Showing posts with label BlogAdda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BlogAdda. Show all posts

Friday, January 29, 2016

Say Cheese!

If I were to pen a love story, it would probably be a funny one.
The reason being, I am induced to a fit of giggles whenever I am asked to do something remotely romantic. I could probably give a better sarcastic comment instead. You could say, I am The Chandler Bing of romance!

My dear husband on the other hand is a shy romantic. Yes, he's the more romantic one. Truly the better half in the world of romance. And I'm the funny one. But only when it comes to gifting, we both rock the romance boat. *giggles*

If you ask me to choose the funniest moment, it has to be from my wedding day. No, don't get me wrong.
The funniest moment so far follows a heavy moment of tension and anxiety. And NO it's not about the wedding night.

Let me share the tale:

A couple of years ago, the whole 'spontaneous-in-the-moment photography' - that is now as common as the gulab jamun in weddings - was just very new and very experiential. And to just experience the whole new fad, I had asked my family photographer to capture those emotions by showing him some similar photos. This was after our engagement ceremony. Typical to arranged marriages, we had the wedding post the couple of months of 'dating'.

One day prior to the wedding, all hell broke loose at both our houses when the news flashed:
'Mumbai Sena's Top Chief has passed away. Cremation to be held the next day'

The penny dropped. The next day was our wedding day. I gulped.
Having a wedding celebration on the very day thousands of mourners from far flung corners of Maharashtra will be bidding the final adieu to the revered and feared political chief - was a tricky tricky situation. His followers could anytime gatecrash and put a full stop to our new beginning. And moreover, the wedding hall was only 10-15 odd kilometers away from the crematorium.

Needless to say, we did a cross check of the wedding hall, the panditji and but of course husband's family and husband himself.

And in that tense moment, in one of the phone calls I had made to my then husband-to-be, tensed and worried said the sweetest romantic dialogue I will never forget:
"Come what may, we will get married tomorrow!"

The entire night I could not sleep a wink thanks to the lethal concoction of anxiety of what ill will befall tomorrow's scheme of things and anger at why has it to happen in my case?


The day finally dawned, and as expected the never sleeping Mumbai was deserted. At 6.30 am there were no cars, buses or two-wheelers on the roads. Not a soul in sight. It was like an unofficial bandh. All but our families were in the comfort of their homes, just hoping to get to the marriage hall as soon as possible. Luckily for us, our cars plied us safely to the hall. And upon arrival, I was glad to see hubby smiling his usual cool smile.

His smile had turned my frown upside down.

Morning passed with all the ceremonies (minus a lot of relatives) and we officially tied the knot by noon. Luckily there was no unwanted interference.

As expected, the well wishers and relatives' turn out was less than 25% of the number expected. And my Dad was already trying to control the damage with the caterers by limiting the quantity of food for the evening reception.

Now for the fun part:

One thing about weddings I realized after my own, is the amount of smiling one has to do. So here we were two souls, genuinely happy to be married to each other, but were not happy of the hushed happenings. The sleeplessness, the bubbling tension along with the fatigue of the long drawn wedding rituals was now showing on our faces.

And so came my brother to the rescue. With two Red Bulls.

Handing us a 'refreshing drink' right before our reception meet-and-greet programme, my sneaky brother had given us a disguised Red Bull each to drink. It was like a shot in the arm for us, quite literally, but a high intensity one. Never having tasted it in my life before, the results were stupendous for all there present to see. (I thanked there were few outside the family to witness my theatrics).

Our smiles were now broader, laughs louder, handshakes firmer, and we became more chattier. Our appetites had grown as we were oblivious to the people watching us loading our plate with all the food and eat voraciously.

And thanks to my wedding photographer, he had captured these finely embarrassing moments very nicely. We relive that funny moment in our life again and again when my daughter wants to watch the wedding video. If I may say so, it could well qualify for America's Funniest Wedding Video.

My wedding was one that all others who didn't make it to will remember of missing it. As for us, it will be highlighted by this funny moment.

Caratlane did this cute video with couples and found that funny moments are what binds a relationship. I agree, and laughing off worries together, makes a relationship stronger.

“This post is a part of #LoveAndLaughter activity at BlogAdda in association with Caratlane.”

