Book Review – Golden Age of Mysteries

A series to pay tribute to the golden age mystery authors, by attempting to provide reviews on some of their books which I highly admire. Golden age of mysteries is generally defined by that period where the mystery stories had a central, strong puzzle plot and the detective/police/amateur investigator goes through all the clues, the suspects and finally solves the mystery (murder/theft/disappearance). More often than not, the big “reveal” is in a closed setting with all the suspects around. Readers then express, “Oh, that was so clever, I did not see this coming”! Authors from UK and USA generally dominated this period.
Review 3
Book :
Case of William Smith
Author: Patricia Wentworth (UK)
Original Year of Publication : 1948
About the Author: Patricia Wentworth (born Dora Amy Elles) was a British crime fiction writer, born in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India (then the British Raj). Wentworth wrote a series of 32 crime novels in the classic whodunit style, featuring Miss Maud Silver, a retired governess and teacher who becomes a professional private detective, in London, England. Miss Silver works closely with Scotland Yard, especially Inspector Frank Abbott, and is fond of quoting the poet Tennyson. Source : Wikipedia
Plot: This is a story of a man who goes off to war, is injured, and loses his memory. He is called, ‘William Smith’ by everyone and eventually comes home from the concentration camp with a new talent: carving toy animals and birds for children. But actually, who was William Smith? And why were few people so horrified to see him? For many years, William had worked as a woodcarver for the local toyshop, ignorant of his true identity. So when he took his work to Evesleys Ltd, why was his life in danger?
Suspense: This is a very smooth flowing story with many interesting and strong characters. The pace of the story is fast and full of interesting plot points. The memory loss angle is handled expertly, and the reader is always curious to know the real identity of William Smith. Though it is not a major surprise as to who is behind all the attempts to kill William Smith, still Wentworth paints the story with vivid descriptions of places and events. Especially strong is her description of colors throughout the story, be it for clothes or objects. I do wish that there could have been a few more twists and turns in the storyline, in some places it was more of a straight novel than a mystery one.
Climax: At the finale of the novel, the story sort of slopes downwards with no major twists or turns. Still, I would say, this is a nice read and Wentworth manages to hold the attention of the reader by the sheer beauty of her prose and writing style, more than the actual mystery of the story.
My Rating and Recommendation: 3.5/5. Recommended for readers who like a descriptive light mystery with interesting characters. Not recommended for readers who like deep, suspenseful and classic mystery plots.
About the Reviewer :
Born and brought up in New Delhi, Abhishek Goswami did his graduation in Science from the Delhi University and later on did PGDBA in HR. He has 17 years of work experience in reputed MNC firms and is currently working in Gurgaon. He has a keen interest in reading suspense/mystery books and mythological fiction. He has won the “Top 100 Inspiring Authors” and “Swami Vivekanand Seva Youth Guild” award for his first book, “The Lonely Drummer and Other Poems”. His poems have been a part of Asian Literary Society and United by Ink anthologies and also published in newspapers like The Hans India and News Now. Available as free shipping on Amazon, Flipkart and Notionpress.com

Disclaimer: In case of any concern, Please contact the contributor of this post. Website owner is not responsible for any copyright conflict or anything related to content.

Book Review : Golden Age of Mysteries (1920-55)

A series to pay tribute to the golden age mystery authors, by attempting to provide reviews on some of their books which I highly admire. Golden age of mysteries is generally defined by that period where the mystery stories had a central, strong puzzle plot and the detective/police/amateur investigator goes through all the clues, the suspects and finally solves the mystery (murder/theft/disappearance). More often than not, the big “reveal” is in a closed setting with all the suspects around. Readers then express, “Oh, that was so clever, I did not see this coming”! Authors from UK and USA generally dominated this period.

