Review of Mandals of Time by Dr. Jailaximi R Vinayak

Malashri Lal’s “Mandalas of Time” Poems herald tranquility, concentration , divine joy and drive away the negativity when one gets immersed in her poesies. The poems strive to bring a balance between the cosmopolitan and the mythological characters Sita, Radha, Manthra, all having a topical relevance as they embody the present traits of womanhood. They are impactful dynamic and assertive. This book is an author’s search for unity and completeness of spiritual journey from outside to life within. The title Mandalas and the  very first poem  (Ardhanareesvara) exemplify the set of shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which  operate as a unifying force within society and representing a shared understanding of social norms. The poems are cathartic, perspicacious  and evocative with a healing touch. They embody the influences of folk epics, Bengali literature and culture of Vishva Bharti, Jaipur, Delhi, Calcutta plus the eastern and western strands.

Her love for nature may not be typically Wordsworth-ian but  Tagore-an  and is replete with minute details and insight. Her deep delving observation transports us to the realm of flora. ‘Amaltas in Summer’ thriving in intense heat juxtaposed with the sun scorched humanity is beautifully delineated. ‘Another New Year’ The pilkhan tree is witness to the activities of young and  old and passing year. ‘Autumn’ is ageing but the mind doesn’t age; humanity dwindles in contradictory phases.

The vain ‘Bougainvillea’ exerting its invincible reign over Chameli and Harsingar and outshining the rest. The wintery cluster of ‘Impatience’ stand for togetherness contrasting with the aloneness of friendless people. In ‘Summer Tricks’ the mango florets, Dahlias and gulmohar leaves impel the poet to  visualise vignettes of seemingly forgotten visages.The tender dropping of pink Carnations’ ‘petals’ signify dark eternity. ‘Hibiscus and the Old Champa’ hobnobbing to share an interesting dialogue.The last poem ‘Easter Lilies in an Empty House’  where Lilies jostle, squabble and are scarred but send a lesson of rejuvenation. One can hear the sonorous melodies of Sonajhuri and Acasia in the midst of the bedlam of city in the poem ‘Song of the forest’.

Certain  short poems like ‘Blue Haze’

“In the blue haze of anaesthesia

I found your cool palm

Soothing my forehead

I looked beyond for a face

And saw nothing

Or Everything”

‘Radha’s Flute’

Krishna flung the flute

//             //

Never sing again

Loveless ownerless, Godless.


An Adult’s Abacus

//            //

Marking the passage of minutes

Each  endlessly long.

 Linger long in our memory.

Mythological poems like’Rani Padmini today’, ‘Sita’sPankha’, ‘Sita’s Rasoi’, ‘Sita and the Pandemic’, ‘Shila Devi of Amber’, and  ‘Hawan Mahal’ are all weaved in rhythm and rhyme in a distinct innovative style.

Some poems like ‘Family Portrait’,

‘Prayer For a Granddaughter’ and ‘sister’  ‘Dreaming of Ma by the sea’  mention endearingly of filial ties.

Certain  happenings in life like gems chiselled and polished like humanity bears the brunt of sorrows and joy in ‘Jaipur Bazaar’

‘Crushed’ narrates the story of a cloistered maiden and ‘Escape’ is about a housewife bogged down by the toxicity and the controlling powers.

The book has poems of varied nature laced with similes, metaphors, oxymorons, epithets and images. Prof.Lal doesn’t fail to offer her  homage to Tagore, Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Gulzar and Maharani Gayatri Devi either.

“Mandalas of time” is an interesting and a knowledgeable read and I exhort all book lovers, scholars and students to read this engrossing  and much applauded creation. Dr.Jailaxmi R Vinayak

P.S: Comment of the author herself on the review: “Insightful review. Thanks very much, Jailaxmi. I could read it and save it.” Malashri

Review from Kaneez Zahra Razavi

Club Literati Bhopal had the privilege to present this 90min modern drama at Shaheed Bhavan on July 01 at 7pm
Ashish Shrivastav wrote and directed this somewhat close refection to our contemporary world par excellence.
An enthusiastic team of fifteen supported two characters — two that live in each of us.