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book Review: The Bestseller She Wrote - Ravi Subramanian

Book Title: The Bestseller She Wrote
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Pages: 391  
Genre: Thriller/Drama
Price:   Flipkart: INR 266 | Amazon: INR 180
Publisher:  Westland Ltd

Prior to reading this book, I have read and reviewed ‘God is a Gamer’ by the same author. In my opinion, it was a great read. So I was naturally inclined to read this book as well.  But it was slightly different from the genre of his earlier books - fast paced thrillers. This time, author Ravi Subramanian decided to take a shot at romance thriller kind of genre. And he does well. 

A combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption reads the by-line. And so with trepidation, I delve into the book.

One look at the book cover and one would get a hint of the story and the eventual dalliance that would unfold in the book. The cover is nice, with snapshots of the book’s trailer and is designed by Think WhyNot.

Coming to the story of the book, in short the book is all about Aditya Kapoor's life as a bestseller author how on meeting Shreya Kaushik, a bull-headed opportunistic overambitious IIM Bangalore (also Ravi Subramanian’s alma-mater ) graduate, puts his personal and professional life in turmoil and promises to wreak havoc and irreparable damage in his life. How Aditya tries to put back the pieces and find redemption is what the story is all about.

Initially, a couple of chapters down, it felt like a page out of an author's life and more so perhaps akin to a semi-autobiography. This is proven by references to real life authors like Ashwin Sanghvi and his book Private India (an attempt at cross selling, perhaps?) and even BlogAdda’s Nirav Sanghavi! And even a backhanded mention of a certain author who is concentrating more on judging Bollywood dance shows over his writing. Very cheeky, Mr. Subramanian!

Overall, the story is a potboiler, with the right mix characters, conversations, twists and turns.  The chapters are short and engross the reader, making it difficult to put the book down.

The book also gives a sneak peek into a writer’s life and in a way guides the reader of the process of writing, editing, publishing and marketing the book. For a novice writer like me- who wants to understand the nuances of the publishing world- it is like a blueprint.

There are some gems like: "A lottery gives you a better chance at success than getting a book published."

“The vestiges of the past, unless buried, will always keep cropping up and impact relationships”
“Without these bookstores, there will be no books, and without books, there will be no culture”
“In relationships, particularly those that are adulterous in nature, the first time is always the most difficult. That’s the point in time when one’s conscience makes its presence felt the most and people are consumes by regret. Once that bridge is crossed, regret is often forgotten”

All in all, this book is well written like his earlier books, Ravi Subramanian keeps the reader engaged throughout without prematurely revealing the suspense.
Special thanks to BlogAdda for sending me an author signed copy of this book!

You can take a look at the book’s trailer:

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

My 5 tips to keep my baby's skin soft

There cannot be anything softer than a baby's skin. The bundle of joy of one's lives are cute, cuddly and adorable akin to a big ball of cotton!
Who doesn't love to touch, cuddle and caress them?

No wonder, right from birth, a baby's skin needs a lot of tender love and care, just like the baby itself. As they grow up, babies starts moving around by sitting, crawling and walking - the skin transforms to become more tougher, but not as tough as an adult's skin.
It is no surprise that babies answer nature's call frequently and their stool is often loose, till a certain age. And during this time, their skin becomes wet and damp and is prone to rashes and irritation. Even with the use of cloth nappies (or langotis), their skin is prone to rashes.

This not only puts the baby at discomfort but also the mother is agonized to see the baby irritated.
Yet, one would use diapers or nappy pads till babies grow up and potty train themselves; at about 2- 2.5 years. And some babies' skin is particularly more sensitive, that just any product - be it talcum powder, oil, diaper, moisturizing creams or baby wipes - won't agree with their skin.

How do I make playtime softest for my baby's skin?

Some tips I would recommend:

1. Use of cotton clothes
By and large I make her wear clothes made of cotton. Cotton clothes are best for humid weather of Mumbai. This works best at playtime as there is a lot of movement, and cotton clothes help in the air circulation & dryness - thereby letting babies skin breathe.

