Friday, September 30, 2016

#430 : Day Eight : My teeny-tiny bucket list

Not exactly the type to wish for something long term. So here is my teeny-tiny bucket list of things I want to do by next year October

  1. Learn to ride a geared bike.

  2. Finish off Neil Gaiman's collection of short stories - Trigger Warning.

  3. Bake a red velvet cake with icing.

  4. Learn to do make up properly.

  5. Visit West Bengal/Kolkata during Pujo (Durga Puja).

  6. Make a crying child stop crying.

  7. Get a new haircut.

  8. Spend a day all alone by myself.

  9. Spend time with an old stranger listening to their story.

  10. Compliment one person from the opposite gender and one from the same gender.


I almost learnt to ride a geared bike back when I lived in Tirunelveli, but life had other plans.

Neil Gaiman's book - I truly loved the stories I read but after a point I couldn't just read that book. His narration and language is too beautiful for me to stop reading the book midway.

I have a fascination for red velvet cakes and nothing like witnessing your cake rise perfectly.

Make up and me - *Sigh* I never bothered to learn how to do proper make up. Dab that cream, spread that powder and la, I'm done decking up for that wedding. That's how it has always been.

The "Visit Kolkata during Durga Puja" has been on my wish list for ages now. I first witnessed a toned down version of Durga Puja when I was in class 9 at the Madras Kali Bari which is run by people from Bengal. Since then, I've wanted to visit the original celebration.

It breaks my heart to see a child crying. I'm never good or popular with kids.

I hate my hair. Period.

Freedom is a precious thing. It feels good to be surrounded by people whom I love and who love me back, but I wonder how would it feel to spend the day all alone.

I've grown up listening to my grandparents narrating stories, their own life stories. That feel of a different era is unmatched. Wonder what other people have to tell.

It feels great to receive genuine compliments, just passing on happiness.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

#429 : Day Seven : Chilika Lake

It's been a week since I started this a blog post a day for 100 days - 100 days of blogging challenge. Today, I decided to take the photography route. The above picture was shot by me using my Samsung Galaxy Grand phone. No lens can ever capture the beauty of this place - The Chilika lake. I spent 4 hours on this very boat with a rower who didn't speak a word of English or Hindi. It was fun communicating using sign language.

We spotted migratory birds and dolphins, living happily in their own environment. There was a patch of land in a part of the lake beyond where the lake mingled with the sea. The color difference was so prominent yet so beautiful. The sunset was the highlight of the trip. Life at that moment felt so peaceful without the buzzing and whirring of technology.

We drove down to Chilika lake from Bhubaneswar which took us about 3 hours. There are trains available but we choose to drive down to experience Odisha.


#428 : Glitter and Gloss by Vibha Batra : Review

Glitter cover, interesting blurb and a story about a makeup artist – The book has “pick me up” written all over it. Misha, our protagonist, is a Make-up artist and has a penchant for picking up wrong guys. She is a proverbial blabber mouth and is fun to be around. She falls heads over heels for the smoldering hot jewelry business man Akshay. Things suddenly go for a toss when their families meet. Opposites attract, but can opposites live with each other?

This story was one fun and light hearted read, almost along the lines of a coming of age story. The story is realistic and captures the practical problems which arise when two people from different culture decide to get married. What would initially seem like a fairy tale would obviously morph into a nightmare when it comes to choice of habits.  The writing was good enough for a book of this genre. The writer either knows a lot about make up or has done her research well as a lot of MAC products were mentioned in the book. For someone who knows nothing about makeup this irked me a bit. I do understand that the character is a makeup artist but then, I couldn’t help but feel a bit lost. The characterization was balanced and each character had the right depth. I felt there were too many secondary characters though.
MY SAY: Light hearted and fun read.


