Nizwa Fort


Savio gestured onto the countryside, “Did you know that till a century back, the Sultan’s writ ran only in and around Muscat? The hinterland was really under the control of the Imam and his capital was Nizwa”.

“Would you believe me if I were to say that this fort and its design is based on deception? Right from its turrets, secret shafts, false doors to camouflaged wells. There are hidden wooden doors with metal spikes as also murder holes and shafts above each of the real doors through which boiling oil or date syrup could be poured on intruders. There were pitfalls in dark passageways as also removable wooden stairs with deep gaping holes to put an end to those unfortunate enough to fall into them”.

Savio stopped for a moment and glanced sideways at Anjan.

Nizwa Fort, built in the 1650s, features in the story, ‘Fault Lines’, part of my forthcoming book ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’. Should you wish to receive exclusive previews and the chance of winning a free copy of the book, do write to me @ author.esgee@gmail.com

Nizwa Fort, Oman
Nizwa Fort inside
Nizwa Fort library room
Nizwa Fort plan

September 2020 Challenge


An exciting news for all ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly’ fans.

Time to win three to five book copies free.

Read the following line from the book

“What could be behind you taking this trip today and me telling you this tale?” asks the Chronicler.

Now allow your creative imagination to think of a word, a phrase or a line which resonates with the above, for you. It need not have any relevance to the book.

Send the above to me by replying on this forum or through email to : author.esgee@gmail.com

Share this post to your friends and groups.

Last date of entry 30th September 2020.

Winners would be announced after the contest ends.

Ghantewala @ Chandni Chowk, Delhi


Once when the emperor was going through Chandni Chowk, my predecessor offered sweets to the royal entourage as well as to the Emperor’s elephant”, said the shop keeper.

“And what did the elephant do?”, asked the children in unison.

 “Oh! It was a very intelligent elephant and he liked our sweets very much. So after that day, every time the royal procession would come this way, the elephant would stop in front of our shop, shake its head and refuse to move on till it was offered sweets. The bells hanging from its neck would keep on ringing till it finished the sweets. This is how we got our name”.

Did you know that the Ghantewala Halwai, iconic sweet shop in Chandni Chowk, Delhi: Set up in 1790 AD, it is arguably the oldest running sweet shop in Inda. It has catered to Mughal Emperors, Presidents and Prime Ministers….

Ghantewala Halwai features in the story, ‘Ashtami’ , part of my forthcoming book  ‘ The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’. Should you wish to receive exclusive previews and the chance of winning a free copy of the book, do write to me @ author.esgee@gmail.com

Fort William Calcutta


Did you know that there were two Fort Williams?

 The original fort was built in the year 1696 by the British East India Company under the orders of Sir John Goldsborough which took a decade to complete. The permission was granted by Mughal Emperor AurangzebSir Charles Eyre started construction near the bank of the Hooghly River with the South-East Bastion and the adjacent walls. It was named after King William III in 1700. 

The original building had two stories and projecting wings. In 1756, the Nawab of BengalSiraj Ud Daulah, attacked the Fort and temporarily conquered the city. This led the British to build a new and a more defensive Fort in the Maidan. based on Robert Clive’s directive. The new Fort William was built with open spaces on all sides to allow 360 degree visibility of any approaching enemy.

Fort William features in the story ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly’ part of my forthcoming book of the same name. Should you wish to receive exclusive previews and free copy of the book, do write to me @ author.esgee@gmail.com

Fault Lines


Admitted to the hospital with  severe injuries from a gas explosion, Anjan keeps meeting Savio, a friend from his childhood. In the interactions, Savio holds up the moral mirror for Anjan to come face to face with the private demons from his past.

The explosion unearths a long lost letter which explodes his relationship with his wife Jaya.

“From Jaya’s diary: What do you say when all that which gave meaning to your life lie broken and anguished in the space-time continuum which was once your own?”

Fault Lines is part of my forthcoming book, ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’. Should you wish to receive exclusive previews and the chance of winning a free copy of the book, do write to me @ author.esgee@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/author.shaktighosal

Ashtami


In Ashtami Sujit, a Junior Clerk in the British administration in Calcutta, with his young wife Bina, is forced to migrate to distant and dusty Delhi as the capital of the British Raj shifts. Shanti, born of a forcep delivery process gone horribly wrong, comes into their lives, physically and mentally challenged.

“Shanti sat there in the engulfing darkness desperately holding his dying brother’s hand. A low pitched moan emanated from him; a sound of utter helplessness that ricocheted on the closed doors and windows of the nearby houses, and failing to open them, got lost into the night…”.

Ashtami is part of my forthcoming book, ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’. Should you wish to receive exclusive previews and the chance of winning a free copy of the book, do write to me @ author.esgee@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/author.shaktighosal

Viceroy’s House and the Secretariat Building on Raisina Hill, New Delhi

Pandemic


In the Pandemic, the events span a century between the pandemics of 1919 to 2020; between Dipen and Indranil who have a tenuous link over four generations and arising from an old and decrepit palace and its Shiva linga.

When confronted by tragedy, the vastly different societal conditioning and development of a hundred years, cannot detract from the eerily similar impact.

“The pandemic did go away. But it left in its wake corpses, both dead and living”.

The above is a blurb from Pandemic, one of the four stories of my forthcoming book, ” The Chronicler of the Hooghly”.