As the chuckles gave way to gravity we travelled with thespians. . . .
Unexpected perfected diction of regional languages far from their own complemented the youthful director in hairline detail.

Minimalistic sets well designed light and music gave us a treat rarely seen nowadays.
The commodious auditorium was “no-standing room–aisle seating only” within minutes of the outset of the presentation.
A personal message we can take with us about social institutions as well as the meaning of companionship.
Ashish Shrivastava has written five of the twentfive plays he has presented nationwide.

Dr Seema Raizada supported by her theatre enthusiastic Club Literati team including Dr Jailaxmi Vinayak,
Preeti Bawa, Dr Amita Singh and our young author M. Anzar honoured the group whom we all hope to see perform their magic frequently.

KZ Razavi
Member Club Literati

Book Launch: Lokesh Gulayani’s “Ladkiyan Hongi”

A discussion and release on storyteller Lokesh Gulyani's 7th book 'Ladkiyan Hongi' was organized by Club Literati at Arera Club on Saturday, 9th September.
The program was moderated by Dr. Neelkamal Kapoor, who took charge of the program while answering interesting questions from the author. Lokesh Gulyani takes writing seriously. This was reflected on the evening 9th September. Talking about books, author Lokesh Gulyani told the audience that "One cannot write a story by thinking. By thinking you can only build a structure, not a complete building. The story itself dictates the story."
The launch of the book by our President, Dr. Seema Raizada along with the most celebrated members.
Author Lokesh Gulyani and moderator Dr. Neelkamal Kapoor
The audience enchanted by the deep discussion
He also told that "Ladkiyan Hongi" is his seventh book which is a collection of 13 short stories. All stories are different from each other. When asked about the book, the author said, "I completely agree with one thing that stories have their own time to be completed. If they are tried too hard, they become such sullen Laila. If they were, they would have been beautiful. But at the last moment she takes revenge on you by wearing ugly make-up."
Very effective questions were asked by Neelkamal Kapoor in the program. Due to which the audience remained engaged till the end. In the end, President of Club Literati, Seema Raizada, expressed her gratitude to the author, facilitator and all the present audience and reiterated her resolve to continue organizing similar programs in future also.

संगीता गुन्देचा कि पडिक्कमा

5th July, 2023: स्वामी विवेकानन्द लाइब्रेरी में संगीता गुन्देचा के साथ कविताओं पर चर्चा करते हुए एक शाम बिताई।
क्लब लिटराटी द्वारा आयोजित पुस्तक चर्चा का विषय संगीता गुन्देचा की नई प्रकाशित पुस्तक के बारे में था, जो न केवल एक कवि हैं, बल्कि एक कहानीकार, निबंधकार, अनुवादक और नाट्यशास्त्रज्ञ भी हैं। चर्चा की संचालन डॉ. रेखा श्रीवास्तव ने किया और शाम की कवयित्री संगीता गुंदेचा के साथ अंतरंग चर्चा के लिए ध्रुव शुक्ल, अरुणाभ  सौरभ और गीत चतुर्वेदी भी शामिल हुए।
जब संगीता गुन्देचा से पूछा गया कि उन्होंने ने अपनी किताब का नाम पडीक्कमा क्यों रखा है तो उन्होंने जवाब दिया कि पडीक्कमा प्राकृत भाषा का शब्द है। इस शब्द का मूल है पडिक्कमन, जिसका अर्थ है लौटना। पडिक्कमा कविता साल 2019 में दो रिश्तेदारों यानी बाबूजी (पिता सीएम गुन्देचा) और विमल दा (बड़े भाई रमाकांत गुन्देचा) की वापसी पर लिखी गई है। यह कविता परिवार के इन दो सदस्यों की मृत्यु के इर्द-गिर्द घूमती है। किताब का नाम भी पडीक्कमा है क्योंकि कविता करना अपने मृतकों और परिक्रमा पर निकले पूर्वजों की परिक्रमा करने जैसा है।
संगीता गुन्देचा ने संस्कृत के चम्पूकाव्य, जिसमें पद्य और गद्य दोनों समाहित हैं, से प्रेरित होकर हिंदी साहित्य में पडीक्कमा कविता लिखकर ‘चम्पू कविता’ नामक एक नई शैली को जन्म दिया। यह उनके काव्य संग्रह का हिंदी साहित्य को एक महत्वपूर्ण योगदान है।
पैनल के सदस्यों ने पुस्तक पर अपने विचार भी साझा किये।