About the Book

GENRE: Fiction


FORMAT: Paperback

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from the writer via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#427 : Day Six - Cigarette


This was a nano tale I wrote few months ago just after witnessing a boy all of 10 years  old smoke. It was during my trip back home when I saw a little boy, tousled hair wearing clothes too big for him sitting on a bicycle smoking away. It was after 7pm and that area was dark  as the canopy of a well grown tree shaded the light from the nearest lamp post. He was alone but the place has enough human movement. People gave him disgusted looks before moving on. However, no one bothered to go talk some sense into him.

It crushed my heart and I walked towards him to have a little chat. As I approached he stared at me but was unperturbed and smoked away. I said Hi and started talking about why he shouldn't smoke. He still kept smoking turning a deaf ear to my advice. When I finished, he asked me to mind my own business. My heart skipped a beat at the intensity with which he said that. I found it prudent to listen to him and back off.That incident numbed me in a way.

#426 : Mummy's Little Angel by JW Lawson : Review


Grotesque cover, gory summary, what an enticing book I mused on before picking it up for review. Narrated in the form of diary entries, this story is about a mother and her fight to prove the innocence of one of her twin daughters. A mother always believes the best of her progeny. Joanne, the mother, is on a mission to prove the innocence of her twin daughters who have been accused of killing their own father in a gruesome matter. She strongly believes it was an accident but as enough evidence surfaces it is hard to be convinced. Moreover, it is difficult to identify the killer as they are twins.

I found initial few pages unsettling as the narration was a bit un-conventional with alternating view point and diary entries. For a seasoned thriller reader like me, this book was an absolute treat. The characterization was perfect and each character was well fleshed out. With a strong characterization I pretty much had an idea as to who might be the culprit. In spite of that, the story kept me tenterhooks. The writer skillfully tried to veer the readers away from the secret behind the trick. There is no such thing as coincidence when it comes to psychopaths at play. The writer exploited that fact to maximum. It was interesting to read about how psychopaths are built and how they go about destroying their lives and the lives of others piece by piece. The writing as such is perfect. My only qualm would be with the number of characters. At one point it became difficult to keep track.

MY SAY: Not for the faint hearted.


About the Book

GENRE: Fiction


FORMAT: Digital

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of iRead Book tours. Thank you :)

​BOOK LINK : Amazon ~  Barnes & Noble ~ Friesen Press

About the Author

Award Winning Author, JW Lawson is already gaining recognition for her writing talents in the US and world-wide. The second of a trilogy of sensational thrillers,Mummy's Little Angel is the winner of the highly acclaimed Worlds Best Story competition and has also received some outstanding reviews from the professional team of judges in the competition. She is currently writing her third thriller, Crossroads which will be available in 2017 and the final book of the current series, Hush Little Baby will be available in 2018.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook




Tuesday, September 27, 2016

#425 : Day Five - Mansplaining

The Oxford dictionary defines Mansplaining as (of a man) explaining (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing. I'd rather call it just another way by which a man satiates his egos and swallows his insecurity. Having worked in a male dominated industry for a good four years now, I have been at constantly at the receiving end of a man's insecurity and I know what it feels like.

There was this pre-sales workshop which I was tasked to attend. There were just 3 participants, and I was the only female. The instructor made it a point to quote examples of cooking only and kept interrupting me every single time I was trying to convey a suggestion or some technical point. That was nothing short of blatant sexism. I decided to take matters in hand and had a little chat with him during the recess.  I made it clear that I don't like to be interrupted and can comprehend the subject just like my male colleagues. After all, I do have a degree and a medal in the subject in question. Things were much better after that. Today, after the US presidential debate, it was a happy consolation for me when Hilary Clinton faced the same situation yet kept her calm only to prove Trump wrong piece by piece. Obviously, politics is after all a male dominated field. She surely must have adapted herself to all that mansplaining.


It is a common notion and a rather foolish misconception that women are incapable of comprehending subjects like economics,engineering or developmental policies. If they had their way, men would even interrupt a woman and explain about childbirth in a supposedly correct manner and pretend they know better than women. It doesn't really matter if the woman has a PhD in the subject of discussion, she is a woman therefore she can be interrupted and can be "schooled" or "educated" by a man.

