have left it to time and my mood….writing is my passion but not an obsession…I like to enjoy every field of life…explore my various other po- tentials. Do people mistake you for some celebrity? Lols…even if they do I wish they don’t…as celebrities are non approach- able and I wish to be always there if sumone needs me….i am the girl next door and wish to be just a call away…. always… Some words of wisdom for aspir- ing authors? If you have seen a vision to be pub- lished, don’t give up. If I could achieve mine at 40, so can anyone. Just be per- sistent and patient in following your heart…you shall reach there. And like I said, I am a call away…reach out…if I can help anyone…anytime, it’s a life worth lived..
  22. 22. Ialways felt the ‘writer’ label is an unnecessary one. At one point, we all become writers, scripting our own lives, penning our deeds, to be read by others on the pages of their lives and expe- riences. I guess for me it all started in school. I liked creative writing. I won in fests and competitions. But in college, the writing activities kind of dried up. And then when I had a job, I started blogging. My first baby steps were hes- itant and uncertain. I kind of found the idea of advertising one’s own thoughts, feelings and opinions on an online fo- rum the exclusive privilege of people who actually are damn good at writing. And I was never damn good. However, luckily I broke through my self-doubts, courtesy the encouragement from two colleagues I’ll remain always grateful to. I never looked back since. Traffic to my blog was a slow trickle at first, it then swelled; I guess people actually were fond of whatever I chose to regale them with. It was a wonderful feeling. Like someone getting an inkling of what might be his true calling. Blogging helped me a lot. It wasn’t just the writing experience which it drilled into me. I met so many people, people I would never have met otherwise. A part of them rubbed off on me. And (I hope!) maybe a tiny bit of me rubbed off on them. Because suddenly my world was getting bigger. I had access to other opinions, different perceptions and various experiences. All of which made me rethink and re-evaluate my ideas of where I was and where I want- ed to go. One thing I discovered is that you never really know when opportu- nities come knocking. The least you can do…besides waiting…is to be prepared for them when they come. They have the habit of dropping in unannounced. In the month of October 2012, I learnt that Fablery was hosting a short-story contest in association with Mahaveer publishers. Fablery is the brainchild of Bangalore based Nethra Ajnappa who wanted to give newcomers like me a chance to get published. The idea of the contest was novel. Ten genres. One winner per genre. There was one small hitch. Nine genres and their winners had already been decided before Sep- tember 2012. The last genre was left. OCCUPATIONAL FICTION. Wait what? I was stumped! Stories on…jobs? Aren’t our boring jobs the very reason so many of us turn into part-time writ- ers in the first place? And a story re- volving those? Shudders! Google came in handy…a bit. But I was still a clueless and confused baby lost in a bustling market. And I had a month in which to write the story because the deadline was end of October. In that one month, a couple of realisations landed on my lap to munch on. I chose the setting of my story as the Mumbai Fire Brigade. While research- ing for the story, I discovered a lot of shortcomings in myself and my writing. I was having difficulty describing many of the scenes that occupied my mind; I just couldn’t hit on the proper tone, narrative and flow to express them. Till then I had only churned out romances storizen.com | July 2013 | 35
  23. 23. Rahul Biswas is a software engineer working in Kolkata for a reputed MNC. Born and brought up in the City of Joy, he wishes he can sell some joy of his own with the stories he creates. on my blog. Sure, I had written a cou- ple of thrillers, sent one of them to two online magazines, got summarily rejected by both, wallowed in self-pity ever since. So when the story was final- ly ready, although I loved it, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be selected. My past failures and frustrations were weighing down on like a ton of bricks. I need- ed validation of my skills. I wanted to be acknowledged as a talented writer. I needed others to tell me I am good enough. Yes. I was pretty messed up at that time. And as the stars a million miles away would have it- I won. Final- ly, I was getting published! The dream had come true. ‘Ten Shades of Life’ by Fablery and Mahaveer Publishers was out in the market by February 2013. For me, a major battle had been won. The favourable reviews the book has been scoring ever since only made my victory taste sweeter. Things had been a lot smoother after that. I won another contest. This one was hosted by Wassup Andheri in association with Grey Oak Publishers. And then I won another- hosted by Springtide, an online youth magazine, in association with Par- lance Publishers. They chose 25 stories out of close to a thousand entries and yours truly’s name was shining brightly among them. Their book ‘Kaleido- scope’ just launched last month. It has the blessings of India’s cherished au- thor Ashwin Sanghi (The Krishna Key, Chanakya’s Chant) who chose the best author among the 25. And finally, here I am, announcing to the world how I made it this far. Yes, another tick on my checklist of dreams to fulfill before I die. On a parting note, I would like to share a lesson I learnt in the process of becoming a published author. As with every other thing in life, we should never seek validation of our worth from sources external to us. You write be- cause you want to, you write what you want to and you write what feels right to you. While all of us want to see our works make their way to the printed world, at the end of the day, you’re still writing mostly for yourself and no one else. So do your own thing and stop worrying about how others will receive your work. I am not asking you to com- promise on quality. You should always strive to improve it. But I am talking about content. You should create con- tent you believe in and not what you think others want to read. Because you never know whether others would want to read you until you’ve actually written something. So go ahead. Write. Some- thing close to your heart. Something you really want to. It should be an ex- tension of what you see yourself as and not what others want you to be.