Review 2
Book : Footsteps in the Dark
Author: Georgette Heyer (UK)
Original Year of Publication : 1932

About the Author: Georgette Heyer was an English historical romance and detective fiction novelist. A best-selling author, Heyer’s writing career saw her produce works from a variety of genres; in total she published 32 novels in the romance genre, 6 historical novels, 4 contemporary novels, and 12 in the detective fiction genre. Her 12 detective novels were published between 1932 and 1953. Source : Wikipedia

Plot: The Priory, a ramshackle old house, is the perfect setting for a much-needed holiday for siblings Peter, Celia, Margaret and Charles (Celia’s husband), who have inherited it from their uncle. Left empty for years as even their deceased uncle chose to live in a different house, far away from this property. Locals claims that a ghost haunts that place. But when a murder victim is discovered, the siblings begin to fear that the ghostly rumors are true and they are not alone after all! But traditionally ghosts don’t commit murder. With a killer on the loose, will they find themselves the next victims or will they uncover the truth in time? Does the key to the crime lie in the realm of the supernatural or is there an earthlier cause?

Suspense: Throughout the story, Heyer maintains a very humorous touch in her dialogs and the flow of the story is very smooth. Especially the interactions between the village locals and the main protagonists are very funny and full of wit. The list of suspects is not very large, still Heyer manages to confuse the readers as to who is the real culprit. There is an eerie feeling in some chapters and the locale is very beautifully painted by the writer’s carefully chosen words. Some scenes in the story were bit more melodramatic than normal.

Climax: At the finale of the novel, Heyer does manage to pull put a trick or two, with a few secret passages and what not in the story. Still, the climax is a good one, though I was very close to pointing out the right murderer. An entertaining read overall.

Rating and Recommendation: 3/5. Highly recommended for readers who like cozy mysteries, humorous and sarcastic dialogs in between and a slow but enjoyable read. Not recommended for readers who like fast thrillers and gadgets etc..

About the Reviewer : 
Born and brought up in New Delhi, Abhishek Goswami did his graduation in Science from the Delhi University and later on did PGDBA in HR. He has 17 years of work experience in reputed MNC firms and is currently working in Gurgaon. He has a keen interest in reading suspense/mystery books and mythological fiction. He has won 
the “Top 100 Inspiring Authors” and “Swami Vivekanand Seva Youth Guild” award for his first book, “The Lonely Drummer and Other Poems”. His poems have been a part of Asian Literary Society and United by Ink anthologies and also published in newspapers like The Hans India and News Now. Available as free shipping on AmazonFlipkart andNotionpress.com

Disclaimer: In case of any concern, Please contact the contributor of this post. Website owner is not responsible for any copyright conflict or anything related to content.

Book Review : The French Powder Mystery

Reviewed by – Abhishek Goswami

Golden Age of Mysteries (1920-55)
A series to pay tribute to the golden age mystery authors, by attempting to provide reviews on some of their books which I highly admire. Golden age of mysteries is generally defined by that period where the mystery stories had a central, strong puzzle plot and the detective/police/amateur investigator goes through all the clues, the suspects and finally solves the mystery (murder/theft/disappearance). More often than not, the big “reveal” is in a closed setting with all the suspects around. Readers then express, “Oh, that was so clever, I did not see this coming”! Authors from UK and USA generally dominated this period.
Review 1
Book : The French Powder Mystery
Author: Ellery Queen (USA)
Original Year of Publication : 1930

About the Author: Ellery Queen is a crime fiction pseudonym created in 1929 by Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee, and later used by other authors under Dannay and Lee’s supervision. Dannay and Lee’s main fictional character, whom they also named Ellery Queen, is a mystery writer in New York City who helps his police inspector father solve baffling murders. Most of the more than thirty novels and several short story collections in which Ellery Queen appeared as a character were written by Dannay and Lee and were among the most popular American mysteries published between 1929 and 1971. Source : Wikipedia
Plot: The story centers around the French department store in New York city, where a woman is found dead, tumbling on the floor from a wooden bed whose features are being demonstrated to the customers. The case is then investigated by Inspector Richard Queen and his son Ellery. While investigating the upper story apartment of the owner, Ellery is perplexed by an odd assortment of clues, including not only bloodstains but grains of fingerprint powder and an unusual assortment of books. Also, an ashtray full of half-smoked cigarettes might be important along with how the shoes are kept. The suspects include the wealthy victim’s family and friends, some employees of the store, and possible members of a drug ring.
Suspense: Throughout the story, E.Q maintain a high level of suspense by giving the readers various clues and building a sense of apprehension and excitement, along with many red-herrings. The dialogues between the characters are sometimes quite witty and interesting. Though a few chapters do lack pace, especially when the Inspector and Ellery interview the suspects, but the pace is quickened up when newer facts emerge, especially the time tables of all the store employees and how Ellery deduces important facts by applying sound logic and reason to the case. Just before the climax, the authors put a “Challenge to the Reader”, stating that the reader should be able to solve the case now with all the given facts. But, can the reader do it? I certainly could not.
Climax: At the finale of the novel, Ellery does a detailed piece of deduction by creating a list of conditions that the murderer must meet (involving, among other things, the possession of keys). He clears all suspects except one, whose identity is revealed in the last line of the novel, bringing a satisfying and entertaining end to the story.

