Saturday, December 31, 2016

#530 : Day Ninety Nine -The Note (Part 2)

Althaf wiped the sweat from his brow. His chocolate brown eyes looked glazed and hypnotized. He took out a sheet of paper from his briefcase and began to write something on it. In spite of his hurried demeanor, his writing seemed patient. He finished writing one side of the sheet and folded it with care before placing it inside a CD case from his suitcase. He then took out another sheet of paper and began writing. This time he seemed to be in a hurry, but that hadn't impacted the quality of writing one bit. He finished writing and folded the paper with an audible sigh before placing it inside his pant pocket. He took out a small vial from his shirt pocked and popped in pills from it, polishing it off with a swing of water from the bottle on the table. His hurried and huffed demeanor was gone. He looked at peace with himself. With a sad smile he rested his head over the table.

Gita paused the video which showed Althaf finally resting his head over the table. This was the CCTV footage from inside the conference room. It took all her might not to howl out loud and cry. Ramesh, their mentor smelled something morbidly wrong and had hid the briefcase from the police the night he discovered Althaf's body. He very well knew tampering with evidence in a criminal proceeding would have it's consequence, but he knew too well that the cops would simply close the case if the right palms were greased. After all, he had done the same to ensure that this CCTV footage wasn't pulled by the cops for investigation. He wanted to have an iron clad case ready before he went to the cops. He had shared the knowledge about the suitcase with Gita, who was vehemently against opening it and looking at the CD. She wanted to turn it over to the police. However, the CD case was what perplexed both of them the most. It was the era of pen drives and cloud storage. A person as tech savvy as Althaf wasn't surely going to use a CD drive.

After much deliberation, Gita decided to comb down Althaf's laptop, the one at work and his personal one as well. Suspiciously, both his laptops were clean and devoid of any personal files in the form of photos or documents. Evidently, he had planned his suicide well. With the help of her tech friend from school, Gita retrieved all data that he had wiped out. What she found was beyond shocking. He had GBs and GBs of CCTV footage all pulled from office cameras. Watching them made her boil with rage.

A woman stood near the table unbuttoning her shirt. She had cropped hair and a buxom figure. A man who was almost the same height of her stood rigidly before her, hiding her face from the view of the CCTV camera. She pulled the man's tie and brought him closer to her. He resisted and stepped back. She again pulled him closer while slapping his butt. He resisted again and stumbled back. She pulled him closer and slapped him hard on his face. She then grabbed a paper from the desk and began waving it to his face. It seemed that she was shouting. The man look dejected and slumped on to the chair. He covered his face with his hand and sat that way for a while. The woman buttoned up her shirt and sat on the chair opposite to him.

Gita paused the video. It was hard watching a man being so balantly abused. She played another video which showed another man being slapped and abused by the same woman. There were 58 such videos all showing the same woman trying to sexually coerce men.

By now the men in the room had begun to shift in their seats. What they saw was opposite of what they had expected Gita to bring to the table. Raghu cleared his throat. With a lush mop of silver grey hair, he was the picture perfect aged senior part of the firm. When Althaf died his conscience had pricked. He thought his overbearing nature and sky high expectation had driven Althaf to commit suicide. He had half anticipated Gita to raise the issue of Althaf's work load pointing him to be the reason for his untimely death. He was beyond shocked when Gita brought altogether a different issue to the table.

"Gita, if I may ask, did you know of this earlier? You and Althaf, you guys were a couple right? Didn't he talk to you about this earlier" he asked.

Note : Part 3 will be up soon Till then, Happy New Year Folks!
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Friday, December 30, 2016

#529 : Day Ninety Eight - What do I write about?

I've blogged about everything under the moon, posted photos and bored people to death for ninety seven days straight. Today, I've been officially hit by writer's block. I started writing a story to be posted today. I hadn't finished what I started the other day (The Note). Sadly, I stopped after writing first three words. I badly wanted to finish the story today. I hate living things incomplete and this story has been left hanging for a long time now. So I decided to tackle things the only way I know to, break it up into parts and make a list. A list is what always gets me out of a rut. I have thrown away enough papers with little lists. My work laptop has lists plastered over the desktop digitally. I can't live without them. Here is the list I made to complete the story,



  1. Althaf's death - Proven suicide - Look for angles to convert into a murder

  2. Chronicle Althaf's life before suicide - Clues leading to murder

  3. Bring in two negative characters

  4. Prove one to be real negative

  5. Darn it!


Evidently, a story cannot be made into a list. Dear block, it's high time you went away and let me complete what I started.


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Thursday, December 29, 2016

#528 : Day Ninety Seven - Books of 2016!