  24. 24. If I was told in Class 8 that I would one day publish a book, I would have keeled over in violent hysterics. Everytime I read a rave review on Un- truly Yours, I am catapulted into Ms Serrao’s English class. Tall, slim and brimming with sar- casm, Ms Serrao’s face rarely erupted into a smile. I think I may have been the only one in class to ‘get’ her clever, sharp, sarcastic wit. The rest of the class ducked, dived, quivered and hid behind the person in front, just so they weren’t singled out and ridiculed in front of the class.Even the most notorious boys and girls were in their best behaviour in her class, almost unrecognisable to the ones who knew them. I have no idea why, I had made it my mission to appease her. We were asked to write an essay on some random sub- ject she’d plucked from thin air (as she would often do). I curse the day I had ‘that’ light bulb moment. I meticulous- ly cherry picked unusual words from the Oxford dictionary to embellish my essay. The essay was submitted and marked. The results were out. Predictably, my name was announced first. Heads jerk- ed around in my direction. I had ar- rived. My moment of glory was inches away from me. Swishing my two long braided plaits I walked with tremendous pride and took my place in front of the class. And then came the brutal humiliation. I was told it was the worst piece of ‘laboured’ work the class had ever produced! I was made to re-write the essay, this time without the help of the dictionary.At the time, I wondered what gave it away. So you see, writing was never in my agenda. However, years later, a friend, twisted my arm and germinated the writing bug, in me. She loved the (many) anecdotal stories I shared with her when we exchanged emails. A few other episodes in my life seemed tos- teer in me in the same direction. I made an earnest start. Chapters were shared, characters passionately discussed as if they had taken life and were lifted off from my pages. It was a fabulous ex- perience and I seem to have such fun evolving each of my quirky charac- ters. I can’t remember at which point it stopped being a release from the real world pressures and became an obses- sion to complete what I’d started. I re- member finishing the manuscript and staring at it for a few minutes. What now? I emailed all my friends who had promised to assist me with the publi- cation.I suppose, I momentarily forgot, they led busy lives themselves. I let a few months pass and instead of sending gentle reminders to friends, I started approaching some leading publishing houses in India. I am not sure why I didn’t approach the ‘not-so-known’ publishing houses. I clearly believed in my craft! My first submission went through two stages of evaluations by which time I had already signed multi- ple projects with top publishing houses and movie deals…in my head. I had also fleetingly strutted on the red (and green, blue, pink…you name it!) storizen.com | July 2013 | 39
  25. 25. Renowned for making things up as she goes along, Smita Shetty stumbled into the literary world quite by accident. The release of her debut novel ‘Untruly Yours’,  has found her contemplating taking up writing, full time. carpet, smiling and waving passion- ately at my admiring fans. Again, all imaginary. You can tell why I enjoy writing (!) Then came the brutal re- jection. The blow was harder than the one I’d experienced in Class 8. I took a break from my frenzy submission rou- tine. It took a while to pick myself up and get the process in gear again. To begin with, it was a challenge in itself to find an Indian publisher when you are not based in India. Residing away from India and writing and market- ing to an Indian target audience has its own disadvantages. Besides, I work full time and have my personal fami- ly commitments. Eventually, just as I was almost forgetting the existence of my cherished manuscript, I received a promising email. Again, I was filled with hope and optimism. From there- on, things started moving quite quickly. Phase two included editing, designing the cover, etc. It was most fun but felt strangely surreal. The first copies of the book were delivered to my address in India. It was months when I finally held the copy in my hands. Again, an out-of- body experience, as you would imagine. However, all these precious moments pale in comparison when you read pos- itive feedbackabout your work in print. I have relished each of my milestones whilst penning and publishingUntruly Yours. There is an element of darkness in Untruly Yours and I must admit it was tricky maintaining humour. I may not be a literary genius but I have en- joyed making my readers smile through my writing.As a writer, the true rewards are when you see your hard work being appreciated. It’s hugely encouraging!
  26. 26. Tell us something about your exciting career ? As a career, nature photography is never a good option. It is very challenging financially. After finishing college, I hated the idea of trading my outdoor life for an indoor job and choose instead to take up Wildlife Photography as a full time occupation. I was deter- mined to try it out as a career. That was more than a decade back, when there was hardly anybody pursuing this as a profession, let alone finding anybody to provide guidance in India. So I learned the hard way, taught myself the ABCs and was a trendsetter way back in 2002. Good old books, the internet and my steadfast belief helped me realize my dreams. Born and brought up in a lower mid- dle class family, and being the only son, earning money was very important. But my parents were exceptional; they encouraged me in all manners possible manner. They became my support system, both mentally and financially. I struggled a lot in the initial years; the income expenditure ratio was to the order of 1:100. Then came the digital era and it became a compulsion to go digital to stay rel- evant. Equipment were exorbitantly priced and I had no option but to sell a part of my house to afford my equipment. “I’ll do it some- day or the other and that mere financial difficulty will not deter me” became my Mantra. Slogging more than 250 days a year relentlessly for the last 11 years is finally bearing fruit and my
  27. 27. cherished dreams are coming alive. With wildlife destinations becoming even more expensive, life of a full time Nature and wildlife Photographer is not a bed of roses! But, nonetheless, I am living my life with the way I always wanted to. I trek for months for a rare bird or a brown Bear, I stay days on end freezing in minus 30 degree Centigrade to pho- tograph the ever elusive snow leop- ard, paraglide with vultures to get that special angle, dive deep down to the unknown depths for that special fish. That’s all my career is all about. Is there any Book which have in- spired you to take up a career in wildlife photography ? When I was a kid, I used to read and re-read a particular bengali book called the “Chnader Pahar” (Mountain of Moon) written by Bibhutibhshan Bandhapadhaya, a great Bengali writ- er. Every time I read the book, it was always a journey through wilderness and dreams. This book influenced me a lot to love nature and to be passionate about the outdoors. What kind of books do you read ? / Which books or author have left a mark on you ? I don’t read much. While growing up I used to read adventure books and science stories. Later on, rather than a hobby, reading became a necessity. Most were knowledge based books. Who are your favorite Indian au- thors ? Bibhutibhushan Bandhapadhaya, Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray Do you take Book on a wildlife photographic assignment ? Only field Guides How do plan for your storytelling in your pictures ? I decide my place or subject and it de- pends on how much that subject or place has been explored before. I never ever decide a subject or place from a commercial viability or personal gain perspective. My only priority always is that it should contribute to natural history in some way or that it should be visually different enough to impact the viewer. When I decide a project first I do a home work, try to find out what is done all ready. That helps me to decide what to do. Then I collect information’s from experts, local people from the field etc. On the basis of that info I start my execution plan. I try to visualize the frame I want or the the way I want. Some time I draw the frame before. To me clicking shutter is a very small part of long job. Any plans for penning down a wildlife book ? Sure. But not now. I want to work and absorb and be Nature’s student for sometime to come. Nature is so vast that I have a lot that I want to do. Then probably someday I will share them in a book. Which one is your favourite Wild- life Assignment till date ? I always enjoy whatever subject I am working on. So in that sense there isn’t
  28. 28. any favorite assignment I have had. Be- ing able to work in the field for as long as I want to, being amidst nature, exe- cuting my dream frames are the most satisfying part of the job for me. How do manage time between running a Saevus and your wild- life assignments ? We did Saevus to provide a platform to all nature experts, photographers and the conservationists out there. We have an editorial team. I am field guy and al- ways in the field. I collaborate with the team over phone and the internet. It is very difficult but we also have a fantas- tic team. Any suggestions for wannabe wild- life photographers ? For beginners I have few suggestions. First thing remember this is wildlife photography. Hear the term wildlife has a major part. And then there is a pho- tography part. For wildlife it is a must to develop the knowledge on every thing related to nature.Without know- ing this one can not become a Nature photographer. One must need to read books on ecosystems, field guides etc. Interact with people who work in the field. Above all nature is our best teach- er. So be in the field as long as possible. So one can read the nature and can predict all the happenings in nature. Remember it takes time one can not do it over night. So be prepared to give at least3 / 4 years to develop the knowl- edge. Another thing I want to say that don’t be involved much in equipment. It just a tool and treat it like tool. Oth- erwise best equipment owner would be the best photographer in the world. Do not copy others work. It will take you no where. What is done we all have seen it . We don’t want to see them again.Try to develop your style. Its diffi- cult but keep trying. It will happen one day. And lastly nothing is more im- portant than the wellbeing of nature. So remember the ethics and help to protect it storizen.com | July 2013 | 45
  29. 29. Debarshi Goswami A student of Photojournalism & Travel photography from Kolkata, pursuing his dream to became a professional travel photographer. Practicing photography vigor- ously for last 1.5 yrs. Main area of shooting are people, their differ- ent rituals & events. Landscape & cloudscape. Nilesh Bhange I am enjoying photography from the year 2005. Over the period of time I realized that I like to shoot subjects having interesting shapes & colors more than story & con- tent so I am working mostly on abstract photography now. Vimal VP I am a native of Kerala and am a software engineer by profession. I like to try all genre of photog- raphy. Even though I started photography 5 years back, I only have a very small collection of photographs, mainly because of my laziness. Partha Pratim Saha I am a serious amateur photogra- pher. Special interest in human and nature. I am a member of a Kolkata based photoclub named “Photographic Association of Bengal”.