 Should you wish to receive exclusive previews and free copy of the book, do write to me @ author.esgee@gmail.com.

https://www.facebook.com/author.shaktighosal

The Chronicler of the Hooghly


When Samir embarks on a sunset cruise to ‘get away from it all’, he had not bargained on meeting the enigmatic Chronicler. As the Cruise travels up the Hoogly, the Chronicler travels with Samir through two and a half centuries of events, surrounding the curse of a fabled pearl necklace, as mentioned by his dying mother.“The Hooghly has seen it all. The ebbs and flows of history as well as life itself. From the greatest betrayal in History to becoming the crown jewel of the biggest colonial empire the world has ever seen….”.

The above is a blurb from one of the four stories of my forthcoming book, ” The Chronicler of the Hooghly”.

 Should you wish to receive exclusive previews and free copy of the book, do write to me @ author.esgee@gmail.com.

https://www.facebook.com/author.shaktighosal

The Chronicler tales


At my ripe age and stage in life, I have finally achieved what I have been wanting to do for the last couple of decades. Which is author a book.
The book, a collection of four stories, is my maiden foray into the world of fiction. ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories” is currently under publication.
I seek guidance and good wishes of all my acquaintances. As a start may I request you to visit my Author Page on Facebook, like, comment and share it.

https://www.facebook.com/author.shaktighosal

The Three Horizons- How to pattern the future


The Three Horizon methodology was developed by Bill Sharpe to provide a simple framework to envision the future and how to engage in constructive conversations about how to achieve that future, This becomes all the more critical in an environment which is uncertain and complex.

The three Horizons framework, to me, is a powerful reboot tool which we need to keep in our toolbox for an environment that we are currently into.. It allows us to coordinate disruptive innovations and create transformative change which has the best chance to succeed.

As per the methodology, envisioning the future always needs to deal with three horizons at play, which are always there, with the capacity to impact the future.

Y Axis is the dominant thinking or WorldView.

The first horizon ‘H1’ is all about how business is done at present, but there is something in it which is not fit for the future. It thus contains the seed of its own demise over a period of time.

The third horizon ‘H3’ is the future we desire and there do exist green shoots of that today. We would like them to grow and become the predominant way of doing business in future, replacing and improving upon H1.

The second horizon ‘H2’ is the most interesting space as this is where disruptive innovation takes place. Disruption can take many forms. It could be technology fueled like the Electric car, it could be event fueled like the current COVID19 pandemic or it could socially fueled like Occupy. Disruptions usually lead to innovations, new ways of Doing or Being. The opportunity of change actually exists in the space between the crests of H1 and H3.

The key question would be, “How would the disruptive innovation effect the transformation between H1 and H3?” To answer this, we will take the example of the current predominant transportation technology using the  Internal Combustion engine. This is a H1 model which has survived over a century with its negative impact of Carbon footprint and Climate Change.

Now let us look at the disruptive innovation of Hybrid Technology. This technology actually is the creation of the old world H1 horizon. The problems of H1 are somewhat reduced in this innovation but remain; they in fact get accentuated by addition of another layer of technology on top of the existing one with suboptimal utilisation of either of them. This is called the “H2-” innovation as it is captured by old dominant structures to extend the life of H1 horizon. Why we are using the word ‘capture’ here is because its innovative energy is not being used to help the H3 horizon to emerge.

In contrast now let us consider the same disruptive innovation technology but now paired with the H3 horizon, to support the emerging future to emerge and help to hasten the decline of H1. It would be the pure Electric car technology of Tesla, which essentially is a transformative exercise of building some kind of a computer on wheels; it is envisaging the future ground up. This is called “H2+”.

For the 3 Horizons Reboot tool to be effective, we need to do an enquiry based on three questions:

  1. What is being born and how could we support it emerge and succeed?
  2. What is dying and how can we help it to let go?
  3. What is being disrupted and how can we harness it as in H2+, not be captured as in H2- ?

Enquiry questions for conversation about how to achieve the future:

H1 Horizon :

What is business as usual, the key characteristics of the prevailing system?

How did we get here, what values, cultures, regulations, events led to this?

Why do we believe it is failing its purpose and no longer a good fit? How fast do we want to see its decline?

Is there anything about the old system that we would wish to retain rather than lose?

H3 Horizon:

What is the future that we would like to bring about, its key characteristics, how it looks like, feels like to be there?

What are the green shoots of that future visible in the present?

Whose ideas and work are the present possibilities built on? What history, values, culture are they embedded upon?

How can the possibilities be scaled and spread?

What are the competing visions of the future being pursued by others? Can we collaborate with them or are these essentially competing visions? If the latter, how do we prevent their vision from derailing ours?

H2 Horizon:

What is being disruptive in terms of technology, social, economic, ecological and cultural aspects? What are the roots of those disruptions? For each of those identified, what would it look like if captured as in H1-? Or harnessed as in H2+? What could be strategically done to ensure it is harnessed?

If you are a disruptive actor viz, Tech. Innovator, social movement etc. what kind of guidance can you set for yourself to ensure that your disruption is harnessed under H3 ( H2+) rather than captured under H1 )H1-)? What allies will you seek, what actions will you take, how will you assess potential offers of collaboration or finance?

In Learning…..

Shakti Ghosal

Acknowledgements :

  1. Three Horizons : A Pathways practice for Transformation by Bill Sharpe, Anthony Hodgeson et al , Ecology and Society, June 2016. https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol21/iss2/art47/
  2. Three Horizons : Partnering of Hope by Bill Sharpe, Sept.2013