Another year has gone by and my TBR is still sky high. Just like every other year, I managed to read my head off to a certain extent. However, due to a lot of personal commitments in the form of masters degree exams and my wedding, I really couldn't read as much as I would like to have. Goodreads tells me I've managed to read about 89 books this year. So here are some highlights of the year,



  1.  Thanks to my friend Bragadeesh Prasanna from the CBC, I've discovered the bliss in reading Neil Gaiman's works, though I am yet to complete reading the one book of his I started - Trigger warning. Since he introduced me to Gaiman, I've been on a hunt, searching and reading his essays, which I find more enticing than his book that I'm reading midway.

  2. The other gem of a writer I seemed to have missed out till date was Satyajit Ray. Thanks to Mahesh from CBC for loaning out "The Mystery of Monroe Island and other stories".

  3. Humor/Satire was one genre I avoided unconsciously. I've never possessed the temperament to complete reading a Wodehouse novel. This year that kind of changed. I managed to finish one Wodehouse book and also pick up another Satire. C.Suresh's A Dog Eat Dog food world - One book I could relate and totally enjoyed reading!

  4. Sharath Komarraju - I managed to read 6 books of his including his latest - Loyalty Net, Murder in Amaravati, A pinch of Lust, A smidgen of Greed, The Narrow Road to Palem, Donoor's Curse. That's the most book I've read by a single writer this year. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of it. He quickly progressed to becoming one of my favorite Indian writers after RK Narayan.

  5. Geographical Variety - This year I managed to read plenty of books set in Italy and France, two in Afghanistan, one in Africa and Spain. That happiness in being able to feel the cultural and architectural feel of a city by reading a book is unmatched. Most memorable books include, Masquerade by Hannah Fielding, Paris Runaway by Paulita Kincer, Dreaming Sophia by Melissa Muldoon, The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy, The Sentimental Terrorist by Rajesh Talwar.

  6. Few Indian writers deserve a special mention. They managed to deliver quality books and prove that they are not Chetan Bagat "types". Sundari Venkatraman for An Autograph for Anjali and Marriages Made in India Series, Sumana Khan for Encounters, Sujit Banerjee for Rukhsat The Departure, Adite Banerjee for No Safe Zone, Paulami Duttagupta for A Thousand Unspoken Words and Aarti V Raman for With you I dance. 

  7. There were some books which I really didn't enjoy. The most surprising of all being that of Ravi Subramanian's The Bestseller She wrote. For all the hype he gets, this particular book of his that I read isn't one bit worth it.

  8. One big heartbreak of 2016 - A script book which had JK Rowling's blessings - Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. RUINED would be the best term. This book ruined the feel of Harry Potter totally.


Next year, I already have a long TBR ahead - Ruskin Bond, Lionel Shriver, Satyajith Ray, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Timer N Murari just to begin with!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

#527 : Day Ninety Six - Goal Setting!

With the New Year around the corner and appraisals at work also at bay, the term goal setting is probably going to be used and abused for a while. Nevertheless, that's not going to stop me from setting a goal or working to achieving it.

It seems a sane idea to call such whims of mine as goals instead of resolutions, which obviously sounds too cliche. Moreover, for some odd reason, my brain seems to place the word goal with a higher sense of priority.

When 2016 began, I had just one goal - to cut off toxic people from my life. 2015 delivered a personal blow to me by  revealing the true color of some one I considered a best friend. Eventually, I wanted to forget and move on. Moving on wasn't easy, but I had to. Then later, I felt it was right to even forgive and patch up, which I did. In 2016, I wanted to keep her and the likes of her at arm's length. It was difficult as hell, but thanks to my parents and another best friend, I managed that this year. One goal down!

As the year progressed I set smaller goals and targets. With one of them being the 100 days of blogging initiative. I needed to keep in touch with writing and creativity. Else I was on a path of becoming an automaton who was just doing spreadsheets and drawings. I hesitated a lot before taking up this mammoth of a challenge as I knew I would be tied down with a lot of work (as I knew back then that I was getting married). To add fuel to my self doubt, a so called friend of mine vehemently discouraged me, stating that it wouldn't be possible at all for me. My parents and my (now) husband encouraged me otherwise. For them, it simply meant giving me space to do what I wanted and Voila, I'm right on track and haven't missed a single day till now and I intend to keep that streak up. That friend of mine also told me that it is the spirit of the challenge to write daily and not to schedule posts ahead. She believed that I would cheat my way out. To my utter surprise, I never scheduled a single post ahead of time. I might have not kept up an exact 24 hour gap, but then, one post per day it was and it will be for the next 3 days. So target almost done.

2017! New goals and new targets! As I write this post, I've set 3 goals. I'm not going ahead and mentioning it here. They say keep good things to yourself and I intended to follow that saying to dot in order to ensure no dolt sends negative energy my way!

What's your goal? Ping me! Trust me, I don't do discouragement. I'm all for target completion!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

#525 : Day Ninety Four - The Life of an Engineer

94 days down and I literally almost forgot to write about what I do for a living. Most people blink or stare curiously when they first hear about my work. Unlike my famous counterpart - the core manufacturing sector, my sector - the Manufacturing services sectors has very little takers and isn't that really well known. Or at least, people don't know what we folks do to earn our bread and butter.