2. Avoid too cold or too hot surfaces
After a bath, when my daughter is ready to play, I place her toys on an cotton quilt and make her sit there. I do this, especially during winter as floors become cooler. Sitting on a cold floor can make babies' skin can get too dry and even a tiny scratch can hurt their soft skin. During summers, I make sure she is well hydrated and keep replace her clothes if wet from sweat.

3. Discard sharp & broken toys
Sometimes babies can get hurt during playtime due to sharp and broken toys. I make sure to rid her broken toys and avoid toys with sharp edges and points. Overall, toys need to be kept clean and dry as well.

4. Apply a moisturizer
To keep her skin soft and supple in winter, I always apply a mild moisturizer to her arms and legs post her bath, to prevent her skin becoming too dry and scaly. This is best when a baby is crawling.

5. Use soft diapers
I have largely used Pampers Pant style diapers only at night time. Now as my little one is an energetic toddler, the need is more.  She is more mobile now, often running around the house during playtime and always wants to go out for a walk. So when she is in her discovery mode with a diaper on, I do not want her skin to bear the brunt.

Pampers Premium Care Pants does exactly that. These diapers from Pampers give babies the comfort to play and discover, while it does its job protecting their skin and keeping them soft.

Switch to Pampers - #SoftestForBabySkin!

"This post is a part of the Pampers #SoftestForBabySkin activity at BlogAdda

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Champ of SmartPhones

Ever watched Rocky? The movie of a boxer turned boxing champion, through the struggles and the trials and tribulations. That movie defines Sylvester Stallone as a champ. And so did the subsequent movies.

Then there is Gladiator, one of my favourite movies of all time. Russell Crowe's powerful performance in the duel scene just gave me goose bumps. The whole movie is a powerful story that shows Roman General Maximus rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the death of his family by just and fair means.

Then there are a string of movies that celebrate the victory of the victor. Those powerful movies stay within our memory for long. More so, they return to celebrate their victory once more. They are Champs.

Apparently the #ChampisBack. (No I'm not talking about Sylvester or Russell)

I'm speaking about the Champ of SmartPhones - LG NEXUS 5X - A sleek, lightweight phone that belies its powerful performance. Backed by a technologically supreme giant – Google – the Nexus 5X promises a championing all round performances of all its features.

The phone is due for release in sometime in October 2015, but here's a sneak peak of its features. In my opinion, the 3 features that set it apart from competition are as follows:

Marshmallow Android 6.0 O.S. Sweet goodness of a smooth and the latest operating system from Google.

The fingerprint sensor – A one touch fingerprint sensor to make your phone personally yours. Cool eh? And helps you keep it secure from data theft even if your phone get stolen. I’d like this, as my current phone does not have this feature. 

Primary Camera - The 12.3 MP, laser autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash camera can capture great pictures in any light thanks to 1.55µm pixel size accuracy.

I could go on and on, instead why don't you check out the champ yourself?

I am participating in the #ChampIsBack activity at BlogAdda.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Health is where the Healthy Heart is

Image source:

I have always been a chubby kid. 'Plump', 'curvy', are other adjectives that I've been called to soften the blow.  Most of my life, I've been the size that is one size larger for Zara but one size smaller for an aLL clothing. Stuck between neither here, I'm not ashamed of it, but yes there have been moments that I felt I need to get in better shape, towards the more Zara size.

So like every other female species on this earth, I have gymmed and dieted on and off, even before my wedding day. Post marriage though, everything kinda went out of balance. New place, new home, new people, new habits, new grind - I adapted to the new me. But I was not the me, that I was.

I don't blame the whole marriage experience. It's not depreciating, though I felt in the process of adapting I kinda let go of my earlier control and habits.

And then reality check hit me hard on my face as soon as I gave birth to our little one.

Post-partum I realized that I had completely let go of my body, so much so I could feel it. My earlier stamina was lost, I was more inactive or lethargic and was eating unhealthy that I had put on oodles of weight. And no it was not because of the pregnancy as most mothers tend to blame. Here I was 27, looking and feeling like 37.
I had to get rid of this state. Any more delay and I would not recognize the woman staring back at me in the mirror. 

I am fixed on my resolve and have already started on making habitual changes, I took up the Saffola Weight-Heart Test.

Keying in a few metrics, I realized how much an extra few kilos can affect the health of my heart and my risk to Cardio Vasular Diseases.