My Rating and Recommendation: 4/5. Highly recommended for readers who like mysteries by Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr and Ngaio Marsh. Not recommended for readers who are more into hard-boiled crime thrillers where action and chase is paramount, leaving little to the grey cells. This book provides lot of scope for readers to figure out the clues and will be liked by those who prefer the puzzle and it’s resolution as the most important component in a mystery story.

About the Reviewer : 
Born and brought up in New Delhi, Abhishek Goswami did his graduation in Science from the Delhi University and later on did PGDBA in HR. He has 17 years of work experience in reputed MNC firms and is currently working in Gurgaon. He has a keen interest in reading suspense/mystery books and mythological fiction. He has won 
the “Top 100 Inspiring Authors” and “Swami Vivekanand Seva Youth Guild” award for his first book, “The Lonely Drummer and Other Poems”. His poems have been a part of Asian Literary Society and United by Ink anthologies and also published in newspapers like The Hans India and News Now. Available as free shipping on AmazonFlipkart andNotionpress.com

Why you should necessarily follow your passion?

It is a world of millennial and we may have often heard them getting an advice from expert from previous generation – how to build your own career, branding, or how to be ahead in the race. Without any second thought you may heard giving the same usual advice “Follow your passion” it is important that the individual should follows their passion. 

I’m here to tell you that this is the best advice you’ll ever get, and therefore, you need to start paying attention to it.

1.      Money and Fame are synonymous to Success

Let’s accept this brutal fact and understand the meaning of success which drive everyone.

It is usually considered that Money and Fame are the parameters to define and derive the degree of success for an individual, but true success is not all about money. Success should be ideally defied as an achievement of your desire. You will find some people who are happier to get recognized rather than getting financial compensation. This is particularly true when it comes to work. If someone has passion, there is a possibility that money and pride will follow because the time and effort invested is with enthusiasm.

2.      Passion is important

The more enthusiastic a person is, he will be more inclined to work hard on self-improvement increasing an individual’s chances of success. He will be open to identify and discuss its strength and weakness and willing to work on it to improve further. Passion will keep the momentum going and hard-work will be paid off well.

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3.      It is never too late.

Passion has nothing to do with your age. Anytime is the best time to follow your passion. The best part is that you are lucky to find your passion. Do you think every successful person had started working on its passion from its Kindergarten? Absolutely NO. I am sure you will agree to this. There are many actors who have decided to follow its passion for acting after celebrating 50th birthday or Some decided to do stand-up comedy after investing lakhs of its parent’s money in getting engineering degree or Some decided to become a storyteller and later became a best seller after quitting their banking job.  They are an inspiration and icon for today’s generation.

4.      You will not feel like it is ever forced upon you.

There is no limit of earning money especially when you value money over your health. Work no longer becomes a journey, but more of a pain on your mind and body that has to get done.

We go to work every day with the mindset of working hard, giving our best, to get increment and promotion and you gradually begin to hate your job more and more. While others feel that they must work hard to retire and have money to enjoy, There is also no right time to retire.  What’s the point of enjoying your life in your later years when you spent your life being depressed? If you start working for your passion you will never feel like it’s ever forced upon you. You will start enjoying it.

5.      You will achieve success irrespective of any hindrance.

When you start enjoying what you do, nothing will stop you because you are unstoppable and passionate about what you do. Your passion keeps the momentum going, it helps you to come over the obstacles. Any difficulty that comes your way is acknowledged and fought off with a right solution

Think about it. After all, it’s your life, your career, your future and your happiness.

Cheers

Subrat

How to be a good storyteller?