Here is what we think we do,

Sitting with the customer like boss with all logic working perfectly! 

What we actually do, 

Hiyo! Sathiyama Nambunga! Indha switch ah thatina light eriyum! - Convincing the customer what he has is a Merc, but in reality it's a scooty Pep! 

Jokes apart! That's truly a part of what we do. We automate pumps,valves, motors etc to make sure the factory runs smoothly with as less human intervention or manual error as possible. 

Our customers - Any manufacturing company in conjunction with engineering companies, give us inputs in the form of databases, drawings and narratives. We program it all into a controller called PLC or DCS (or whatever) depending upon the application.  

The PLC or DCS needs its own set of devices for electrical protection. Okay to elaborate more I might as well need to teach you what I learnt in 4 years of college and 4 years of working! Sigh! I am done. 

Just remember, it's all  excel sheets and wires! That's what I do -excel sheets, more and more sheets of it. Wires and plenty of wires! Drawings - green, red and grey - bright enough to give you a migraine. Oh and not to forget, impossibly tough scenarios giving you the feel of launching  a rocket! 

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

#524 : Day Ninety Three - The Dreaded Flu!

Thanks to roaming around and gulping down scoops of that yummy peach ice cream, I am officially croaking like a frog. The flu decided to pay a visit. 

The best remedy to beat the flu - Paati Kai Vaidhiyam ( translates to age old home remedy) 

The first remedy that I tried out - Chew raw pepper and polish it off with hot water - worked a bit in clearing off that sore throat. My mom in law'a idea. Totally worked! 

Second one - Hot milk with turmeric - reduced that insane headache. 

The third one is the toughest of all - Nilavembu Kashayam. It's a powder mix available in Indian apothecary shops. It's bitter to core. You need to mix the powder and boil it. Drink a tumbler. Voila! Your fever is gone! Thanks to mommy dearest, I had to endure this today.

There is nothing that can beat cold at all truly! At least noting as quickly as above mentioned mixes! 
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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

#522 : Day Ninety One - Thank you!

I'm back to my home (Mom's place) to open up my wedding presents. Christmas came early to me in the form of wedding!

I'd like to thank all of you, who came down, spent time and blessed us. In spite of inevitable circumstances, a lot of you took trouble to make it. For that I am indebted! For those who gifted things to me, that was so nice of, I really didn't expect a material gift! Nevertheless, Thank you. I'd cherish it all for a lifetime.

There was  one gift which stood out. Strike that. A lot of gifts stood out! I can't really pick and choose! 

People gift me books all the time. They forget to write their name or the occasion they are gifting for. I appreciate the intention but few words would have made it better! Is a book a good choice as a gift for wedding? Absolutely not for others, but for me, that's the best gift I could ever get.

Jean Burke -  Spraker, my editor friend, who flew down from Bengaluru to attend the wedding gifted me a book. The book has a nice beautiful bookmark, a handwritten letter and INR 101 tucked in safely. She placed the book inside a cloth bag and gifted it instead of wrapping it up. This was the most beautiful gift I got. In her letter, she went to explain her choice of gift in whole. Jean, thank you for the most precious gift. I will cherish it forever.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

#521 : Day Ninety - Dépaysement

The word Dépaysement in Portuguese means the feeling that comes from not being in one's home country. While I am very much in my home country, I'm having that same feeling now. Before you jump to conclusions, this has got nothing to do with demonetization or the sorry state of political affairs in my city - Chennai. I miss my home. There. I said it.

Over the past week every other person who greeted me, asked me if I had 'settled-in' in the new place and adapted to new people. First off, I was on a vacation, roaming around the serene beaches of Mauritius. You know that. It's been just two days since I resumed routine work. I'm sure you are aware of this fact too. Wouldn't it be wiser not to ask about my 'adapting' process? Wouldn't it decent not to pry if I am doing all household work by or if my mother in law is 'making' me do it all. There is a fine line between being concerned and being inquisitive. I thought we were in the digital age, apparently I am wrong and stone age hasn't passed yet.

The next common question I get asked is if I miss my parent's place. I know you must be agreeing with the correct syntax I used to address the place which used to be "Home" to me. Well, don't be too happy. It's still home for me. It will always be. Nobody except me can change that mindset. Is there something gravely wrong in calling two places  "Home"? I suppose, my upbringing is to blame for that mindset. My dad always told me that his house would always be home for me, immaterial of my marital status. He also imbibed in me that I should always consider my in-laws as my own parents and thereby making their house my home too. Seems rational to me. I pity those who aren't blessed with the sanity like that of my dad's. I digress.