The SaffolaLite Weight Heart test interface

The Results!

Like a kid who damn sure of flunking and is terrified of knowing the results, I was nervous. I found out that I had 13% risk for CVDs and needed to lose 3 inches to ward off that risk.

Saffola highlights some astonishing facts on Women and their hearts

And here I was under the popular notion that heart diseases are genetically for men, not women. 

I shared the results with my hubby. He was intrigued by this test and wanted to check it out for himself. This test was an eye opener for both of us on how our weights are affecting the health of our hearts.

We want to work towards our happily and healthily ever after. We want to be there for our daughter in all the milestones in life and not be struck off the earth as early as mid forties by a heart attack. The thought is simply indigestible. Not happening!

With a firm resolve my hubby and I pledge the following to #ProtectMyHeart and #ProtectHisHeart:

  1. To walk for an hour, if not at least 30 minutes daily. No excuses.
  2. To reduce our sugar intake. (I've incorporated Lipton Green Tea in my diet, and R has dropped one cup of tea from his.)
  3. To reduce fast food intake to once a week, not exceeding 400 calories in a day. (Considering our cravings for junk) That's one samosa or one KFC Chicken Zinger Burger only once a week.
  4. To switch to rice bran oil for home.
  5. More protein that carbs in our diets. 

To push it further, we're using tools on our mobile device through apps to keep a check on our progress:

  • For walking, I find using a pedometer through Google Fit app is really handy.
  • For diet, I maintain a chart of what I ate through HealthifyMe app.

This how we are making the first step. It's going to be a long journey together, but as they say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - this is our first step to a healthy life together.

Image source:

“I am joining the Saffolalife #ProtectHerHeart initiative and pledging my support to better heart health in Association with BlogAdda.”

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

For the #WIN15 - The Event, An Experience & MY Achievement

In my almost 7 odd years of blogging (though not so regular) there has not been an awesome-r moment to witness my own contribution to a book being launched in front of a whole audience of veteran and renowned bloggers at WIN 15 (Write. Inspire. Network) 2015 an annual event by entered its second year and I was going to be a part of one of the the biggest events in the blogosphere - A book launch by bloggers!
I just could not miss this for the world!

So on 20th September 2015 - Blogadda's WIN15 happened, and let me take you through the event in pictures:

Yummy breakfast at the venue JW Sahar, Airport, Mumbai
Tagged and Ready for the conference.
Care for a fortune cookie? 

That's my fortune for the day! Nice touch BlogAdda!

The BlogAdda WIN15 Stage at JW Mariott Sahar, Mumbai
The poster of the Teams winning the Game of Blogs right outside the conference room.
My team is Team Tete-A-Ten.
A closeup of my Team and my Teammates.

The Master of Ceremonies and Master of Energy of the day
building up the momentum with his dramatic entry to the stage.

A lot of interesting sessions and with various topics at WIN15.
Sessions started with Lakshmi Pratury, Host & Curator of INK Conference on the aspects of storytelling. Next up Rezwan Islam talking about the influence of blogging and social media in current affairs of Bangladesh, followed by Ajay Jain; who wooed the audience with his charisma and travel mantra. Sure had me almost hook, line and sinker to take up Jordan as my next destination. He explained how a day in his life goes. Anaggh Desai (the God ) and Aditya Magal (the fake jhunjhunwalla on twitter) had a tete-a-tete that had all of us rollicking in laughter. Prashant Challapalli, Shrutijith K and Calamur delved more into the media aspects of social media and blogging.

After many sessions, the eminent speakers congregate for a photo op and receive their mementos.
Say Cheese!
 And then we break for lunch - 100% Pure Vegetarian!

The Indian fare I sampled - Dal was the bomb!

Vegetarian Sushi - A first for me!

Dessert Platter

Post a filling lunch, the workshop on Food Blogging
by Archana Doshi of Archana's Kitchen

The session with Suchitra Krishnamoorthy and Natasha Badhwar

The Pièce De Résistance of the evening, the book launch.