What begins as a simple interruption eventually would lead to the ultimate act of domination - violence. What starts as harmless interruptions will one fine day transcend and morph into a mindset of not respecting a woman. Isn't it wise to listen and then be the judge of one's depth of knowledge? Silencing a woman or for that matter, even a man and preventing them from expressing themselves is a clear act of violation of fundamental human rights. In case of a man, silencing is the maximum that happens. Has there been any incident reported where a man beats up a person of his own gender because he didn't listen? That is clearly not the case with women. Haven't we read about women being abused for even talking?

It is imprudent to assume that women are dumb and cannot match a man's assimilation skills when it comes to areas which are dominated by men. We are qualified just as a man of our level is. It is just that we aren't the types to prove the depth of our knowledge and feed our insecurities by 'womansplaining'.


#424 : Online Talk! In conversation with Author Aditti Gaur

Me : What or who inspired you to write this book?

My love for diary writings brought me to this world. I had a strange habit of writing fictional scenes in my diaries since my school days. One fine day, my husband got one of those diaries and he encouraged me to write a story. That’s how the journey of Adhira started. Now, that strange habit turned into a full-fledged story writing. 

Me: Tell us about your writing process?

I am not afraid to call myself an amateur writer. Neither I have done any writing course nor do I hold any specific literature degree. Writing comes naturally to me. I never ever dreamt of becoming an author during my schooling days, college or Job days. It just happens suddenly. So, I don’t have any method or process of writing. But, yes, if you want to ask how I start writing Adhira. Then I can tell you. I wrote the very first draft of my story in Hindi – the language I am comfortable to portray emotions in, then I translate my script into English and then the process of 1st editing by myself and 2nd editing by my editor follows. 

Me: The character is a woman - How much of her character is autobiographical?

Adhira & Aditti are totally two different people. Adhira inspire us to be like her in many ways, she is reflecting a part of everything a woman could be, if she wished to. She is young independent, successful individual who selflessly loves and cares about everyone. She is a walking inspiration which I am not. 

Me: Tell us about the choice of your title - It's obviously named after the protagonist, but why so?

This name is very close to my heart not just because it is my first protagonist’s name but I have some personal feelings attached with this name. Adhira means restless. This name justifies her character itself. Her restless life, her carefree careless attitude towards herself adds more meanings to her name. 

Me : Some one liners!

Tea or Coffee: Coffee 
If you were invisible for a day: Would love to visit as many places as I can.
Dancing or sword fighting (Given a chance to learn): Dancing
Favourite writer: Many, depending upon the genre. 

About the Book!

What will you choose between your life and death?
Who would you give preference, yourself, your family or your friends?
She achieved everything she wanted. She gave way to who wandered away from their path or had no opportunity by founding a music studio and exploring her own love for music. Her life was perfect until the day her world went upside down. She quietly surrendered to the situations and stood brave for rest of her world. Her friends also wanted her to move on. But then HE arrived. HE was her admirer and the only one, she was comfortable with. Still, she pulled her feet back when love bloomed in her life again instead of indulging into HIS life. So, what troubled her?
That was not the end of her story, but was it the beginning or she just had a pit-stop? Come let’s discover the destination of her story

Monday, September 26, 2016

#423 : Day Four : Rage and Heart-Break


A couple of weeks ago, I was reading this book - The Sentimental Terrorist by Rajesh Talwar. The book is set in Afghanistan and intricately depicts the culture and state of affairs of that country.The narration about the state of women shocked me to bones. Women virtually were living a cursed life akin to that of a vermin. Since a young age, world politics has always held my interest. Back then, I recollect devouring factual articles about Taliban's atrocities in the name of religion. However, none of these articles managed to capture pure sadness and anguish. Today, all those articles and reports seem like  a mere  piece of paper inked with black die in a certain pattern. I stumbled upon a poem while reading that book and looking up on facts from the book. Emotions hit me like tornado. There are words which could kill if strung properly and there are words strung like from this poem which drives a twisted rusted knife into the very core of your heart, leaving you feeling helpless, sad and angry at the injustices of the world. It took me a while to recover from the emotional turmoil the poem had wrecked. The blatant injustice that was confined to one country has become widespread now. This poem was written 18 years ago, yet every woman can relate and connect with it. The world, sadly hasn't become a better place at all.