Better Half: A Play at Shaheed Bhawan

3rd July, 2023: Loss of a partner for aged people can be devastating. This is an age when togetherness matters more than physical attraction . The play Better Half, directed by Mr. Ashish Shrivastav, was such a play where a couple married for 30 long years suddenly faces such a tragedy . The husband, a 65 years old Prashant Chaterji, looses his wife, Sudha Chaterji, because of the carelessness of the doctors at the hospital.Heartbroken, Mr. Chaterji files a case against the hospital. 

The play shows the journey of Prashant Chaterji going through the manoeuvring the changes which the times demands from him .
The play at Shaheed Bhawan, organised by Club Literti, enchanted its audience and kept them all in its grasp till the very last scene. The superb performances by actors and wonderful direction kept audience spell bound and brought tears to many eyes .
The director Mr. Ashish Shrivastav along with the actors and supporting staff were felicitated by the club after the show amidst thundering applause

A Panel Discussion of A Happier You by Dr. Mukesh Jain!

17th June, 2023 at Arera Club was an evening well spent with the author DGP, Dr. Mukesh Jain and members of Club Literati, discussing his book, A Happier You.

We are always seeking the answers of what is happiness? Is it a desired profession? Or is it having kids with a loved one? Or the luxuries of life? Or is there some short formula for happiness? Almost every person binds happiness with skill but is it so? 

Most of our life is spent in the pursuit of happiness but how to find our happiness? 

The session was enlightening and filled with the discussion which answered most of these questions. 

Dr. Mukesh Jain while talking on his book A Happier You.

The author himself, Dr. Mukesh Jain started his discussion with a tidbit on Michelangelo. He said that once, Michelangelo was asked,  “what is the magic in your hands?”, to which he answered: “I don’t make statues, every stone has a statue in it, I just remove the unnecessary ones.” Likewise we should remove the hurdles in the way of us and our happiness. It might not be simple but it always works. 

It is true that hard work leads to success and it is not necessary that it also leads to happiness. 

The author raised the question of us seeking happiness and making happiness our final point, rather happiness has to be the starting point in leading a good life. 

Dr. Jain also discussed with the audience the gene happiness research work of Robert Levenson and Sonja Lyubomirsky. He talked about the experiments done on paralysed people as they were given a winning lottery ticket to see whether they become happy after winning the money. 

Role of genetic happiness, Veronica Huta and Richard Ryan’ work, role of meaningfulness, social relations were discussed as well. Dr. Jain concluded his discussion by stating that it has been proved that a giver is always happier and stays happy for a long period of time. 

Panel members Dr. Vinay Mishra, a Prof. Of Psychology, told the audience how he is asked often, whether he is happy working in Antarctica. He confessed that though it is very formidable to live in Antarctica, he was happy. He said that, “while we are still in a difficult situation, you have to manoeuvre your way through.” 

Recording the voices of their loved ones for later, helping each other to adjust helped him and his colleagues in the difficult time at Antarctica. 

Dr. Mishra says, “We have come far away from Freudian Psychology. We know how we create our own emotional distress and manage it, dealing with it.” 