Yes. I miss my parents. I miss waking up to my dad's polite and mum's angry wake up calls. I miss sipping that glass of strong coffee my dad specially prepares for us. I miss chiding my dad for walking too fast during our regular walks. I miss my mom's food. I miss playing pranks on my sister and getting her all worked up. It's hard not to miss people you've been with for 25 years. Of course, unless you are a wall or a stone. Not that my husband or my in laws aren't good enough for me, just that there is this constant feeling of dépaysement. Not that I am not used to living away from home, just that this time when my brain knows that the shift is permanent my heart whines and protests. It is supposed to be a common feeling for all women in our country. My mum probably felt that way too, and my sister would feel that way too.

Pseudo feminists would likely be burning red seething with anger at this write up right now. They would reason that I really needn't suffer separation and can always revolt to bring my husband to live with my parents. That would be like neutralizing the age old 'horrendous' custom of a woman leaving her house post marriage. That would be equality for them.

It fails to strike me as how that would be equality. As a matter of fact, isn't that a choice? I choose to live with my In laws. They didn't give me an option because they assumed I would be okay with it. Had I asked them otherwise, they would have obliged, probably, but not without feeling bad that I asked them. I didn't ask. It is my choice. It's as simple as that. They are good people. They treat me with care and affection. I grew in a household of 5 members. I would have probably gone mad if I had to live all alone with my husband. It's an added bonus that my in laws are extremely nice.

Again, you, the pseudo feminists would be groaning at my praise for them. You can't judge somebody within a week of being with them, you would reason. People change, people act you would say. I can't help but pity you again for being so inhumane. There are no bad people. Circumstances make people behave the way they do. I believe the best in the people. That's how I am wired. Next time you want to shake my faith, well, all the best.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

#520 : Day Eighty Nine - What's in a Name!

What's in a name?! Apparently a lot. One little baby boy's name got all controversial and trolled over. Taimur. No prizes for guessing that. Isn't it heartbreaking and disgusting to even read such a "news" item?! The poor thing doesn't even know his name. Like parents all over the world do, this little guy's parents also picked a name for him which they liked. It's their choice. If the boy wishes he could always change it later right? But the internet won't keep quite really! It's saddening and depressing. Names are personal choice. 

Sigh! People can never respect choices can they? 
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

#519 : Day Eighty Eight - Wedding pictures!

It's been about 10 days since I've been married. We haven't settled into a routine yet due to all the traveling. Lots of people have been asking me for photographs. Here are a couple of pictures my photographer sent! For those who made it, thank you truly. You made it all the more memorable for us. For those who didn't, we missed you! 

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Monday, December 19, 2016

#518 : Day Eighty Seven - A trip to Tirupati

The next trip beckons me already. I just got back from a fun vacation to Mauritius!  After all the enjoyment it was time to thank the lord I suppose! 

Not much to write today but doling out a couple of tips from my experience.

1. Book your rooms well in advance. Thanks to online bookings, no amount of influence will really help. 

2. If you make a trip during december like I did, carry scarves and sweaters. The weather turns silly cold for no reason. Especially if you are from Chennai, that cold isn't good for you. 

3. Book a pedicure once you are book. My feet looks so sorry right now and I am not even done with the Darshan! 
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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

#515 : Day Eighty Four - Braving Tiredness!

Wait for 6 hours to catch your flight, travel in a cramped economy class for 5.45 hours with a wailing baby giving you company and then ride a bus for 2 hours before reaching the hotel - That's how my vacation kicked off. Oh I forgot, the airline decided that they would still serve what was supposed to be our breakfast for lunch. By the time I reached my friend's place for dinner, my stomach was growling in hunger with DTS effect to boot! 

Obviously tiredness was an unwelcome company. The next day, I had a packed day in the beautiful beaches of Mauritius. I had to stay fresh. 

Sleep, water and fruits - these helped me recover perfectly! The water however is horrible and doesn't taste like what it's back home. I didn't feel thirsty though! 

Thankfully, this country is famous for it fruits. Litchi, Peaches, Pineapple and water melon - I had whale of a time gobbling down just fruits, flavoured Yoghurt and juice for breakfast. 

Thus if you are too tired to know the difference between water and vodka - eat fruits and drink water. 

Errrrr.... that above statement doesn't apply if you have already drunk something more than just water! 

PS. Sigh! My internet is still pathetic. Unable to upload beautiful pictures I've clicked! 
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Thursday, December 15, 2016

# 514 : Day Eighty Three - People Power!

After food and the place, it's the people I want to focus on today. I've met about a handful of Mauritians ranging from the tour guide to the hotel receptionists! All of them come across as being warm and friendly yet firm. 

There were a couple of embarrassing incidents which left me speechless and feeling low. 

About our travel group, we are a group of 20 people, mostly Indians who were on their honeymoon. There were a couple of bachelors as well. Our guide for the day was a funny man! We had finished our activities for the day and were heading back to the hotel. En route there was a van which had broken down. The bus was ferrying passengers from the airport to hotels and was a part of our tourist group. Our bus stopped so as to help the standred people as they belonged to the same travel group. After a while the "big shot gentlemen" of my bus got impatient and forced our bus to start. The guide was pissed off and remarked if all Indians were so cruel and didn't like helping people. 