  30. 30. I await your return You left me in shambles Profoundness is lost on me now I am alive in an empty world The girl stands alone in a lifeless world The bare tree stands beside her The tattered toy hangs limp from her arms She is my daughter She has your face and spirit She was born when I was naught I whispered to her the secrets she was too young to understand She will understand when she is young enough She will await your return on the porch Standing alone With a june bug buzzing around her She will hold it in her hands and confide in her The light of the insect will go out. You will not come back. She will wait. You will not come back. She will wait. She will wait Asmita Sarkar
  31. 31. Asmita Sarkar is a final year MA English student from Hindu College, Delhi University. She has been inflicted with the reading bug since she was a child and has been blessed with parents who encourage her to write. Exploring the contemporary sociology and the psychological make up of a being is what in- spires her to write.
  32. 32. A student by profession,a blog- ger by choice, a new book-addict, a dreamer and a dance-lover and someone who is yet to find her true calling in life and is not willing to settle down until she finds out. Some unsaid thoughts, Some undone walks few misunderstood words Some untried routes Calls him out from the past Over and over again Throughout the day. He tries to push, kick them away and occupies himself in the best possible way With jogs in the mornings With files at work With mugs of coffee And sitcoms at home. They come back, they are stronger this time Making their way to his bed Insisting to be with him. He accepts them now Coz He is too tired to fight. Without giving them an ear He turns off the lights. Stronger they are now, They enter his peace. Taunting, hurting, cutting, Screaming at him. Exhausted him, gives up once again. And they continue, For He has accepted them now. He calls them His Strange Bed Fellows. Strange Bedfellows Priya Arora
  33. 33. I try and enjoy everything in life and good company just makes it easier. Poetry, for me, is comfort. As for my profession, I am basically a dreamer. In my spare time, I visit Alcatel-Lucent 5 times a week, 9 hours a day. Treaded along the vast, dreary desert Trekked on the steep, craggy mountain Sailed through the illimitable, calm ocean Breathed the fresh, pure air But you seemed to be nowhere! Then I closed my eyes As I let my mind open I saw those images rush past The beauty seems to be everywhere But you seemed to be nowhere! Enchanted and enthralled by my life Success being declared as my synonym They question me on the path to reach you But you are still elusive and evading away Am in pursuit of you, one who is close, yet far away! Happiness Bindya Kuppathil
  34. 34. The music of the rain Neha Gupta The warm red of the dusk seeps through me As I soak in the rays through the dark clouds The darkness slowly descends and the first drops of the blue rain fall They soak me in eternity of hope they embrace me, and envelope me with the warmth of existence without any conditions, any judgments they make me a part of them As my salty tears get mixed with them I loose myself in the music of falling rain The time loses all meaning and I stand with my hands outstretched moving with the unknown rhythm It doesn’t ask any questions, It doesn’t give answers It just soothes me, makes me forget the road ahead is blurry, unknown and I don’t want to see what’s ahead I just walk slowly, splashing the muddy puddles laughing with the tired green leaves It washes away my footsteps and walks with me, helping me make my own small paths in the darkness..