Have you ever tried to be a storyteller in a get together with your family or friends or while travelling in a train with strangers?  Being able to tell an entertaining story seems like a terrific way for time pass and to create some impression to your audience. Even if you have tried to be a story teller, it is not necessary that you have end up telling an impressive story. Even though you know a fantastic story it seems that for most of us, the art of telling story seems to be just beyond our capacity.

Storytelling associates us and gets us in contact which is more profound than ourselves, so it’s nothing unexpected that new talent have utilized narrating to convey their very own vision for quite a long time also to build a brand image out of it.

However, one of the important question is that what makes a delightful story? And how can we become good storytellers? And if we are not a good story teller than how can we become the same.

Storytelling is not only about creating images for new talent or branding of new product in the market so that it should reach the target audience. Storytelling is also important to writers and content creators of all kinds, communicating fiction and nonfiction stories.

However, storytelling is something which we are altogether inclined towards it to some extent. Everybody has a fantasy of publishing their own book, and everybody has stories which is fantastic and never-told-before kind that characterize their lives. Believe it or not.

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Identify your audience:

We must realize that the general audience for whom we are making the story in light of the fact that it will impact your story on each dimension. If you identify your audience, then it will much easier to reach out to them with our stories and messages.

Identify the context and elaborate:

Being a storyteller, we are aware about the story, we know where our story is heading towards and how it’s going to end. It’s very important for us to set the context and elaborate more about the characters, it’s physical appearance, habits etc.

Don’t lose the grip

If you are not good at editing in real time in your mind to your thought process then it’s obvious that you will get into unwanted details which is not relevant to the stories. Such mistake will distract your audience and you will end up losing the grip of your audience.

Avoid adding unnecessary details.

The more frequently we narrate the same story, the little addition we will in general include, and as we do, those accounts float further and further far from reality of what really occurred. Inevitably, you may finish up depicting something that never happened by any means,

Notice your audience

Make sure to monitor your audience (by making eye contacts, if he is in front of you) and stay connected with them (by seeking feedback, if he is away). Keep it an interactive, if you are in front of audience. If you have a sad story to narrate, be sure that you don’t go for so long that you’re putting stress on the audience. Take your audience on an emotional journey. Make them feel your story.

Story should have unpredictable ending.

If you want your readers or listener to spend some quality time on your story then you better come up with a most unpredictable ending, does not matter if it’s little weird. A Story is good because it has a great ending not because it has an unexpected beginning. Give enough space to your audience to build an ending in their minds but make sure that your ending is different than what they can think of.

You can read one such story written by me.

Cheers!
Subrat

Book name – “And We Walked Away”

Amazon Link (Indian Buyers) – Click here

Amazon Link (Non-Indian buyers) – Click here

Amazon Kindle – Click here

Why you should travel?

Travelling is important as it transform us. By taking a break from your daily routine and your regular life style, we should travel by staying away from the technology and getting engaged in new activities.

Here are my top reasons why travel is important:

1. We get to learn and educate about new places and their history. It helps us to pick new words in a different language. We might run into a difficult or tough situation where we need to be smart and think differently. It helps you to become much smarter in a demanding situation. It helps us to Connect to other cultures and people. It helps to expand our awareness and knowledge.

2. We all are a human being not a robot. We work like a donkey and leading a fast-paced life to compete with others to sustain in market. Our body needs a break. Gives us a break from our fast lives, recharge ourselves by travelling. It helps, try it.

3. Most importantly travel help us to break various myth about new places, their culture, food and habits.  We get various “first-time” experiences during the travel which definitely make us stronger; mentally, physically, and emotionally. Travel helps us to give some time to heal which in turn reduces stress and helps us regain enthusiasm for life.

4. We get a chance to meet strangers which may lead to interact with them. It helps us to understand distinct set of people with different mindset and approach. It also helps us to improve our psychology. It helps us to get to know our self better. Something like “Rediscover our self”. Believe it or not, social networks is a real thing – in real life. Damn, I know. Establishing new connections and building a network with them is one of the smartest things you can do in today’s world.

5. Every trip will make you a better story teller. You have lots of stories to share. Who do you think people want to listen to? someone who spent his vacations at home doing cooking or watching soccer, or the one who spent a week in Goa, driving a scooty with his friend’s or doing sky diving at St. Kilda beach at Melbourne or trying some deliciously spicy food in Hyderabad? Think about it because I know which kind of story I want to hear. It creates a life time memory for your grandchildren. Believe me, you will be a best grand parent for your grand kids.