Indians are generally warm and friendly people and are known for their kindness. Yet today when those idiots suggested that we don't help them, it seemed too horrible. That question from that man got me pondering. Are we kind really or are we pretending to be?! 

It would have been a one off incident but it ruined the reputation of a country 😭
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

#513 : Day Eighty Two - The Mauritian food!

The common trouble for any Indian travelling abroad is our food. Especially for Vegetarians it's just too difficult to get good food. 

Needless to even mention, the food on board my flight was pathetic. We were served with Indian food which tasted so bland! They severed us breakfast in place of lunch due to the delay! 

Thanks to my new found Mauritian pal, Aria, who hosted a perfect dinner which satiated my hunger and my taste buds, that hunger pang vanished. Her family is of Indian origin and have settled down in Mauritius. So their food has a perfect balance of Indian spices and Mauritian flavours. They served us a well balanced fried noodle with tofu, greens and peanut accompanied with a seasoned garlic sauce and cut tomatoes. It was a different flavour and I hope to replicate it some day! 

Today, we spent the day on the beautiful beaches of Ille Aux Cerf. We got to sample a local wood fired pizza which was worth every penny spent! Singing off now Talking about food has made me hungry already and it's dinner time here!

PS. pictures to follow! Poor internet connectivity!  
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#512 : Day Eighty One - Mauritius!

Yay! After a four hour wait at the airport post a devastating storm and a horribly delayed flight, I've touched down in Mauritius with my husband for a short vacation. 

Morning when my dad left us at the airport with half a heart to go back home, I felt sad. The prospect of a proper vacation looked bleak thanks to cyclone Vardah! Fate had its away and our flight took off after a delay of 5 hours! The crew on board were extremely nice. Particularly the French Gentleman who took care of our aisle was so warm and funny! 

After we touched down and customs cleared us through, our tour operator shipped us off in a coach to our hotel, which is located in the north most tip of the island! Our friend, a warm and friendly native Mauritiuan took us to her house for a hearty meal which consisted of fried noodle cooked with tofu and greens, served with garlic sauce and tomato salad. Her family welcomed us in so warmly that it didn't feel like I wasn't in Mauritius! 

Thanks to poor internet, I unable to upload pictures! Stay tuned for that! Till then, bonne nuit! 
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Monday, December 12, 2016

#511 : Day Eighty - Vardah..... Varaaadhaeeee!

The word Varadhae in Tamil means don't come. That's exactly the state of all people who are praying right now hoping the cyclone doesnt cause anymore devastation. Going by pictures circulating on whatsapp and tid bits of new reports on social media, looks like the cyclone has done it's damage. Wonder whats with December and the climate. Feels like last year just that I am in a different place and worried double about the safety of my parents and the state of my trip tomorrow. My flight has been delayed by a couple of hours! What a heart ache when your carefully laid plans go awry! 

Stay safe! Logging off now! 

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Sunday, December 11, 2016

#510 : Day Seventy Nine - Exhaustion!

It's been two days since I got married and one day since I settled into my new home. It feels weird in a right way to call it home  but yeah reality bites. I suppose the feeling hasn't sunk in yet! 

A wedding can leave you exhausted. Changing costumes and make up, all that talking and smiling is truly tiring. The worst part is the post wedding clean up session! Imagine having to wash clothes clothes and more clothes. Plus distributing wedding goodies among relatives! Phew! I'm exhausted today. Too exhausted to think and write. 

Pro Tip - Your digestion will take a hit. So try to steer clear off food! Cumin water is your best friend. 
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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Friday, December 9, 2016

# 508 : Day Seventy Seven - Wedding!

Phew! The wedding madness has begun to subside a bit finally! A BIT! I'm done draping sarees back and forth! How tiring it is to wear garlands and carry the damn silk saree AND participate in all procedures! phew! Before I doze off here is one pic I actually have! Thanks to Dhivya! 

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

#507 : Day Seventy Six - Wedding madness!

The wedding madness has officially begun! For those who don't know, I'm getting married tomorrow. The day till now has been maddening. All that smiling is hurting my cheeks and mouth. I've changed into three different sarees already!

A bride is allowed to throw a tantrum! So yeah! That's it for today! I'm off to sleep while I can! 
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

#505 : Day Seventy Four - RIPJayalalithaa

Owing to the sad demise of our beloved Chief Minister Ms.J. Jayalalithaa, I am refraining from writing on a proper topic today. Sadness and grief seems to Choke out all words which attempts to tumble down. Her boldness, courage, intellect, grace, charm remain unmatched and inspiring! In a world dominated by men who tried to squash her down with every step she took, she fought all demons with  grace. 

It's morally wrong to speak ill of the dead. Pseudo intellects, who at every opportunity seem to go on a verbal diarrhea haven't sparred her in her death too. They have already started  pointing out as to how corrupt and superstitious she was. She might have been corrupt yet people thronged to pay their homage in peace today. Technically isn't that oxymoronic? Nonless than 15 CMs, the PM, the president and tones of people paid their homage today. The crowd didn't just subside. They wouldn't have probably even got a teeny tiny glance of her, yet they were there. 