  35. 35. I am a Marketer by profession. I love writing, reading, watching movies and travelling especially to historic places! Exploring new places and listening to local stories is something I always look forward to
  36. 36. Iwas pregnant. My world stopped. I had just started building a new life and I was mentally disoriented. The first thought protrude in my mind was to call Nakul. It was the best moment of my life, of our lives. I wanted to call him but again those neg- ative thoughts haunted me. What if he calls my parturiency a result of infidelity? We were not planned to have children, is this the reason I left home? Am I going back to him because the other man refused to accept me? How will I prove my loyalty? The second sinful thought was abor- tion. I was in no condition to bear a child, to bring him up. Eventually after gathering much courage, I called up Nakul. My heart skipped with his first voice and I kept quite to check his en- vironment. “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disap- pointed.” And once again my expecta- tions failed... Nakul was surrounded by uncontrol- lable mirth of women. He was cheerful and unaffected. I didn’t know he was with the ladies of his family or someone else. I disconnected the call and every- thing blacked out. I had nobody except a few new friends and the kind lady- my boss. I couldn’t decide anything that time; I didn’t share the news with any- one. I was a widow to all. My husband died six months before. How come I was pregnant? I had no answer to this question. Days were passing. The down- fall of my physical and mental health was visible to everyone. My boss used to ask me sometimes and suggested me to have a maid at home as I used to live alone. I liked the idea but my financial conditions didn’t allow me. One of my colleagues lived alone and she offered me her place on share-rent basis. I agreed. In a few days Rekha came very close to me and we shared heart to heart. We trusted each other and she disclosed her sexuality to me. She was a lesbian. I was shocked at her secret but I accepted her because she was more of a younger sister to me and I told her my story. Listening to my story Rekha burst into tears, she hugged me and started abus- ing Nakul. Being lesbian by nature, she hated men. After pondering upon all aspects and deep digging my mind, body and soul, I decided to be a Himadri
  37. 37. mother. I accepted the fact that I love Nakul and cannot abort the only link between us. I still had a hope that one day Nakul would realize and come to me. And above all, I could not spend my life alone. I had no feelings left. I could never think to be in any other relationship. Rekha supported me and promised to take care of me. That girl did take care of me. A few more weeks passed. My life be- came much easier with Rekha. We laughed and spent some good moments together. Rekha hired a maid as well. Mamta was newly married and stayed next to our colony. Her husband – Bittu ,was an auto rikshaw driver. The couple used to call us Didi. Bittu was our fixed autowala. I used to stalk Nakul’s face- book profile from Rekha’s. I asked her to become Nakul’s friend and exchange numbers. She started calling her Dada (elder brother) and dug his feelings for me. Nakul was a tough man; he nev- er liked to share his personal life with anyone. He had all the traits of a strong and responsible man and this is the reason I loved him. Rekha and I were waiting for my baby bump as I start- ed gaining weight. One night I had to work late night in the office. Rekha left for home because the very next morn- ing she had to leave for Jaipur Literary Festival to represent the company. I had many works to accomplish being the student counsellor. I was assisting Mr. Sudip- Owner of the company and Mrs. Rituparna’s son. It was midnight and nobody else except two of us were in the office. Something unexpected hap pened that night again which shredded the woman inside me. Sudip nabbed me into his arms and enslaved me on the floor. I was aghast by this assault and battery. I wailed in that empty of- fice where nobody was there to listen. He started lacerating the flesh from my breast and arms. I cried in pain. I was screaming loud and trying to escape. I kicked him. I was trying to kick his balls so that I can runaway but I failed. He slapped me hard two-three times and punched on my face. I had no ener- gy for the deadly combat. I was crying and begging him to leave me, and that made him hungrier. Probably a help- less woman, begging for mercy was his fetish. I saw a furious hungry wolf, an animal to eat my flesh. He was no hu- man, his eyes were wide and red, I was trembling with fear and pain, scattered on the floor. I was worried about my baby, the last love of my life. That man couldn’t feel my pain, he was in plea- sure, utmost pleasure. He came over me and zipped my mouth with his palm. He bit all over my shoulders and kicked my abdomen with his knees. I squealed out loud and begged “..Leave Me.. I am pregnant..” All of a sudden he stopped. He freed me. I was crying out of pain. Skipping breaths and my heart beats. I was unable to breathe. Horrified and seeking mercy, I continued to howl.. “leave me please.. I am pregnant..” Sudip left me and stared for a while. He reconditioned his clothes, took out his
  38. 38. wallet and threw two notes of thousand rupees at me. I felt hatred to my body. Why am I born as a woman? I had no answers to this. I was secure in within the walls of my house. I was secure in the arms of Nakul..... I don’t want to lose my love dwelling inside my womb. And he walked out from the office . I saw him walking... My eyes saw him disappearing step by step. I was just somewhat escaped from be- ing raped. After half an hour I gathered my broken and mutilated soul, man- aged to walk and called Bittu. Soon he reached at office and drove me to home. I never turned back to the office; I didn’t share this incident to anyone, not even to Rekha because she was em- ployed to the company. The very next morning Rekha took me to doctor. Doctor examined me and I told her that I escaped a sexual assault. Thankfully my baby was not injured but I was advised a complete bed rest for a few weeks. She took care of all financial formalities. I was now confined to our small house. I doubled her responsi- bilities and to share I planned to work from home. I had a baby bump by now. I picked one of those “work from home: typing work” options from which I could collect a few thousand. Mon- ey was a must and that’s why I picked those two thousand rupees Sudip threw on my body. I never spent those two thousand bucks, but locked it into my safe. As days passed away the feeling of going back to Nakul got stronger. I was more concerned about my baby. He could get proper and deserved care there. I badly missed Nakul and my parents. I missed all dreams my mother had for my ba- bies. Sometimes anonymous calls and sometimes just his voice while talking to Rekha on speaker phone was my only fuel to survive. How these months elapsed was hard to bind in words. Rekha had to visit her parents and I was nine months preg- nant. Mamta used to take care of me. Backache, body ache, swelling, systole and diastole , mood swing and deadly crave to eat momos were a part of my daily life. Now Rekha had also gone we used to talk on phone but still the lack of physical presence mattered. One night I was feeling alone and cry- ing. Probably the mood swing and emotional need of Nakul. I was lost in the memories of my college days when Nakul used to pamper me. Depressed and disheartened I almost fainted out of severe pain. I had not completed the period of nine months so I was not prepared for it. My delivery date was due after two weeks. I cried out loud. Nobody was there at my place. I start- ed panting and sought help. I searched for my mobile phone to call Mamta but couldn’t find it anywhere. I laid on the bed to calm down. It wasn’t a time to panic. Luckily Rekha called to ask my health and I found my phone in the gap of couch. I cried out loud on the phone. That pain was killing. I wished to die. Anyhow, anybody stop this pain. I could not bear it. Rekha was not there, I needed my family. I needed Nakul. I was crying and I needed my mother...