“The most magical thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back”. Today, plan your new year trip for 2020. Go somewhere new where you have never been before. Try something adventurous! Love yourself, love your life and love to spend time with yourself and family.

Cheers!
Subrat

Why the journey is more important than the destination?

The journey to any destination starts with a small step. It is always important to take the right step and learn from the wrong step. You should always enjoy the journey and keep learning from the process which you undergo during the journey.

You learn lot of lessons about life from your success as well as from your failure. It helps you to understand what didn’t work well, and what went well. However, failure gives you the strength to fight with the problems and Success helps you to be more confident and prepared. We all lose something during our journey. It makes us realize what matters the most in our life and what never did.

Most of us want to get success through a short cut but as they say, “there is no short cut to success”. But is it possible? Answer is NO. We cannot achieve anything in life without proper preparation. Have we ever observed that when we think that we are prepared to live our dream, we end up realizing that somewhat more planning is required and that readiness occurs over the span of the journey?

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We often need time for preparation. It is not a great idea to wait for a long time to do something, however we should always target to do something at the right time. You can plan your strategy, make a right plan, review, revise and execute at the right time. During the journey when it gets tougher, it makes you work harder to reach your destination.

A journey is nothing but a set of processes and you need to follow it to reach the destination. You should be sensible enough to respect and understand this process. It I always easy to reach your destination if you make all necessary move and execute all the processes as per the expectation. However, the kind of decision you take during journey will decide the fate of your success and pave the way to your destination.

Journey makes you stronger. You are more wiser and experienced at the end and ready to face another challenge in your life. At the end, when you arrive at your destination, you are a whole new person, more experienced, more mature and wiser. You understand the value of achieving that goal and simply don’t let go of it so easily.

Cheers!
Subrat Saurabh

Book Review – Undaunted by Bhaavna Arora

Book Review – Undaunted by Bhaavna Arora

Book – Undaunted

Author –  Bhaavna Arora

Page – 232

Format – Paperback

Language – English

Publisher – Westland Books

The Indian armed forces always stood as an epitome of courage, selflessness, patriotism and nation above all philosophy. The book is a real-life story of a 22 years old Lt. Ummer Fayaz of Kashmir who was brutally murdered by militants while he was on leave to attend a family function. He was one among the many from the valley who was full of life, courage and epitome of patriotism who joined the army against all odds. It is a book about a real hero which is written so well that it can inspire millions.

First, I would like to congratulate Bhaavna Arora to pen down such a brave story of a Lt. Ummer Fayaz who chose to join Indian Army despite the challenges. The book quite literally leaves one breathless at many points. The sense of pride will make you smile from ear to ear and also cry silent tears.

This book is easy to read which will take you on a journey where you will get to know about Lt. Ummer Fayaz : about his birth, his schooling, his nature, and sadly about his brutal death and also about various culture of Kashmir like the way they treat their guests, how normal civilians are living their life in valley and of course about the Indian Army.

We need more storytellers like the author who has done a lot of research to come out of this masterpiece which can help us (civilian) to understand the conditions under which these brave men fight for the Safety, honour and Welfare of our freedom.

Over all, this book is easy to read and very well written with all necessary details. I strongly believe that I am not worth enough to rate this book. I just want to say that, ‘Undaunted” is a must read. Highly recommended. It’s a book that will make you proud long after you have read it.

Read this book and know your real hero.

Amazon Link to buy the book – Click here

Flipkart Link to buy the book – Click here

Cheers!

Subrat

Silence is the most dominant shout

I am not a great listener and probably, that is the reason I am the best person to write about power of silence. Silence can sometimes be considered as an inability to speak, a sign of weakness. However, silence doesn’t have to mean that effective communication is not taking place. In fact, silence can be a powerful negotiation tool. Knowing when to stop talking and listen is just as important as knowing what to sayThis comes more naturally to some of us than to others but it’s a negotiation skill.

While in conversation allowing your counterpart to do the active talking and listening, you will end up gaining their trust and confidence in you. Your silence may even encourage the other side to reveal more than they intended. The value of quietness is significantly belittled in current society. In addition to the fact that we can’t really cherish silence, yet we likewise give our absolute best to keep away from it.