The GameOfBlogs book launch was the highlight of my evening. It was no lesser than an academy award ceremony for me as I stepped on stage for the unveiling of the book. I was rubbing shoulders with Writer Natasha Badhawar, Actor-Singer Suchitra Krishnnamoorthy, the representative of LeadStart Publishing and the CEO of BlogAdda, Nirav Sanghvi plus the writers of the other teams and it was oh so surreal!
We were handed a copy each and were asked to sign it. My first ever book signing!
A few words were exchanged with the audience and then I had it in my hand: My very First Book

All that transpired on that day was awesome to say the least. I learnt a lot of tips and tricks, met many like minded bloggers, savoured some good food and enjoyed the event.
Looking forward to the next WIN!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Merawala Sea Breeze?

Do you remember the Asian Paintsadvertisement a couple of years back?

That hugely popular ad showed how a married couple traversed through the desert to lay hands on a Rajasthani man's powder blue colour pagdi, only because the wife loved its rich colour. When the befuddled man refused to part with it, the couple took their chance to snag it when he had gone for a dip in the river. To which the lady exclaims "Merawala Blue", leaving the Rajasthani man sporting the husband's chic beret.

Yet, I could not correctly visualize my vivid colours in the contrast of my now beige and boring wall.
I wish there was a tool to virtually guide me to take the decision of a colour splash on my beige boredom. I was searching for merawala colour guide!

I had the very same crazy moment when we were renovating my home. I love colours that stand out but do not overpower the overall look and feel of a room. So while renovating we had a plethora of options to choose from! From which colour floor tiles should match the shower curtain to which pillow cushions should complement the display wall in the living room - I was seeing colours!

Bed Bath and More have come up with this unique concept of viewing how your home will look like after it has be painted. So you can visualize how your virtually painted home will look like even before a drop of paint touches the wall.

This ingenious tool is called the PaintFinder.

  1. Go to #PaintFinder tool on the Bed Bath and More website.
  2. Click on your choice of shade of paint from the drop-downIt will show you various shade options available.
  3. Now click on any shade in the palette. (I clicked Sea Breeze)
  4. Choose any virtual room. You can also see the same colour for all the other rooms in the display.
  5. Preview a large snapshot of the room.
  6. Shortlist upto 3 shades and order your shade card. And you're done!
Bed Bath and More have an introductory offer running to get your colour shade card delivered to your doorstep for FREE!
Bed Bath and More Paint Finder
How my Bathroom will look in the PaintFinder
Bed Bath and More Paint Finder
Preview how your room would appear in the PaintFinder tool.
Bed Bath and More Paint Finder
The handy Paint calculator 

The PaintFinder sports a handy paint calculator, Key in the metrics in the calculator to evaluate how much cost it would run up to paint your home.

So goodbye cold wars from disagreements on paint colours and shades. And Hello to the PaintFinder from Bed Bath and More to visualize and colour your imagination into your home.

“I am participating in the #PaintFinder activity in Association with BlogAdda &; Bed Bath & More

Thursday, September 24, 2015

One piece of #SachchiAdvice for LIFE

Generally, people are not really great givers. But when it comes to giving advice, people love to give it. More so, people give advice better than following it.

I have been on the receiving end of many such sermons and pieces of wisdom from time to time in my life. Be it from my parents, peers, friends, distant relatives, close relatives, acquaintances; I have even received advice from remote strangers that I barely know.

Yet, there is a common thread between all of the genuine advises I've received; is that they care about you. And that's why they give advice.

Of all the pieces of advice we receive, there is always one or more nugget of wisdom that makes a permanent imprint on our soul. One powerful phrase; that one one small kernel of avuncular wisdom that we're set to carry forward with us in the rest of our life.

And here, let me share my piece of advice:
It was the time when I was completing my degree. I was staying away from home, loving the independence, yet within the reach of my parents. One result day, I was shell-shocked to receive a setback or what engineers call - an ATKT. (Allowed to Keep Term; a second chance given when one fails a subject in engineering)
My entire world had collapsed. It was a huge deal for me, as I had NEVER failed, well, before that day. Even so, I had sworn to myself at the beginning of the course, that I shall give my hundred percent and will not blemish my academic record. But, it had just happened, without any warning. What's more, is that I had less than a month to clear the re-exam along with the other upcoming exams.