  39. 39. Rekha disconnected the call and ar- ranged Mamta with her husband’s auto rickshaw. The reached me as soon as possible but the door was locked from inside. I was in no position to go and open the door. Mamta used to have a key of our flat. She entered and held me. She was a smart young girl. I was just crying out of pain and taking her name. I asked her to save me, to stop the pain, to relieve me from this suffering. Bittu and Mamta lifted me up and dragged me to the auto. Everybody came out of my building as they heard my wailings. Some ladies supported me to get down the stairs but nobody accompanied me to the hospital. I was dying out of pain. Holding Mamta tightly I begged Bittu to reach hospital as soon as possible. What else could possibly be wrong? We stuck in traffic jam. From Neb Sarai to Batra hospital it took more than half an hour. I wailed loud in the auto and people kept peeping in the auto. I saw men and women sneaking out of their windows, scrolling the panes down but no one came forward to provide the car. Struggling and sinking we reached to the gates of hospital and I didn’t know anything after that. Apparently, I was unconscious by then. Later I knew that it was a case of baby breech and I was mother of a small, beautiful and pink baby girl. After so long time I felt real happiness and this time I had tears in my eyes, tears of joy as I found Rekha standing by my side, smiling. I was born again as a mother. For next six months I was completely dependent on Rekha and Mamta, without them I was nothing. But now I had to take charge of my life. Meanwhile I got a job in an internation- al call canter. Rekha’s parents forced her to get married, she had to, Homosexu- ality was neither legal nor accepted. She left Delhi and now It was Nikita, whom I named after Nakul, Mamta and I. Mamta took care of Nikita like her own child. Mamta and Bittu had become more of a family. Nikku was growing healthy and my life got busy in her. After joining the call centre I was in- troduced to an entirely new culture. No restrains, Limitless lifestyle, money in abundance and no time schedule. My salary still wasn’t sufficient. I had a family now. I couldn’t just dwell into one room. Nikita was growing and so as the necessities. I had no savings. The free lifestyle and dominating culture of call centre made me think of sinful activities to fulfil the basic necessities of life. I decided to indulge into sexual affairs for the sake of money. The day I thought of committing the sin, I cursed myself. How could I even think of it being a mother of a girl child, what would be her future? The very next moment I relinquished the deci- sion and decided to pursue my higher studies for better opportunities. I knew , I had more struggles ahead and I was ready for them. As the time passes, you forget all bad memories. I have no grudges against anyone now. I forgave everyone. I for- gave Nakul for his behaviour and now I had just beautiful memories of him. I forgave Sudip for attempting Rape on storizen.com | July 2013 | 61
  40. 40. me. I was thankful to Rekha, who was married and happy. Mamta and Bittu were blessed with a baby boy, who was like a brother to Nikita. My indulged myself into Nikita and completed my B.Ed and Masters in His- tory from IGNOU. I have crossed the age limit so not eligible for civil services but I will pursue my M.Phil and PhD. I left the call centre and joined a re- nowned publishing house as an assis- tant editor. I have no regrets for the impulsive decision I made. I have no whereabouts of Nakul. Once I talked to my mother and took a promise not to disclose it to anyone. She is happy I have survived my life and I have a daughter. She also told me that Tapas was engaged and soon would be in wedlock. I strongly believe that whatever hap- pens; happens for good. I couldn’t be so confident and independent if that day I did not take the step. I was never a weak soul. I submitted in love and for the sake of my family. I stood firm for the self respect. I am an independent woman, a mother and a lover. ... While rushing to the office I squawked at to finish her breakfast quickly as she was getting late to her kindergarten and I, for my office. Naughty and adorable kid she is. She loves her morning breakfast and I am blessed that she drinks milk unlike other kids.. After dropping and kissing Nikita and reached my office. I saw Nakul sitting in lobby. I skipped my beat, my senses blacked out and I kept standing. He has tummy now, and some greys, slightly wet eyes behind those specta- cles and I can still notice his struggle to control his emotions, still a man he is. He walked to me and said “Tappi” and the first thing in my mind was Rekha, She proved herself to be a younger sister..
  41. 41. “Born and nurtured in at a scholastic family in Delhi, Himadri studied English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi. Under her penname “Himmilicious” she has published several EBooks on Contemporary Erotic Romance and currently working on her debut erotic romance in print version”
  42. 42. I felt a whiff of breath on my neck. Goosebumps had erupted over my neck as blisters would sprout after contact with a hot iron bar. The only differ- ence being that the breath which made contact with my skin was cold. It was frozen air, frightful, as if someone just dipped my bare skin into a smoky lake on a frosty winter night. As her breath caressed my nape, I felt aroused. I hadn’t experienced anything like it before. My heart seemed to have found its own pace and my mind had transitorily dumped my body. I let her kiss me. She pressed her lips deep into my ears and explored my mouth. I wanted it to go on and on. But I knew I had to do something to make this stop. This was against the law of the nature. A ghost and a human aren’t supposed to get physical. Yet, oblivious to this seem- ingly frivolous law, we clung on to each other, our body wrapped onto each oth- er, we sucked pleasure as life embraced death, the living embraced the dead. The night witnessed our foreplay and the cloud covered the moon’s eye. After an eternity, we let go. Exhausted, we just lay over the tomb living the bygone hours again and again and savoring the moments. It was through a chance encounter that I met her. I am conscious of the fact that I am unlikely to meet her again. She belongs to a world entirely different from mine, and no matter how much it pains me, I will have to let her go. As she robed and looked set to go, I planted a goodbye peck on her fore- head. The moment of painful parting was upon us. Early morning rays had begun to stream in. I couldn’t stifle a sob but she was an embodiment of stoicism, completely impassive and restrained. She walked over the threshold of my home and disappeared. I looked back fondly and trudged over to my coffin. This was the first time I had made love to a human.
  43. 43. Ritesh Agarwal is a freelance writer, a zealous blogger, a book reviewer and a voracious reader. He literally reveres Edgar Allan Poe, the master of gothic horror, who also happens to be his 2nd favorite author of all time. His short horror & love stories can be read on his blog.