This poem - "Look into My world" is authored by Zeiba Shorish-Shamley and was featured in the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights covenant. She dedicated the poem to fellow women from Afghanistan. Women have cribbed and cried enough about the general state of affairs of women. All that said and done, why is that the balance has never tilted? Is it too much to treat a person from the opposite gender as equal? Does religion give the power to harm a fellow human being?

The poem - Look Into My world.

They made me a prisoner in shackles and in chains
Do you know of my guilt? Do you know of my sins?
These ignorant savages, who cannot see the light
Keep beating me oppressing me, to show their might

They made me invisible, shrouded and non-being
A shadow, no existence, made silent and unseeing
Denied of freedom, confined to my cage
Tell me how to handle my anger and my rage?

They destroyed my country and sold it to invader
They massacred my people, my sisters and my mater
My children are dying, they murdered my own father
They killed all my brothers, without a thought or bother

The reign they impose, dictates hate and fury
It butchers child and elders, no judge, defense or jury
It bans art and artists, punish poets and writers
It sells drugs and armors, nurtures terrorist fighters

In destitute and misery, I hang to this life
I keep on trying to hold down the strife
Can you give me an answer? Do you know of my choice?
Am I the source of evil? Can you hear my voice?

Is this my religion? Is this the way of culture?
Do I deserve this fortune to be pray to vulture?
Pain is so intense, should I end this life?
Taking a cup of poison? Pierce the heart with knife?

My horrific persecution, is based on my gender
Forced marriage, prostitution, my sell by offender
Seeking the way to redress, finding cruel injustice
Caught in the vicious circle, win peace? and win justice?

Seized in the web of horror. despair, fear, starkness
Lost in the world terror, death is near and darkness
World is beset in deafness, silent, cold and dormant
No one hears my laments, no one shares my torment

Listen to the typhoon's roar, it signifies my wailing
Look at the rains of hurricane, my tears with no railing
The rage of volcano, declares my screams
The wrath of tornado, views of my dreams

Hear me, feel my pain, you must share my sorrows
It could be you in chains, if not today, tomorrow
Join me in resistance, with no stop or pause
We can defeat this evil, be victors of my cause

This rule cannot detain me, I will defy and fight
To reach the dawn of freedom, I seek the justice light
I will crush these masters, I will burn this jail
I will tear these walls, in this accursed hell!


Sunday, September 25, 2016

#422 : Day three : The Madley Market

Jarring sound of  blaring loudspeakers from the nearby railway station  welcomes one to the  Madley market or the famous T.Nagar vegetable market. Mixed aroma of fresh sugarcane juice, chaat items, piping hot coffee and delicious softy ice-cream combined with the raw smell of various vegetables and fruits assaults the olfactory. On a typical weekend, that aroma is marred by disgusting stench from humans, thanks to the insane crowd.

The vegetables and fruits are fresh in the evening. The market is normally stocked in the afternoon I suppose. The prices are reasonable and the weight is pretty accurate too. The market is very accessible. It is located right next to the Mambalam railway station and is of a walk-able distance from the T.Nagar bus stand. The famous or the rather infamous shopping hub - Ranganathan street - is situated right next to market.

My oldest memory of stepping into this market was back in 2000, when we first shifted to Mambalam. The sight and the smell was maddening for a little girl who had grown up in a relatively calmer area - Besant Nagar but, thanks to weekly trips, this place grew on me. It's been 16 years since I first steeped into that area, a lot has changed. Modernization has taken over, inflation has increased, the prices have gone up, but one thing remains the same - the maddening crowd and the warm sellers. Until next week!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

#421 : Day Two - My Work-in-Progress Story

Day two of hundred days. I wanted to share something close to my heart. I started writing this on January 1st 2016. I had a plot, logical with solid characters. I started writing with gusto, completed 6 chapters until it all fizzled out. I have no idea why that happened. I stopped writing. Today, when I chanced upon this, stashed away in an ignored corner of my laptop. I re-read it and wondered why I didn't continue. So here is an excerpt from chapter one.

kingSri Chamarajendra Wadiyar X - By Raja Ravi Verma - An intriguing work of art which caught my eye.  