He added  that happiness can be invited by altering your lifestyle and modifying your environment. 

Tips on modifying your environment:

  • Assertiveness: Put your foot down and say the things you believe in: satisfaction of speaking your mind out 
  • Withdraw if necessary: we venture into and realise and we are riding on the wrong bus. Rather than stressing,  you need to withdraw when necessary 
  • Compromise when it is required: have to leave a margin for other people 

Avoiding stressful thoughts, having healthy social relations play a big part in a happier life. 

Dr. Sangeeta Jauhari, another panel member, too shared her views on the book and happiness and shared the following points: 

Keynotes from the book to practise: thoughts processed changed 

  • To be optimistic in all the situation 
  • Be internal in case of finding happiness 
  • Do no follow things blindly 
  • Be alert to be a superhero 
  • Find your own success parameters 
  • Be happy and achieve something you want 

She also pointed out how necessary the book is for the students today! 

Mr. Raghuraj Rajendran, shared that the human mind is always looking for happiness. It is something that we are always enquiring about. When a person is religiously inclined, he would go to the religious books to guide them. Thus the book is the answer, and happiness was the motivation.

Mr. Rajendran stated that nothing could have stopped Dr. Jain from writing the book A Happier You, with such need and motivation around him. 

The session came to an end with the moderator sharing a few quotes from the book, her comments on the fulfilment curve and a few questions from the audience. 

Right to left: Dr. Vinay Mishra, Dr Mukesh Jain, Mr, Raghuraj Rajendra, Dr. Sangeeta Jauhari and Dr. Seema Raizada

The session was full of tips for happiness and recommendations of books. 

These are few listed here: 

  • If You Are So Smart Why Aren’t You Happy? 
  • Mindset  


Eudaimonia is characterized by a state of well being, positive and emotions of joy, contentment and happiness. According to Aristotle eudaimonia was used for human good in Greek tradition. It is a combination of happiness, well being and flourishing.This goal of eudaimonia is best achieved by following the virtues and developing a righteous disposition. It is a synonym and a better word than happiness particularly emphasized by Plato and Aristotle.

What is the true key to happiness? Is it success? Is it owning a sprawling bungalow? Is it amassing wealth? Is it owning the amazing car? A person feels erroneously that if he gets everything, above-mentioned he will be happy So he chases and runs for happiness like hamsters on a wheel.

There are three reasons to make people happy.
First is pleasure – deriving from what one likes to do.
Second is engagement-busy in being connected to some activity.
Third is meaning that is holding the belief that what one does, matters. Aristotle defined four layers of eudaimonia.
Laetus- Happiness from material objects.
Felix- Ego gratification.
Beatitude- Happiness derived from doing good to others and making the place a better world.
Sublime beatitude- (To lift up or elevate) This category the most difficult to describe, encompass, a reach for fullness and perfection of happiness. The fullness therefore of goodness, beauty, truth and love. As understood by Christianity, it is not an empty Nirvana, the deadly repose of inactivity. The beatitude is an immense activity springing from knowledge to knowledge, from love to love. A few gifted men know the delight of intellectual discovery, a delight that compensates them for long hard years of mental toil.

An enlightening piece submitted by our one of the most talented members at Club Literati: Dr. Jailaxmi R Vinayak. Dr. Jailaxmi R Vinayak is a writer, poet and singer. Wedded to Olive Green – Brigadier of Indian Army, she is an Ex member of Delhi Poetree’. Recepient of International Women’s Award in 2003, she is also ‘I am Bhopal’. An author of books in Hindi and English, presently she is designated as professor and Guide for ph.D. candidates at Eklavya university.