  44. 44. “Oh shit, I’m late”, I thought to myself while driving as fast as possible in the maddening traffic and pothole ridden roads of Mumbai. Sidharth was waiting for me. As I reached Costa Coffee, I saw him sitting inside. A look at him and any- body could have guessed he really worked hard on his looks and body. My friends were jealous of me, but some- how he reminded me of Ken (Barbie’s boyfriend) and I was no Barbie. There was a part of me that wanted to mess his hair up and force a burger down his throat. I may not be head over heels for him but he was good-looking and very successful. “2 out of 3 ain’t that bad”, I smiled and said to myself. On looking closely, I saw him talking to someone. “He never told me he was bringing along a friend”, I thought to myself. I looked at myself in the mirror. I was a complete mess. I combed my hair, retouched my make-up and got out of the car. I straightened my dress and walked towards the coffee shop. When I tried to get a glimpse to know who he was sitting with, I could only see that man’s back. The men were engrossed in a conversa- tion but when I reached the table, the stranger got up, but Sidharth continued sitting. The stranger was 6 ft tall, di- shevelled hair, light stubble, very prom- inent jaw and he was dressed very casu- ally in worn-out jeans and a dark grey shirt hanging loosely. In short, he was exactly opposite of Sidharth and was drop dead gorgeous looking. Sidharth caught hold of my hand and pulled me beside him. “Naman, meet Anvi, my beautiful fiance’. She’s an inte- rior designer.” The guy looked at me and smiled. Sidharth continued “Anvi, this is Naman, he has done his masters from London Art Academy. He is here to paint a charity mural in Kokilaben Am- bani Hospital’s paediatric ward.” Naman held out his hand and said in a husky sexy voice, “It’s a real pleasure meeting you, I have heard a lot about you.” I blushed and somehow managed to smile. I wondered,“How come I meet Mr. Oh-So-Right only after I am en- gaged?” Sidharth continued, “I was just telling him that Art has no takers in India.” “I am not here for money; I already have enough of it. I just want to do things for my own satisfaction.” Naman said. I couldn’t help thinking,“Rich, good looking and brooding. He’s per- fect mills and boon material.” The boys went back to their conversa- tion, I couldn’t help noticing Sidharth and Naman were so alike yet so differ- ent. Both good looking, well-placed but Sidharth was pompous and loud. Naman was silent and kept a low
  45. 45. profile, smiling only occasionally. “I have an idea,” Sidharth said excited- ly, “How about Naman helping us with our flat’s decoration? Murals would look lovely in the study and also in one of the walls of our drawing room?” He looked at me expectantly. I had to agree, even though Murals did seem like a really good idea working with Indian version of Hugh Jackson would be difficult. Sidharth’s phone rang. He immediately disconnected the call and looked at us guiltily. “It’s my cue to go. I have a very important meeting in an hour.” “Naman, how about Anvi dropping you at the hospital. She too, would be leaving for Andheri.” Sidharth said, not even once asking me if I was okay with it. Frankly I hate being bossed around. Naman looked at me and tried to po- litely decline the offer but Sidharth wouldn’t listen. He apologized for inconveniencing me. I smiled and muttered “it’s perfectly fine.” Sidharth would have never apologized. For him everybody was present to make his life comfortable. We were driving by Juhu beach when he said “Would you please stop the car. I want to spend some time here. Will you join me?” I knew, the last thing I want to do, is to be in this man’s company. He was bad news. “Are you coming along?’’ “Yeah” I was shocked at myself. I got out of the car and started to walk towards the beach. It wasn’t crowded, the grey clouds and high tide made the beach look beautiful and dangerous just like the man walking beside me. “It’s so beautiful” I said looking at the beach trying very hard not to get dis- tracted. “Yes it is, you know when I am very down I head to the beach. It has a calm- ing effect.” Well Naman, did look a little sad. I real- ly wanted to know what was eating him up but I decided to avoid that topic. He hardly knew me and I him. “So how did you two meet?” Naman asked “Well… umm.. I was designing his bank’s head office. It was then we met for the first time. We went out for a couple of years and last December he proposed me.” I think I said it a little too fast, I hope he doesn’t suspect that I am not in love with his friend. I looked at him, but he was facing the beach. “I am not surprised why he loves you so much. You are a very beautiful.” Naman said in his signature flat tone. We both looked at each other. His eyes were brown, the most beautiful I have seen and it seemed to be speaking a lot and it was really difficult for me to decipher. “I think I should go now, I am expect- ing furniture guys to come and take the measurement. I hope we can catch up later.” Not waiting for an answer, I walked off as fast as my feet would take me. The man did something weird to my senses which I couldn’t really define. **** It was Friday; I was brainstorming with the painters, when my phone rang. storizen.com | July 2013 | 67
  46. 46. As I heard Naman’s voice, I almost dropped my phone. Thoughts of him had been haunting me day and night and I couldn’t get him out of my mind. “Sidharth wanted me to see the place and the work you have done so far. When can I come?”, Naman said in his signature flat note. Trying to sound like him I too said in a matter of fact tone, desperately trying to hide the excite- ment “I am cool with any time you chose. I am at the apartment now and the furniture guys are getting things in order.” “How about 4 pm? I would be done by then. How far is it from the hospital?” Naman said. “How about I come to pick you up? I could see the mural too.” Let see if he’s as good as what Sidharth boasts. I knew I was lying to myself. I really wanted to meet him. “That will be absolutely fine. So catch you then.” And the line went dead. ***** No matter how much I denied this I was dying to meet him again. I dressed with particular care, put on makeup and reached the hospital before the stipulated time. Exactly at 4 I went to the paediatric ward. He was packing his stuff. The mural was beautiful. It was made with very happy and bright colours. It had rainbows, fairy tale characters, Peter Pan, unicorns and fairies all over the wall. Every kid in the ward knew him and he knew everybody. I saw him smiling genuinely for the first time. All of a sudden the realization hit me. “Oh sh*t, I am in love, that too with my fian- ce’s best friend.” Naman walked to me, looked closely and said “Is everything alright, it seems as if you’ve just seen a ghost because if you did, you are not the only one?” and he laughed. “No, I am all right. So should we go now?” I asked desperately wanting to change the subject and trying to take my mind off him. ***** On the way back it started raining, pret- ty heavily. I somehow managed to reach the building. I parked my car and we ran to the building’s lobby. While wait- ing for the lift, I saw Naman from the corner of my eye. He was drenched. His shirt was sticking to his body accentuat- ing his chest and broad shoulders. Naman caught me ogling at him. I looked away guiltily and turned my back towards him. As we got into the lift, I could feel his warm gaze on me, but I did not dare to look at him again. I showed him all the rooms, our study, kitchen even balconies and kept talking so that there were no awkward silences. Time flew by but the heavy rainfall con- tinued. By 6 pm it was absolutely dark, windy and rain lashed through the windows. We were about to leave when my phone buzzed. It was a message from Sidharth. The message said “Hon- ey, won’t be able to make it. My advice, you too don’t go out. Entire Mumbai is flooded.” I repeated the message aloud to Naman. He looked at me and that cute smile flashed again. I picked up the intercom,