Chapter - One :

The moon shined on casting an eerie glow on the forest. It was a full moon day. Trees stood still as though they had been commanded to do so. Owls hooted and wolfs howled joining the symphony orchestrated by nocturnal insects. A horse galloped steadily, the sound of which disturbed the symphony. The man riding the horse was dressed in olive green as though he was trying to blend into the jungle. His muscular leg was covered with tightly draped green dyed Antariya with a kutcham while his torso was covered with thick black dyed leather tunic that was cut short to his waist. He wore a traditional Satavahana military headgear with flaps covering his ears. His mouth and nose were covered with a black cloth tied to his headgear. It was apparent that the man didn't want to be recognized. His choice of weapon and the locket that hung over his neck seem to betray that intention. He was carrying a sharp sickle fastened to his back. The handle of the sickle was plated in gold and had the engraving of a ship - the emblem of the Satavahana Empire. The golden chain on his neck had a skewed five point star shaped pendant. The centre of the pendant encased a vile looking bluish green liquid. The man apparently belonged to the royalty for gold wasn't really affordable for the working class.

As he approached the edge of the forest, a small village with huts built out of mud loomed into view. The village was surrounded by a fence made out of wooden sticks with sharp edges. The sticks were bound tightly with thick fibre rope.  Small bells were tied to the rope in equal distance with a big bell hanging in centre.The fencing was obviously meant for animals and not for humans aiming to attack the village. The man slowed down and eventually stopped as he approached the fence. He unmounted the horse and flexed his legs and shoulder. With his long legs, he could have easily jumped over the fence without making noise, but he choose to ring the big bell in the centre three times. He repeated the same action twice. It seemed like a specific code.

A scrawny figure walked briskly towards the man from the hut nearest to the fence. As he approached the man, his face drained out looking pale as a ghost.

"Namaste, what brings you to us in this ungodly hour Maharaj Ji?" asked the scrawny villager with folded hands. The man on the horse obviously was none one other than Raja Yagna Sri Satakarni himself. It seemed like the king was a regular visitor to the village.

"Pranam, I'm here to meet Vairini" replied the king.

The villager nodded and parted open the fence. He motioned the king to follow him. Together,they reached the other end of the village which ended in a river stream. The last hut on the line near the bank was largest of all the huts in the village. The circular hut could easily accommodate 10 people at ease. The hut was painted in white colour unlike the other huts. Thin brown cloth hung as makeshift curtains covering the entrance.The lantern burning inside the hut cast a glow on the ground though the tiny window. In spite of hut being large in width and height, the entrance was just enough for the scrawny villager. A small bell was suspended on the entrance of the hut to announce visitors. The villager rung the bell three times and repeated the same twice. Parting the curtain of the entrance, a petite young woman appeared and bowed mechanically without making an eye contact with her visitors. She motioned the king to follow her into the hut while dismissing the villager with a wave. The king entered the hut bending his gigantic frame to fit through the entrance.

The hut was sparsely furnished. Pots of different sizes were stacked neatly on an open wooden shelf that occupied large space. A broad low rise stool (moda) was placed in front the shelf. The woman motioned the king to sit on the stool while she sat cross legged opposite to him.

 The maharaja couldn't take his eyes off the beauty that sat in front of him. Her lustrous black hair was tied up into a bun with wisps of curls falling over her perfectly round olive toned faced. Her eyes, framed by long eye lashes were dark brown and seemed to convey a sense of melancholy. With high cheekbones, a sharp nose and think pink lips, she was the epitome of beauty. Clothed in starched white cotton Antariya and a simple brown blouse, her slender and petite frame was in stark contrast with the man sitting opposite to her.