Isn't she entitled to her beliefs as a human being? She is a leader all right and is a forefront example to her subjects. That doesn't imply that she should loose her faith and identity . There is this other debate doing rounds on social media that she promoted her caste. I'd say no one other than the media does a better job of instigating caste politics. A headline for an article today read, how she being a white skinned Brahmin survived politics. Was it absolutely necessary to mention her caste? No. There are enough examples to sustantiate that she didn't really favor her own caste or any caste for that matter. Do your research before you write or share. 

I'm not a fan of politics. Nor do I support any major political party or leader. There a plenty of people who are like me. Yet collectively I can speak for the likes of me that we all felt sad. She was inspirational and will continue to be so. Every woman would wish they were half as bold and fiery as her. I wish too I were too! 

RIP Iron Lady! Your final battle was as fierce as your first, you might have lost it mortally, but you still remain in our thoughts immortaly. 
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Monday, December 5, 2016

#504 : Day Seventy Three - His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Kindness!

Given the current situation of despair, I thought it would be prudent to reflect upon His Holiness The Dalai Lama's take on kindness. Until recently, I never consciously followed his teachings or listened to his speeches. One random YouTube video changed that. I found his speeches to be enlightening in a way I could connect. 

With our beloved state leader in a critical state, one can only show kindness and love hoping she recovers! Let's be kind not to spread rumours or cause physical and emotional hindernace! 
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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

#502 : Day Seventy One - Kindness!

A positive trait. When ego wanes, it gives way to kindness. Wikipedia defines Kindness as an act of being friendly and generous and considerate. 

Forget about being generous and friendly. Being considerate is the need of the hour. A random act of kindness can lead to a greater good. 

I'm blessed with quite a number of people in my life who are inherently kind. My dad is the biggest example I can possibly quote. He inspires me to be kind and leads by example. There are few things which can't be substantiated by examples. He is one such person! I can't possibly quote examples. Some things are best left private. You should know him as a person to experience this trait in him. 

The one fictional character I consider to be kind would be Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. It's not that he is kind because he represented a black person when no one else did. It is the way he proves Bob Ewell is a liar. More over the way he handles his children - he is firm yet gentle. 

However, what happens when being kind is not acknowledged? People get hurt. They change and stop being kind. A one off incident won't lead to such a drastic change but repeated disappointment would cause that change, but then, is that true kindness? Is exepecting gratitude or recognition or acknowledgement an actual act of kindness? Leaving on that note! 
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Friday, December 2, 2016

#501 : Day Seventy - Ego and the way of life!

Yesterday's post was about ego and I wasn't quite done with it! Today's post is a quote which I first read literally ages ago. I remember reading this quote in one of my grandfather's book. It stuck to me though not verbatim, but the essence stayed on. 

I stumbled upon it verbatim again few years ago. Sharing it here today! 

Though the poem of sorts is titled the way of love, I'd rather call it the way of life! 

Isn't love the way of life? 
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Thursday, December 1, 2016

#500 : Day Sixty Nine - Doctor Strange & Ego!

New month and a new series of sorts to write. Given that there is exactly 30 more days for this year to end, it's about time to reflect upon the happenings of the year which is fast slipping by. This year for a change, I've decided to reflect upon lessons I learnt as a human being in form of characteristic traits which impacted my life and can potentially impact other lives too. To kick  off this attempt to write about human traits, my first post is going to be about one trait I strive hard to loose. One trait which ruins a lot of things - Ego.

Wikipedia defines a person's self esteem or self importance as ego. There is a fine line between having the right amount of self esteem and being egoistic. One can't possibly always take the middle path and get that balance right. Situations force you to act in the either end of the spectrum. Sadly for this trait, acting in either end of the spectrum is harmful. Having low self esteem can drive one to depression or worse suicide, while being egoistic would drive the person to be a loner.

It is a common observation that there are three kinds of people when it comes to this trait - The inherently egoistic group, the situation-ally egoistic group and the non-egoistic group. The last category comprises of people who are simply too nice without an ounce of egoism to their behavior and also people with low self esteem.

How did this trait harm me this year? I was at both the receiving and giving end of this trait. It resulted in a state of mental instability and unwanted squabbles.

There are a couple of people/ fictional character who are stellar examples of not having an ego. They were my role models and guided me get that balance right. I'd rather talk about the fictional character than the non-fictional one for, the doing so about the latter might lead to eyebrows being raised.