That day I returned home- in no mood to enjoy my freedom and independence- earnest to yearn that much needed comfort and solace of my loved ones. I was sad, in no mood to interact. It was almost bedtime, when my dad sensed me out of my usual self- all tired and weary from work - asked me to sit down and have a talk with him, He told me to spill what was in my heart. 
I blinked back tears, all composure lost and said "I have failed, Dad." I hung my head low, unable to meet him in the eye. To me my dad is my academic hero - always among the first of the class and took matters of academics very seriously. And was strict.

A moment had passed.

"So what?" he said. Bewildered, I immediately looked up at him straight in the eye of his ludicrous comment. "It's okay, Gauri" he smiled and said, "This too shall pass"

I looked at him with intrigue of not being admonished, but being met with understanding and yearned to know the explanation of those four words. Sensing my curiosity, my dad went on to tell me a story of a King and his Kingdom. Here's the story in a nutshell:

There was a King who was in search of a single answer to all situations and called the wise men of his kingdom to seek the answer. A wizened old man wrote the answer on a piece of paper, but asked the King to only read it when he is in extreme danger and not otherwise.
After this event, the King's kingdom was attacked by his enemies so brutally that he had fled by the skin of his teeth. Cornered and alone,  in that moment the King remembered the old man and read his answer - "This too shall pass" - was all that was written. 
This made the King realize that sorrow or danger is only but for a moment and it will pass.

He returned to his Kingdom and later gathered his men again and this time he annihilated the enemy.. Basking in the glory of victory in his kingdom, he suddenly thought he was the greatest king ever. Then his attention drew back to the old man's answer. He reflected again "This too shall pass" was the answer he sought. Even happiness and life's riches are short lived and is not permanent.

The King had finally found life's answer.

"THIS TOO SHALL PASS" - This piece of advice that made a huge difference in my life. That day was a complete turnover for me. Of course I cleared the re-exam, rejoiced in the celebrations of completing my course and went on with life. Yet I remember this piece of golden wisdom that my dear father had given me, in every difficulty I faced and will face; and in every victory I enjoy and will enjoy.

I could now recall how he must have drawn strength and gone through with life when he faced difficulties and sought the drive to go on. And it is now my turn to move ahead.

This was my piece of #SacchiAdvice. But this advice is not to be kept with oneself. Like Grandma's wisdom, it needs to be passed on from one generation to the next. 

“I am participating in the #SachchiAdvice Contest by MaxLife in Association with BlogAdda.”

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

I don't know where to start. As I reflect back on the 25 years with you, I literally have tears in my eyes. Where do I start? No memory can be more beautiful than the other. I cherish each and every lovely memory I have with you till date. 

Should I ask you to remember the lavish party you threw when I was born? Or should I ask you to remember the time when you refused to hold me for the first time ever after I was born, only because you had a cold that day? 
Shall I ask you to reminisce the time you scolded me while teaching me to ride the bicycle? And then gradually pushing me to drive a car and ride a scooter.
Or how about the time you helped me ace my maths exam in high school; when I was petrified of it?
Can you remember the time I lost your favourite umbrella in an autorickshaw? And yet you didn't say anything but you gave me your other one.
Or shall I remind you the countless times you used to drop me to school in the car when I missed the bus? Even when
Let me remind you of the countless times I waited for your return from your foreign trips bringing me a memento or a gift each time? I still remember you basking in the smile on my face.
In school, do you remember fighting against a teacher’s wrong for me? I admired the power of your writing then.
In college, when I was staying away from home, do you remember the time you and mom took me to the doc when I was too sick with fever to get up?
When I grew up, do you remember you the time I forgot my exam hallticket at home? You rushed to the exam hall and got it for me. And the countless times you backed me even when I was in trouble.

Dad, with tight hug, I want to thank you with all my heart-

For the education you gave me
For the opportunities you gave me
For making me independent
For the values you gave me
For always being my guide
For the friendship we share
For the always treated me as an equal.
For giving me my freedom to make my choices
For supporting me through and through
For trusting me completely
For making me strong, just like you.

I will always always always always love you.

- Your Gondi Gauri

“This father’s day, I am expressing my love towards my dad by participating in the #HugYourDad activity at BlogAdda in association with Vicks.”