 "Maharaj Ji, are you going to sit here staring at me all night?" asked the woman in a soft sing-song voice.

"uh...hmm....apologies Vairini. You are too beautiful to not be admired. Sadly I don't have all night" replied the king letting out a sigh.

Vairini chuckled and replied, " Now that we have established you don't have all night, can we get to business?"

"The Sriparvatiyas are closing in faster then I anticipated. The Panchakarni from other locations reported three successive events of attempted thefts which were of course unsuccessful. They are yet to figure out that I am also a part of the brotherhood, but that advantage would be lost soon. It is just a matter of time before they figure that out" explained the exasperated king.

"Isn't that what we anticipated all along? But what worries me more is your search for an heir. You aren't really working on either finding one or fathering one aren't you? I really don't wish to see all the hard-work that my people did going waste Maharaj ji" replied Vairini.

"Vairini, the prospect of matrimonial bliss with any woman other than you seems impossible for me.I would only be cheating some poor woman who would probably marry me with lot of hopes and dreams.I lost my heart to you long ago, but I respect your decision to reject my proposal. As to finding a competent successor, I am diligently working on it. With a war looming yet again, I frankly don't know whom I can trust. " replied the king solemnly.

Vairini let out a sigh and hung her head in sorrow.

The king reached for his chain and pulled it over it head in one swift motion. He held it in his hands and closed his eyes while chanting something inaudible. The king handed the locket to Vairini whose face registered confused with the King's offer.

"Here Vairini this is master key. I want you to have this and safe guard it till I come back for it with a worthy successor in tow. I know it is not your duty to protect my treasure, but I plead you to help for the greater cause of humanity" pleaded the king.

 Vairni took the chain from the king's outstretched. She was careful not to make any physical contact but the king simply tried to hold Vairini's tiny hands with the pendant in her palms as though he sought assurance from her. Frowning deeply, Varini complied with the king. It seemed futile to resist the king as she was physically no match to him.

 Vairini  stood up, breaking the physical contact. She placed the chain inside one of pots on the top row of the shelf.  From another pot, she took out three small cylindrical objects and a chain with the pendant that looked similar to the chain which the king gave. Except the star shaped pendant attached to this chain was slightly more skewed than the original, but this deformity of sorts could be noticed only on keen observation. She then bent to retrieved a parchment which was hidden beneath inside a compartment on the lowest rack plank of the shelf.

 Handing over the chain, Vairini said "This is the exact copy of the key that we initially made while testing the lock mechanism. I had rejected this owing to minor angular deviations but this will do as an replacement to ward off those observant spies hot in pursuit for the original." The king put on the chain without a second thought.

Next, she handed over one of cylindrical object. The object had a small wick like attachment in one end that could be twisted while a conical cap of sorts rested on the top of it. It could easily was compact enough to be hidden inside the King's broad palm while it seemed a bit large in Vairini's tiny hands. She motioned the king to follow her outside. She placed the cylinder on the ground and pulled the wick while also giving it a twist. The object shot up about 10 feet above the ground and burst into brilliant red flame that seemed to light up the entire sky. The king stood rooted to the ground gaping at the display of firework that strangely didn't give one bit of a noise like whizzing or flaming arrows did. Vairini smiled at the king's reaction and went on to explain,

"Magnificent! isn't it? These objects are still being tested. The one that I gave will go up to 60 feet. Given that our village isn't really far from your kingdom, I want you to use these to signal me if you are in mortal danger. This is the only way I can know if you have fallen so that I can ensure that my people escape. If the Sriparvatiyas get to you, it won't take long for them to trace us to the eggs. I pray to Lord Rudra that it won't come to using this, but one can never be sure. These are very stable, but handle with care" warned Vairini. She then went back inside the hut and took her seat while the king followed her still looking at the spot in the sky where the cylinder burst into flames.