  1. The extraordinary instructor inside.

Silence is not our enemy. It helps us to become more relaxed as you don’t have to filter and process unlimited information. The ground-breaking impact of quietness can assist us with better understanding what the instructor inside us needs to say. The only thing that is in any way important is that quietness gets us closer touch with a critical wellspring of clearness and peacefulness.

2. Better Concentration.

Silence can assist us with calming down and to enter a condition of mental clearness. An impressive reaction to this expanded clearness lies in huge enhancements of your concentration. In turn, your capacity to concentrate on a given assignment will increment massively. Because of expanded concentration levels, you will end up being significantly progressively beneficial at all that you do.

3. Least bothered about insignificant things in life.

Most of us is surrounded with a variety of unimportant things in our life. These unimportant things are insignificant however, many of us place great emphasis upon them. We are not clear with our priorities, so we fall prey to worrying about things that are least important. Instead of being irritated or offended by minor occurrences, silence can give you the necessary mental strength to treat these things as they are.

4. Silence allows better delivery and understanding.

Silence allows your audience to absorb information. An audience responds in a real time and hence, you should give a pause whenever you say something important in your conversation. It helps them to absorbs and retain. A concise silence enables your audience to “absorb” your basic message in their brains.

5. Unpredictable when you speak less.

The more you talk, the more your words and information can be utilized against you later on. Talking less will influence individuals to reveal increasingly about themselves. When you listen, you find out more and you can utilize that information later. The less you say the more significant and baffling you show up. By saying less than necessary you create the impression of meaning and power.

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Leaders are often judged by what they say or do. But sometimes silence is their most effective leadership tool.

Silence can enrich communications, if used positively. It can even misfire sometime if misdirected. Silent spaces should be used to support communication and not undermine it.

Cheers!

Subrat Saurabh

5 ways to deal with failure

If Thomas Edison had stopped after his 10th failure then he would have never invented an electric bulb in his 10000th attempts.

Sometime things go as per the plan or even better than the expected but on some days, they don’t.  You commit an error, have difficulty or you essentially fall flat. It’s unpleasant. But you can’t avoid it either unless you avoid doing anything at all.

Don’t worry. It happens to all of us. We experience disappointment in different degrees. Some of us manage it well and some just give up.  Things can turn around quickly. Things will improve however before they do, you should figure out how to manage disappointment. Here are a few tips.

  1. First, just accept the failure.

When you’ve quite recently fizzled, it will undoubtedly sting. At times, a bit. In some cases, a great deal. That is OK.

Try not to attempt to push it away by diverting yourself or by endeavoring to push the duty onto whatever is left of the world

You must acknowledge the way that disappointments happen to everybody. Think about this experience as something where you can gain from it. The initial step on managing disappointment is accepting that it occurred.

2. Stop thinking about the failure

Never let the rejection get you. If it ever does, you will always think that you can never make it next time. Stop thinking about failure and don’t let this stop you from succeeding in your next endeavor. Remember, you are not a failure just because you had a setback.

Keep reminding yourself “Just because you failed today, does not mean that you will fail again”. Keep yourself engage with your hobbies.

3. Give the disappointment a chance to out,

It’s obvious to get disappointed over something you buckled down for yet neglected to accomplish. So, proceed let it out. Converse with your friends about it. Take the necessary steps to dispose of the disappointment that is bubbling up in your mind.

It accomplishes something that can facilitate your mind. Watch a favorite comedy show or go out with friends or well-wishers. You need to loosen up your mind to cope up the pressure and try to be happy.

4. Give yourself 24 hours to overcome

It’s alright to feel tragic or grieve about the failure. However, just allow yourself 24 hours to do as such. 24 hours ought to be sufficient to consider the errors and from that point onward, proceed onward. Push ahead. Begin anticipating what to do straightaway, what your next activities ought to be and what you should deal with to make progress.

5. Plan your next moves

Try not to choose not to move on. Rather endeavor to make your next step effective. You’ve learnt from your failure. Buckle down and work shrewd to make the progress. Refer the link to write down your next goals and go for it to achieve.

Cheers!

Subrat Saurabh