  47. 47. dialled the security to know if it was flooded even near our apartment build- ing. The security guard confirmed my biggest fear that Naman and I would be spending the night in the same flat. “I hope you are not very hungry. I just have a packet of chips, mineral water and a bottle of wine.” “It’s okay I’ll just have wine. If that’s okay with you” he said. I couldn’t help thinking, “Is he always this good or is it just an act?” Before I could get up from the sofa, he was already up. He came back with two glasses of wine and a party pack of Lays. He was so different than all the men. Had it been Sidharth, he would have expected me to lay the table while he sat watching TV. He gave me my glass of wine and picked up the other glass for himself and sat on the sofa beside me. Our shoulders brushed, I was acutely aware of his proximity. Naman looked at me, his expressions very guarded. “So, how are things with Sidharth?” I took a big gulp of my wine and I want- ed to give a politically correct answer maybe that we were a very happy cou- ple. But instead I said, “He hardly has time for me. He is always so busy. The only thing we talk about this apartment and its decorations.” Suddenly I realized what I was saying. Damn wine. Naman moved closer. He held my chin and lifted my face and earnestly looked at me. Then he said “Then he is a stupid man, you are beautiful and very hard to ignore.” I chose not to reply anything. I knew people thought that we were a happy, high flying couple. But it wasn’t so. Siddharth hardly had time for me. He just liked to talk about himself and his accomplishment. He treated everybody as they were born to serve him. Honest- ly, I never felt any crackling chemistry between us, nothing even near to what I felt for his friend Naman. Naman smiled and said “You have very beautiful eyes.” I don’t know who made the first move but we were kissing. He was everything I thought he would be. He smelled of soap and wine. His kisses were slow but demanding. One thing led to another before I realized we were on the bed making love. The bed that was sup- posed to be Siddharth’s and mine. I was making love to a man I hardly knew and to my fiance’s best friend. I pushed all negative thoughts out of my head and I started to enjoy the exquisite art of lovemaking. **** After a night of extensive lovemak- ing, I got up tired but at the same time happy. I looked around the house but Naman had already left. “Most proba- bly he must have left for the hospital”, I thought to myself. First things first I had to break-up with Siddharth so I went to his place. He was there reading newspaper. I sat be- side him and I told him the truth about what happened last night. His face went through a lot of expression changes from shock to anger and finally sadness. He did everything that I expected him storizen.com | July 2013 | 69
  48. 48. to do - from throwing things to calling me and Naman names to sobbing. I felt sorry for him but there was no use pretending to be happy and moreover I have finally found love. The man I truly loved. I gave his engagement ring back and as well as keys to the flat. As I walked out of his apartment, I felt an exhilarating sense of freedom wash over me. I proceeded towards my next destination; the hospital. I reached and ran up to the paediatric ward but Naman was not there. One of the nurses informed me that Naman had finished his work yesterday, itself. “How come he never told me that?” I wondered. I saw a picture of the beach hanging in one of the walls. I immedi- ately remembered what hehad told me about Juhu beach. He must be tensed because he had slept with me, his friend’s fiancé’. I rushed to Juhu beach and I saw him sitting there. I ran to him and hugged him. He smiled. “I love you and I have broken up with Siddharth. I am all yours now.” I said looking at him expectantly. But he con- tinued smiling. Something had changed overnight. His smile no longer had that warmth, which was their last night. “What happened?” I asked. He laughed and shook his head. “What makes you think I love you?” Initially I thought I must have heard it wrong. But he got up and started dust- ing his pants. “You are joking, right?” I so wanted the answer to be “yes”. “No, I am not.” It seemed somebody had punched me in my gut. I somehow managed to ask “Why me, why did you do this to me? I never did anything wrong to you ?” “Stop the “holier than thou” act, you are no better. You were already engaged how could you possibly sleep with me? You should have said “NO!” I didn’t force you. It’s like the pot calling the kettle black” he said with hatred drip- ping with every word he uttered. My brain stopped working, I just stared at him blankly unable to say or do any- thing. The only thing kept echoing in my head was, “Why me?” “Anyways, I slept with you so that I could get back at Siddharth.” He laughed. “Stupid girl, your fiancé, Sid- dharth slept with my girlfriend so I slept with ‘The love of his life’ and now we’re even.” With that he walked away. I kept staring at him, not blinking, with tears running down my face.
  49. 49. She is an avid reader and an amateur writer and poet. She pens what she observes, weird yet intriguing lives of real people with real problems. Renu lives in Mumbai and loves writing about love and relationships.
  50. 50. Jacob Hills, the second book by Ishmitha Tandon Dhankher, is not only a novel with a murder mystery at its core but also a fine account of interplay of multiple colorful characters, set in an army station named Jacob Hills, in a small picturesque hill station! Set in 1980s, the story unfolds as a nar- ration by different prime characters of the book, with each chapter of the book being told by one of them! The characters come alive in each chapter as the writer tries to get in to the skin of the characters, delving in the nooks and corners of their minds and often the dark corners at that! Characters like Eva, the young and beautiful wife of an army officer, her “poet at heart” husband George, the fighter in a village belle- Saaryu, the dashing captain Rana who is caught at the cross roads of life choosing between youthful freedom and maturity, his demure yet strong wife Heena; these characters stay with you for long after you have finished reading the book! In fact all the char- acters, the good, the bad and the evil; are sketched in detail with so much thoughtful observation that they get a life of their own! And that is one of the best things about the book! The book offers wonderful insight of the life in- side an army campus. The system of ‘batmans’, the underlying patriotism of every army officer, the repression be- neath the smooth veneer of crisp uni- forms and perfect etiquette of graceful wives comes alive in her candid writing! Though the poignant tale of the murder of a battered woman, who is seen by none when she was alive and missed by none when she is dead forms one of the main plots of the book, but it is surely not all the author wants to talk about! The plot wonderfully runs parallel with the other subplots of an abused young girl who does not realize that she is being violated or the subtle love story of Eva and George! And all of it comes together in the end beautifully! It’s a feat in itself to weave such an intricate design with so many characters effort- lessly without becoming incoherent in any place! It’s worth mentioning that though the book is set in the background of life
  51. 51. Arunima is by Profession a doctor, working with phar- macovigilance with a research organization. She is an avid reader of all genre of literature. She has started penning down thoughts of her mind. in an army campus, it isn’t about any specific organization but rather about people and their choices! And human mind, the challenges they perceive, the pleasures they seek, the goodness and the evil in them goes much beyond the confines any organization can impose! And neither do they evolve too much over time! Thus, anyone can identify with the characters of the book, even though the background may be set in a time 20 years back! Fast paced, yet slow enough for detailed and sensitive portrayal of the charac- ters; this book is a great read for anyone who finds delight in the greatest mys- tery of all times- the human mind! In some places, some of the male protag- onists like Col George or Col Sampat, seem to bear a heavy reflection of the author’s sensitive feminine mind, which perhaps can be debated whether men, esp. those in uniform and in touch with brutality more than the common men, are really capable of so much of soft and sensitive thought process! Howev- er even if a shade unreal, it’s a treat to read and believe in! The illustrations in the title of each chapter, though adds an interesting touch, might be considered a little juvenile by some! In a nutshell, as a reader, this book was quite unputdownable and an enjoyable read! The writing is crisp and the tale gritty. I would surely recommend it to anyone interested in a pacey, off beat thriller! storizen.com | July 2013 | 73