Note : This story is not  historical fiction purely. This excerpt is an unedited version. Constructive criticism welcome. What I really need, I realized, is motivation. External motivation to be exact because self-motivation isn't working at all. 


Friday, September 23, 2016

#420 : Day One : Cinderella (2015) - The Movie


I'm surprised at myself. Cinderella never attracted me as a kid. The story didn't make an impression like Akbar-Birbal tale did. Today, this movie - the adaptation of the famous fable, one dialog from the movie to be precise struck a chord.  Television and me, we aren't friends really. I normally watch whatever my dad or sister watches when we all eat together. It's out daily dinner ritual. Today, my sister was flicking away channels and settled upon this movie for the very color of Cinderella's dress - Bright and beautiful blue by the way.

Cinderella is a 2015 American film adaptation of the fable of the same name starring Cate Blanchette as Ella/Cinderella and Richard Madden (Robb Stark from Game of Thrones) as Prince Kit. More about the movie here - Wikipedia

The movie was as simple, neat and heart-warming. The costumes, the dialog and the narration in general was good. I'm no movie buff or a critic, but it felt really good to watch this movie. (despite TNEB's redundant effort to ruin it)

Fun Fact : The blue dress that Cinderella wears to the ball in the movie is 270 yards long and has 10,000 Swarovski crystals embedded (by hand).

Edit One : Did I mention? Helena Bonham Carter, played fairy godmother and it was absolute hilarious to see her decked up as a fairy. Oh and she is the narrator too.

Edit Two : Richard Madden - *drool-worthy*


#419 : 100 Days of Blogging - Introduction


I first discovered the concept of blogging when I was in class 11. Since then I have created and deleted enough blogs to realize I need one constant place to actually write. A diary was doing just fine until recent time when my handwriting went for a toss and mobile apps seemed to help me solve the purpose of keeping a diary. Thus was born this blog. A’louest – My blog has morphed into a perfect digital diary to share my thoughts which could be shared in public without kicking up a controversy or divulging my deepest fears and dreams.

When a friend of mine posted this 100 days blogging challenge she took up, I wanted to jump the bandwagon. I don’t really blog as much as I want to out of sheer laziness. After all, there are 24 hours in a day, writing a 300 word blog post shouldn’t ideally take up more than 30 minutes after considering my typing speed and the speed of my internet connection. A pessimistic push from a friend and self-doubt made me give up that thought of joining in the challenge.  I had no intention of posting something for the mere sake of it given that I had a lot of plans career wise and otherwise too chalked out till the end of this year.

All I needed was a spark. That spark came in the most unexpected form – A movie - Cinderella to be precise. As a child, I wasn’t attracted to fairy tales. Cinderella and Snow white weren’t just my thing. I preferred Akbar – Birbal, Suppandi and Tenali Raman. One dialogue in the movie struck a chord – Be courageous and kind. Cinderella was courageous and kind all along. The other dialog which re-affirmed my decision was this – It takes great courage to be seen as we truly are. I decided I need to buck up and find time. I know the first day of the remaining hundred days will be over in a minutes. Better late than never!

What can you expect from my posts from today? Pictures, my thoughts, quotes I loved and some reviews/tutorials. Just me.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

#418 : Love Bi the way by Bhaavna Arora : Review

Curious cover, strange title and interesting blurb – In short marketing done really well at the outset – hallmark recipe for a potential bestseller. That is exactly how I saw the book when it came up for review. My curiosity got the better out of me and I signed up. To say this book was one big surprise is one big understatement.

Rihana and Zara – our two protagonists are young women fighting their own battles and confronting their inner devils on a daily basis. While Rihana is like fire – outgoing, unfazed and charming, Zara is the quintessential ice queen who is mellow, timid yet strong in her own ways. They live under the same house named “cupid”. They search for perfect relationships with the opposite gender. However, does their search yield a proper result?