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Review: Ramayana - The Game of Life (Shattered Dreams)

Book Title:
 Ramayana - The Game of Life (Shattered Dreams) Book 2
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Edition: 2015
Pages: 387
Price: Rs 350

To be honest, I haven't read the original Ramayana in its entirety. I can recall reading the adapted form of Ramayana in an illustrated version of the Amar Chitra Katha series way back in school.

I am no epics or sacred texts buff, but when BlogAdda asked me to review this book, I felt like signing up for something that is different from my usual choice in books - Fiction.

On first look the illustration on the cover of the book is nice. So I began reading this as soon as I received it. Mind you, it took me time to read it. The author's note appealed to me, when she wrote - 'Have you ever wondered if the age old epics hold any immediate relevance to our lives?’

This book is the second book in the series. The previous one being Ramayana - The Game of Life (The Rise of the Sun Prince ) Book 1 talked about the events prior to Lord Rama and ended with his marriage to Sita.

The book starts with the narration of King Dasaratha and his decision to change the fate of Ayodhya. In subsequent chapters, it talks about Ravana's life and his conquests. And with Manthara's sinister plot, the drama intensifies. Later talks about Bharata's journey after Rama's exile and Dasaratha's death.

Each and every page of this book contains footnotes. In every such footnote is a teaching, which one could sit back and ponder upon after reading through the page narrative. 
For instance - 'An unprotected and unpredictable mind is like an open pot of nectar. One blob of poison dropped into it will ruin all the nectar'

More learnings from the book include on how to handle reversals positively, to handle temptation, to explore beyond our comfort zone and with due emphasis on how human relationships work and importantly how they fail.

On reading this book, on realises the depth of knowledge our ancient texts have and why we needn't look anywhere else to find motivation and value addition to our lives.

The book is narrated beautifully and lucidly with the right emphasis and details of the thought processes of the characters. Through and through this book is a keeper to impart knowledge from our sacred text. 

For me this was a revelation of sorts. I found this to be an authentic rendition of The Ramayana.

Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand and apply the learnings of The Ramayana in one's day to day life. Even if we did not have the advantage of grandparents or parents eloquently narrating this epic tale to us, this book can help us understand The Ramayana.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Review: God is a Gamer

Hello there! Festive October is nearly over, and before we move on to chilly November, I thought I'll quickly squeeze in a book review.

Book: 'God is a Gamer'
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 337 pages
Genre: Thriller

This is my first book review of the book by the renowned Ravi Subramanian. 'God is a Gamer' is his latest offering after the best selling series of books namely 'If God Was a Banker', 'Bankster'. If you jump at the mention of gaming, bitcoins, cyber laws, the deep dark mysteries of the internet as a whole, this book is for you and you are bound to like it.

Book cover: Bitcoin and the White House can be clearly understood. Nice artwork.

Here is the short brief, without giving away the climax of course.
The action takes place in current times in various major cities across the world. Cities like Washington DC, New York, Mumbai, Goa are featured in the story. A gaming company run by Aditya is struggling to find ground among competition. Varun, Aditya's estranged son  suddenly emerges to help his dad in his business. LTTE spreads terror in the US and FBI is called to the action. An serial ATM heist ensures FBI agents are led on a wild goose chase. Suspected murders of key people – a US Senator, high prolific banker and more - take place; some linked to each other, some not. However, there is more that meets the eye in the world of the internet – it's dark side. Finding the tiniest bread crumb of evidence in the depths of the dark web is nothing short of finding a needle in the proverbial haystack.

The plot thickens with twists and turns at all the right places. The characters of the story come together beautifully in one seamless plot. The author has left no stone unturned to make it a page-turner. Made me even Google some of the facts and my, was I surprised !

Pluses: The author has well researched some facts and events and woven it beautifully into the plot. Some events coinciding with recent events that happened of late.

Minus: Initally, the pace of the story is slow but picks up later. Also, introduction of many characters at a time can make it difficult to keep track. Few chapters before the end, you can somewhat accurately guess the mastermind behind the killings, but perhaps not the reason behind it. The reason behind has a backstory.

Would I recommend it? Yes ! Must read.