  52. 52. When I got copy of this book, I was not really thrilled. I unfurled its pag- es- lo and behold- it was entirely in the form of letters! So, I kept it aside with the intention of coming to it later. And on weekend, I opened it once again, as- suming it would be worth a read. In one go, I was through it. What is it all about? The book comprises of letters written by Abhimanyu, a neurosurgeon prac- ticing in England and Uma, a medical student, addressing to each other. They share over 125 letters over a time span of 10 years, between 1990 and 1999. And in them, they share every aspect of their lives: be it professional or person- al. How the two know each other is not clearly stated in the book. About Characters Uma, aged 18 or 19, is a smart girl who aspires to be a doctor. She is a smart lady determined to achieve her goals, as is clear from her choice of surgery as the specialization, a field that is consid- ered unfit for women. But at times, she also succumbs to pressure: she goes for an arranged marriage, knowing that the boy is not suitable for her. She resigns from her post as doctor when she is blamed for the death of an old patient. Abhimanyu, the skilled neurosurgeon, is a strong character. He is always there to guide Uma whenever she is confused or when her life hits rough weather. He is fun-loving and enjoys good time bonding with his male friends. Person- ally, he has been through many failed relationships. As he falls prey to some dreaded disease, he loses meaning of life and is forced to lead a secluded life. How the Characters Bond with Each Other? The two characters are big loners in their own way. Though they live within the humdrum of two busy cities, they can’t share their feelings with anyone else; so they confide only in each other. Sitting miles apart, they discuss almost everything that their life is connect- ed to. She tells him about her family, Bengali traditions, her experiences as a student of medicine, and her hardships as a married woman. At times, when she finds it too difficult to carry on with his life, she finds solace in
  53. 53. Anuradha reviews classics, romantic comedies, mys- tery and thriller, in short books of all genres. She latches on to books which has tinge of romance. Abhimanyu’s letters. He tells her about his life as neurosurgeon in London. Both of them discuss their love lives and sexual relations too. How does the Story Progress? The initial letters have the usual chit- chat about what’s going around in their lives. Every letter from Abhi is answered by Uma, but not necessar- ily. Every letter carries a date on top, so the readers can know about the gap between consecutive ones. Uma gets married one day and Abhi is not sur- prised. In the latter letters, she shares her marital problems and he, his new job and his travel experiences. The story culminates in 1999 when the two are facing grave problems in their lives. The author, Madhumita Mukherjee, being born & brought up in a Bengali family and having practiced medicine in Lon- don, has based her story largely upon these two places. And from her writing, it is clear that she knows nuances of these two contrasting cultures. What Does the Book Convey? The story reaffirms the fact that rela- tionships are fragile; unless they are nurtured with love, they are bound to fall apart. The decisions taken in haste can ruin everything. It tells that world does not take easy on women who chose unconventional path for them. And it also shows that relations can flourish in spite of the long distances between people. How it Ends: The book ends on a positive note. You need to read it to know how it ends. storizen.com | July 2013 | 75
  54. 54. Iam a complete Cover Page person. I have to like the cover page to give book a chance, otherwise no matter how good the content, I don’t venture in. It is just the way I am. I saw this book around, and decided to check out a few reviews before reading it. It looked interesting and now I am glad I read it. At 216 pages, it is quite a fast read. I finished it in a couple of hours in my limited reading time. The story is about Ira Bhat, a no-non- sense, passionate copywriter in one of the best advertising agencies in the country, J. McCarthy. The book re- volves around her busy work-life and therefore, almost the lack of a social or personal life. Her friends at work, Aditi and Sameer, keep the environ- ment lively with their leg-pulling and easy banter. The book essentially deals with how Ira negotiates her life through tight deadlines, demanding boss, office politics, rumour mills, idiosyncrasies of clients and an insecure ex while also finding romance amid the craziness. The book provides a lot of insights into the workings of an advertising agen- cy. My first job was at FCB Ulka, so I instantly connected with whatever the author had to say. In fact, it was quite nostalgic. I was in Client Servicing*, by the way. There were quite a lot of footnotes. It aimed at providing clarity to someone who isn’t familiar with the advertis- ing jargons, and does so with wit and humor. I really enjoyed the footnotes. They are in fact the funniest aspect of the book. The thing is it is not a masterpiece. You would not miss a thing if you do not read it, but if you do, you will have fun, and you would know much about the workings of an ad agency in the pro- cess. Sample few lines from the book: *Postmen, peacemakers, punching bags – client servicing executives are seen as all this and more. Part of their job
  55. 55. “Reema Sahay is a Stay-At-Home-Mom, Freelance Writ- er, Voracious Reader, Passionate Blogger, Social Media Enthusiast, Internet Junkie and Ex-Marketing Com- munication Professional. She buys way too many books than she can possibly ever read. is to brief the creative team about what the client wants and present to the client what the creative team will de- sign to deliver. In their dedication to this cause, they often face loss of face, limb and self-respect, at the hands of demanding clients and uncooperative creative teams. It is a thankless job that requires a special skill set – a high threshold of pain, a high tolerance for personal humiliation, but contrary to industry perception, not necessarily, not necessarily a low IQ score. storizen.com | July 2013 | 77
  56. 56. Sapna Agarwal Social consultant, Ajmer Vikram Seth Vikram Seth is one of my favorite In- dian authors. And no, I haven’t read “A Suitable Boy” yet. With those two cru- cial things off the plate, I would like to speak about one of Seth’s lesser known books “From Heaven’s Lake”. When I say lesser known what I really mean is ‘lesser known’ to people like me. Connoisseurs of popular fiction and thrillers, not particularly into ‘serious reading’ (read biographies/ political comments/ historical essays etc.). From Heaven’s lake, is an account of a journey Seth undertook from China to India in 1982, much before China became ‘pop- ular’ in rest of the worlds imagination. What’s remarkable about the account is that Seth took the unbeaten and ardu- ous land route to reach India. En route he crosses over the high West China mountain terrain and the Sumukh Naik Software Engineer, Puna Mrityunjaya: By Shivaji Sawant One of the most enigmatic characters of Mahabharat, after Krishna & Bheesh- ma is Karna - child of the life giver Sun. But his entire life was eclipsed by events which were not of his doing. Through his epic novel ‘Mrityunjaya’, Mr.Shiva- ji Sawant has with a sense of purpose dyed the life events of Karan in various spectrums of human emotions. The events have been highlighted in a ge- nius manner through the eyes of Karna , his mother Kunti, friend Duryodhan, wife Vrishali, brother Shon and Krishna himself. Mrityunjaya makes you rethink on the happenings of Mahabharat in an altogether fresh and different perspective. The conceptualization is matchless and execution of this novel is absolutely brilliant. Mrityunjaya is a very special and unique novel written by a scholar for a hero.

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