Book Discussion: By The Sea

The discussion for the book, By the Sea by Abudulrazaq Gurnah started with an introduction about the club by Dr. Seema Raizada. Dr. Raizada also talked about Literati Inkpad magazine which has the section of “Our Choice” which includes names of the books from different authors and “By the Sea” was one of them.  The evening then went ahead with the introduction about the author by Adeena Syed. The introduction about the author included his history, his career and of course his writings. Anshu Vaish led the discussion of the book and told the Club Literati members about the book. Mrs. Vaish stated that though the plot is simple then the story holds you with emotions of betrayal, homesickness, empathy and much more. By the Sea, a profound work  with deep universal vision, is a story of an exile with a fake name.

Anshu Vaish, giving her review on By the Sea.

The fact that the book has common people as its protagonist who are trying to make a place in the world, makes it full of emotions, as well as interesting. Mrs. Vaish also read a few passages from the book, making the audience lean out of their seats to hear the work.

Dr. Seema Raizada giving her input on the book.

Mrs. Kaneez Rizwi shared that we have all been there in being in that non belongingness and that’s what she identified in the book.

Taneema Datta, a professor of economics, shared her views on the book and read her favourite passage from the first few chapters. The discussion was vibrant and full of interest and promises of more in future. And the evening was concluded with the vote of thanks by Shivangi.

Shakespeareana 2023

Shakespear is a beloved classic author and there is always someone studying his sonnets, plays or an aspect of them. Club Literati, being a literary society, proudly presents its love for Bard every year through different means. The event was thus planned, scheduled and made happen by Dr. Seema Raizada, president of the club, and her team. 

Dating from 20th April, 2023, when Dr. Seema Raizada delivered a seminar at Oriental Group of Institutes on Shakespeare and his poetry, the festival lasted for 4 days. 

The second day was dedicated to the wonderful young minds of DPS, Neelbad where Dr. Seema Raizada delivered an expert talk on Language and Sense in Shakespearean sonnets. After this, the children of DPS, Neelbad poured in to submit their entries for the sonnet competition: From Me to Thee. 

The competitions were another fun way to show Bard love. The list included four competitions, which were From Me to Thee: Sonnet competition where participants were to write about their feelings addressing someone, anyone they want; Words, Words, words: weave the story using 15 to 20 Shakespearean quotes of 2000 words; One Minute Shakespeare: where participants would talk how what Shakespeare meant to them for one minute; and Design a Book Viver, where participant would bring out their creativity and create a cover for one of the Shakespearean books. 

Apart from the competitions, Club Literati conducted its signature quiz, Will Power Quiz on Shakespeare, his life and his works. The entries poured in for all the competitions and quiz and by the time of the deadline on 21st April, 9 PM, 13 different institutions had participated in the competitions which ranged from famous schools of Bhopal as well as St. Xavier of Mumbai, making the competition go on national level. 

The Quiz was conducted on 23rd April, 7 PM, where the link to the quiz was shared with the participants with the pre-prepared WhatsApp group, Will Power participants only. The participants were given the window of 12 minutes to submit their answers and the winner was selected from the one who did it all correctly in the least amount of time. 

Club Literati started something new this year by going live on Instagram with Orange Owl Perception and Deepti Yadav. The talk show, Bard on Insta, was a hit where Adeena Syed from Club Literati and Prakriti Rais from Orange Owl Perception talked about Shakespeare about his work, his maturity in writing and his understanding of society with Deepti Yadav. The session turned into a fun show when Deepti Yadav was asked to be part of rapid fire round and was asked the funniest question which left the moderator laughing and answering wittily. 

The city event, Shakespeare Jamboree, was a hit among the winners and audience alike. The winners of all the competitions were contacted and invited via email to recite and showcase their work and get the well deserved prizes. 