Doctor Strange. A movie which released recently. Given that I hadn't read the comics upon which the film was based on, I expected this to be a poor incoherent adaptation just like other books adapted into movies. To my utter surprise, the story was clear.

doctor-strange-1

It's his ego which prevents his body from healing itself at Kamar Taj. He is an accomplished neurosurgeon who is afraid of failure and is egoistic that he could fix a spine bone by bone. He doesn't take on cases he can't succeed, just to ensure that his success rate is stellar.Metaphorically, the movie struck a nerve with me. What if such traits actually prevented our body from letting it self be normal. What if this trait was poisoning our system. I realized this far later than I should I have. If only I had done so earlier, I would have kept a truck of people at bay and been a better human myself. Better late than never though.
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#499 : Day Sixty Eight- Rahmania - A tribute

It's day 30 of Rahmania and I write this post with a heavy heart. I might as well continue writing about the songs I love, but then, it would become all about me, my likes and my life. That's not what I had in mind when I took up the challenge of 100 days of blogging. Today, its about the man. The man who unknowingly touched many lives through his music. The man whose compositions speak way louder than his words.

People normally assume that the likes of me "have become fans of him" after he won a couple of Oscars. It is a blissful feeling to ignore such ignorant-pretenders. Before Facebook, twitter and internet took over, there were things like television, radio and normal conversation. The need to proclaim the love for something in public was non-existent. For some of us, it is still that way. Then why have you been writing about this man you ask?

It's Simple. Music unites people. I've connected with a lot of people over this common topic. I've had people who are almost strangers asking me to write about a particular song. There are just a handful of people who can do that, bringing people together - AR Rahman, Ilayaraja, JK Rowling are a few to name.

Eventually we are all forgotten pages in the lives of others. Wouldn't it be worthwhile to be that page which would give at least a moment of happiness if not chapters of remembrance? Wouldn't it be worth while to cherish that moment when you connect with a stranger all because of a song which probably holds different set of memories for both of you. I digress. The man and his compositions are legendary. His humane nature is truly inspiring. What we see is what we get really when it comes to him. How do you know you ask?

My fiance shared this incident with me. His friends and him, they were waiting among the large crowd which thronged Rahman's house every year on his birthday. Rahman came out and waved to all of them before speeding off in his car. Being the ardent fans they were, my fiance and his friends picked up their bikes and followed the man till a building near Taj Nungambakkam. His car stopped momentarily and a man from the car signaled these guys to follow them to another building which was away from the main road. The car finally stopped and out step the man who signaled them - the driver. He asked if these guys had camera and advised them to keep it ready. Rahman himself stepped down with a gentle smile and wished these guys. He asked each and every one of them their names and as to what they were doing in general. He stood and posed for photographs before politely excusing himself. Chasing a celebrity is probably is not a good idea. He might as well have booked him for it, yet he didn't. He wasn't angry that they followed him all the way, nor was curt when he met them. Stellar example of how to be even when you have truck loads of money and a room full of trophies.

This sir, is my little tribute to you. I have zero knowledge of music. I know in all possibility that you certainly won't read this. But if you did, please know you impacted my life in a way no one else apart from my father did.

Good music has the power to heal or destroy a soul in trouble. Please be assured that your's healed and couldn't have possibly destroyed any soul.

Signing off with a song which I promised would be last.

Why is it at the last?

I don't know!

Why not other songs?

I really don't know.

Kaiyil Midhakum Kanava nee!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGN1v_Q6OmA]
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

#498 : Day Sixty Seven - Kannamoochi Yenda En Kanna!

Day 29 of the ARR madness, I decided to save the best for the last. The year 2000 was a milestone of sorts to me. That was the year I actually started watching Tamil movies and this movie - Kandukondain Kandukondain was the first movie I remember watching properly without taking a break. I used to watch movies in installments due to the lack of ability to sit still for a good three hours.

My favorite color is blue. It's been that color since the year 2000. This song is the reason behind it - Aishwarya Rai's blue lehenga  and that peacock feather background to be precise. I simply fell in love with that color and the composer's tunes too. That's when I officially became a Rahmaniac. No turning back since then!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-kKmRfqhA0]
It's difficult to pick songs from his entire discography. There are just too many favorites with fond memories attached to each song. It's simply overwhelming to look at back and see how many favorites I've missed out because I couldn't really pick. One can't possibly "rank" favorites among his compositions. With the month coming to end tomorrow, I'm saddened a bit that I wouldn't be writing more about his compositions. Nevertheless, I can always repeat such an activity later :-D


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Monday, November 28, 2016

#497 : Day Sixty Six - Manmohini Morey!

Day 28 into ARR fever, today's number is a truly mind blowing one. 

Sung by the extremely talented singer Vijay Prakash, this song has a Classical-Gazhal undertone. Combined with modern music, this song is an absolutly divine! 

Starring Anil Kapoor and Salman Khan, the visuals seem a wee bit silly for a song of such a caliber. Having not watched the movie I might have overlooked the impact of context, but that doesn't really justify as to why the visuals seem so distasteful shot. 

https://youtu.be/D4jce-8oxlo

Being a musical, Rahman seems to have poured his soul and sweat to ensure that all tracks are artistically appealing. In fact I debated a good one hour before deciding upon this song. Its simply too hard to pick between Tu Meri Dost, Tu Muskura and this number! 