Overall this is a pacy thriller with all the elements of romantic past, scandal, revenge, terror, drugs, sex and money. God is a Gamer is an engaging story with page turning short chapters. Would love to also read and review the other books in the series written. Mr. Ravi Subramanian, you've got a fan !

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Missing (Part 22)

This is the twenty-second part of the short story that I am writing in collaboration with other bloggers on Blogadda. Our team is 'Tete-a-ten'. Read the previous parts here: onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnine,teneleventwelvethirteenfourteenfifteen sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteentwenty and twenty one

Cloud 9 Hospital


Veda replaced the receiver and looking at Dr. Sneha Phadnis said, “Madam, Doctor says he’ll schedule an appointment for tomo-“

 “Look here now, I need to talk to him!” Dr Sneha Phadnis cut her short and spoke loudly but with desperation in her voice.

“Madam, madam please have a seat. I’ll be right back” said Veda as she left the reception, trying to get help from another nurse to handle the situation.

Reluctantly, Dr. Sneha sat in one of the sofas near the counter. She pondered her next step to trace Aryan Ahuja. Within moments, another nurse walked in balancing stack full of folders and files in both hands.
She placed some files on the counter and said, “These are Dr. Ahuja’s cases. File it inside.” She was too busy to pay attention at the unmanned reception counter.

Dr. Sneha noticed the nurse leaving the files on the counter. She stared at the files and wondered if they have Aryan Ahuja’s contact details. She felt tempted to see those files and carefully unlatched one of them. On the top corner of the letterhead she noticed the Cloud 9 hospital address and below it she saw another address. ‘Aryan Ahuja must be running a consultation clinic from another address as well.’ She thought and smiled when she spotted the apartment number in the address. ‘What Luck!’ It was indeed Dr Aryan Ahuja’s home address.

Acting swiftly, she plopped out her phone and clicked a photo of the address. Wasting no more time, she placed the file back onto the counter and rushed out. The fatigue of the traveling, the drama was now replaced with excitement and anxiousness. There was a spring in every step she took as she dashed out of the hospital. Beaming with new sense of excitement she hailed a cab and headed off to complete what was missing in her life.


Meanwhile the receptionist returned to her desk to find Dr Sneha Phadnis gone.

“Madam? Madam!” She looked around the place, inside the consultation room, the corridor- but Dr Sneha was nowhere to be found. “Oh God” exclaimed a panicked Veda.


Seated in the cab, Dr. Sneha was now lost in thought. She reminisced her long dates with Aryan back in medical school. There they perched in the campus canteen sipping on cinnamon tea and chatted endlessly which would melt away all their daily fatigue. She still remembered his smile, one that reached his eyes. His eyes, sparkling with intellect. Despite the hectic med school schedule, they talked, and when they did, hours seemed like minutes.

'Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel? 

Why, now let me die,  for I have lived long enough’

Missing 22

She had blushed to a shade of crimson as he quoted Shakespeare to her looking into her eyes, after they had made love on one such night. Days passed and nights passed. And then came one such day where he quoted Shakespeare again:

‘This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,

May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.’

Aryan had quoted as they parted ways after medical school. And how Sneha's eyes showed exasperation when he said he was not ready to commit and that she was not ready to ask him to. It seemed like a professional decision, her choosing Psychiatry while him choosing Paediatrics as a specialization. But back then Sneha did not realize how bitter the end would seem in the following years.

Over the years she had learned to live with the tinge of regret of what could have been with the love of her life.  She pondered over the fact of him getting married and settling down to someone else. There was always a chance that he wouldn't. What would his reaction be? How would he look? Why didn't he try to find her? Oh, never did a day go by she wished he would tap on her shoulder and say-

“Madam! Madam, aapka building aa gaya!”

The cab driver’s yell shook Dr Sneha from her reverie and she was brought back to her present. She paid the cab fare and stepped outside. She composed herself and became conscious of how she was dressed. She adjusted her kurta, smoothed her hair and checked her compact mirror for her mascara. Pressing her flame like bindi in place on her forehead with one hand she pressed 9 with the other and Beethoven’s Für Elise filled the elevator. Seconds later, she was going to be outside Dr. Aryan Ahuja’s residence.

Read Part 23 HERE

My team and I are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us!

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