The event was opened by Dr. Seema Raizada who welcomed the audience and introduced the anchor of the evening Rashmi Bhargav. The first to perform for the evening was Diksha, an active member of Club Literati, environmentalist, artist and songwriter sang a Shakespearean sonnet and bewitched everyone with her voice. The event flew after that, from Mrs. Bhargav’s introduction of Shakespeare to the winners reciting their work, it was a roller coaster of feelings. The winners recited their works, impressing  the audience with their creativity at such a young age. The list of winners is long but the performances were held by Athrva Upadhyay of DPS for his submission in From Me to Thee, Anvi Dixit from Billabong High International School recited her story entry for Words, words, words and made people wonder at her writings at the young age of 14. Kanishka Paltani and Prakhar Bhandari from Billabong International School performed for a minute and revealed their entry for One minute Shakespeare. Saanvi of DPS and Stuti of Army School, winners of Design a Book Cover held their art as the audience had a look at the beautiful curve of the brushes and sprinkle of colours on the sheet to the designs Bard would surely want for his own books. 

Vinita Bhatnagar, dressed in black velvet suit and purple headdress, as Claudio, brought the audience in near tears with the love story of Hero and Claudio, his confessions and loss of love. The act was then followed by the rowdy group of Sanskar Valley School students who debated on the topic, “Desdemona was the only victim” in Shakespeare’s play, Othello. The debate was hot and both the parties put forth the points which made the audience constantly change their sides with one team to another. The team in favour of the topic with Pranav Hari Prakash, Anvi Sharma and Samaira Ismail held their ground and bombarded the opposition team with facts and questions. The rowdy and loud and full of motivation to win and indeed the winning team of the Debate competition came with Anushka Sharma, Shubh Jain and Aadya Singh who made audience applause and agreed with their argument. The debate, moderated by Anadya Verma and judged by Deepti Yadav and Bhasha Shukla, was a super hit among young and adults alike. 

As said before, the study on Shakespeare is always happening and Club Literati was honoured to have Dr. Suchi Shukla, who studied Shakespearean heroine for her doctorate, was felicitated at the event. It was then followed by the much awaited by the winners, the prize distribution ceremony where all the winners including the opposition team of debate were given their prizes for winning their respective categories. The event was concluded by Anushka Sharma, a Sanskar Valley School student, who dressed as Juliet, came to perform a monologue in the alternated balcony scene. What would have happened if Romeo had not appeared that night under Juliet’s balcony, how she would have continued, what she would have said: this wasn’t left to imagination as Ms. Sharma performed her lines and captivated the viewers with the longing in her voice.

By the end of the event, the guests were truly full of entertainment eyt asking for more for the next year and there will be more in Shakespeareana 2024. 

The festival was celebrated by not just Club Literati but by many Bard lovers of Bhopal. There will be many such fests to come and more fun to follow. 

Cultures and Rituals

Reading fantasy is fine is escape the reality but one need to read about reality too, to be able to live it in a proper way.

There are not one but many books telling us about the how to live a life. Another hundred books telling us the history of different time. Another thousands of books on how to be a success in life but as Dr. Kiran Cadha put it in her discussion on 15th January, 2023 at Bhojpur Club, there are not many books on rituals on Hindu weddings. Each ritual holds something important for the future of the couple’s life ahead so of course it important they follow each of it but do we all know about these rituals?

Club Literati brought forth the author of Dalhousie…through My Eyes, Echoes of the Heart…Dil Se, Ehsas: Dil Se and Magic of Indian Weddings which was the hot topic for our discussion.

Club Literati’s moderators, Manjusha Khanna and Parminder Kaur. The sessions was full of laughter and lessons and Dr. Chadha answered all the questions from moderators as well as from audience with all her heart and gave the insights on her own life.

She talked about numerous things and frowned upon few new generation practices where there is too much selfishness yet so little of self love. The author promoted self love saying, “You can’t spread happiness unless you are happy yourself and you cannot be happy unless you love yourself.”

The author sang a Punjabi wedding song at the end of the discussion for the audience and was joined by others too. The multi talented Dr. Kiran Chadha is not only an amazing writer but also full of life and lessons for not only youngsters but women all around and of all ages!