Given a choice I'd pick all three. So the song for today is not just this track but all three. For ARR's music it's okay to cheat a bit 😂😜
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

#496 : Day Sixty Five - Chandralekha!

Day 27 into ARR madness and this one is a gem of a song. 

Sung by singer Anupama, this is a techno pop number which set a benchmark for pop numbers in the Industry. Anupama's voice combined with Rahman's magical interludes, this is song is every rebel girl's dream song including mine. The rhythm is so unpredictable that a first time listener would be absolutely delighted at the rythemic twists and turns! 

The visuals are also equally scintillating! Shot with a fort in backdrop and beautiful lighting, the song and the visual complement each other so well! 

https://youtu.be/Uj_18hXo5G0
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Saturday, November 26, 2016

#495 : Day Sixty Four - En Mel Vizhundha Mazhai Thuliaye!

Day 26 of the ARR celebration on my blog, as promised I've taken up a request. This one comes for my friend Kavya Janani. We share a part of our names apart from the love of ARR's music and Harry Potter. In spite of being complete strangers, there are few things which truly unite you. This is the best example. I hardly know her. Our interactions have been via Facebook, but I connect with her thanks to ARR and JKR - two people whom I owe a lot.

Sung by singer PS Jayachandran and KS Chitra, this song renders you speechless. Lyricist Vairamuthu has once again proved his prowess over the language. One can't possibly imagine a better song to describe the pain of separation and finding your loved one back again.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsbIcG2vMrM]

Looks like 30 days aren't going to be enough to celebrate this man at all.
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Friday, November 25, 2016

#494 : Sixty Three - Mudhal Murai Killi Parthen!

Day 25 into ARR fever, this song is upon a request from my fiancee. The love for ARR's music is something we have in common, just among a handful of other things. He wanted me to feature this song today and la, wish fulfilled. This is also dedicated to my to be sister in law. Apparently, this is one of her favorite movie.

Sung by accomplished singer Srinivas and Sujatha, this song is a total melody. It's about the feel of first love. Actor Rahman and Vindhya have done a fantastic job of acting for such a fab melody. All the songs in this album are way too good. I had initially wanted to write about Mazhai Thuli song, but then he asked and I couldn't say no.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mIxJDdCSDI]

It's 25th already and I have plenty more favorites to go. Picking songs is becoming increasingly difficult.

What's your favorite ARR track? Let me know, I'd be happy to feature it for your, just for tomorrow only though :-P
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#493 : Dreaming Sophia by Melissa Muldoon : Review


Picture


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOjj0mvFhRM&w=560&h=315]





My love for Italian culture stemmed from reading plenty of fiction which was based in that country. This book is the epitome of my Italian fantasy. The story line is quite simple and doesn’t have much to go on so to say, but the narration and characterization is way too good.
Our protagonist Sophia succumbs to the sorrow of losing her parents. Having raised by a mother who loved the Italian culture, Sophia connects with her mother’s Italian muses and heads on a path of self-recovery. She goes to Italy to study art and connects with every important historical moment her mother had told her about when she grew up.

My want to visit that beautiful place filled with such rich history increased leaps and bounds after reading this book. The crux of the story is rather simple – a girl on a road to recovery with memories of her mother which intertwine with Italy’s rich history. The story contains major chunks of interesting history of Italy’s famous persona like actress Sophia Loren, Michelangelo, DaVinci, Garibaldi, Dante Alighieri and Casanova. Then there are the others whom I hadn’t know of – Marcello Mastroianni, Simonetta Vespucci, Eleonora De Medicim Lucrezia Borgia, Lorenzo de Medici, Filippo Brunelleschi and Giuletta Capuleti.  The story itself is divided into 8 parts featuring various states of Sophia’s life featuring each of the above mentioned persona who help her out in times of trouble. It is apparent that the writer knows her history well and is familiar with even the most vivid detail of all the sights mentioned in the book. With such lush narration and vivid description, this book is dream come true for me. In fact, Sophia is such an inspiration for me to step up and work towards my dream of learning Italian and visiting the country. In spite of being so beautiful, the writer hasn’t described the real ugly face of the city. However, this can be overlooked. After all, some positivity doesn’t hurt.

The cover and the section covers deserve a special mention. While the cover it was just perfect, the short comment mentioned by another writer it spoiled it for me a bit. The section art work in black and white, with write ups, were brilliant. Given that this is an ebook, the writer had provided links for songs and other tidbits of information. I made a colossal mistake of reading this book on my kindle and couldn’t visit the links. Planning to re-read this book on my tab so that I can go check out all songs and other interesting information she has linked up.

MY SAY: One beautiful book.
RATING: 5/5




About the book




GENRE: Fiction

NUMBER OF PAGES: 232

FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from Italy book tours.


BOOK LINKS: 



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