The cover, the title and the last line of the blurb was such a giveaway to potential twist. Nevertheless, even if the book was packaged in a different way, the initial characterization and the interaction between the protagonists makes the reader anticipate that twist. Or maybe the writer intended to keep it that while making the reader realize that they were perfect for each other immaterial of the gender and it was just a matter of time and realization. The writer handled the whole LGBT part of the story surprisingly well, in a sense that they didn’t seem puke-worthy or awkward like it is generally expected. However, the climax could have been handled better. As in I felt as if Zara and Rihana were still two besties who were comfortable in their own skin.

The story line, the characterization and the narration were perfect. No peeve points there at all. The narration was actually refreshing with quirky dialogs. If only the cover, the title and the blurb were crafted better, the book would have been an absolute winner.

MY SAY: Well written piece of Indian fiction.


About the Book

GENRE: Fiction


FORMAT: Digital

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from Author Paradise in exchange for an honest review. Thanks guys!

About the Writer

Dr. Bhavna Arora is a new-generation writer who is an avid learner from life. She is a young enthusiast who has two MBA degrees and a Doctorate from Pittsford University in Leadership to her credit.
A philanthropist at heart, she has been sponsoring an underprivileged boy's education. She also works closely with an institute for special children.
You can visit her at
Write to her at

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

#417 : Of fraandships and friendships

Due to the lack of proper motivation, I kept procrastinating the task of writing something that has been wrecking my brain for quite sometime now - About friendships in the modern era of Facebook. Mahesh, a friend of mine from a blogger club I am a part of, posted a poem about true friendships last week. After reading that, I wondered, if I could really call him a friend. It's not about him as a person of course and it's not just him. It's just that I'm not the type to brood over people or their behavior, but of late, I find myself contemplating on how I don't really connect instantly with people online and make fraandships!

There is this friend of mine, a real friend, whom I have known for quite sometime now. We interacted on a daily basis and that's how we became friends in the first place.Our common traits and mutual interests got us together. We've had our fair share of tussles and misunderstandings. However, there came a point when I wondered if all that was true. One misunderstanding and that person changed completely. That person went on to call random people as best friends, gave them cute nicknames, shared anecdotes and inside jokes - all on Facebook. I know for a fact that they  haven't met each other in real-life. I thought that person wasn't the kind to make friendships so quickly. 4 months was all it took to 'move on'. I thought I knew that person better. I know I sound melodramatic, but I wonder. Do people change or do we see what we choose to see about them? I digress.

Is it really that simple to trust a person enough to call them a  best friend, especially if you don't interact with them in person frequently or worst, haven't met them in person?  The digital world gives you plenty of means to mask the person you really are. It's easy to pretend when it's all words and pictures. Is it easy to find companionship and love? Is it easy to find a person who would be there for you when you've hit rock bottom? Is it easy to find a person who know can take your darkest secrets to grave? Apparently, it is. One click, share, like or comment and Voila! you are the next best friend. Chat 24X7 with them, wish them on their birthdays, send funny videos and  who knows you might make way into their heart and find yourself a boyfriend or girlfriend. Sounds depressingly pessimistic, but that's how it is apparently.

So you don't make friends on Facebook you ask? Yes I do. However, the difference being my maturity of not going on a PDA spree about how "awesomatic" friends we are. I don't call them friends, I call them acquaintances. Most importantly, I don't do it for self-gratification. I've been on the social media platforms for long enough to understand that I don't want to be famous. I don't ditch my actual friends to make space for new people in my life. If they deserve a space, they will make it immaterial of the hows and whys! I've met the best of human class online. They sound polite and very civilized, however, are they what they claim to be in person? One can only trust and hope.

Friendship has become such a loose term. I keep getting chat requests from random strangers who are seeking 'fraandships'. For all I know they can be rapists or  murderers or just a lonely soul genuinely seeking an ear to talk. Even the best of a relationship nurtured from a young age evaporates under testing circumstances. What chance does one made over words and pictures have? I'm just being a realist.

If you have so much to criticize and despair, why are you still on social media platforms you ask?! Why do you blog and share it with various groups you ask? Human evolution. How else do I catch up?


#416 : The Madonna of Notre Dame by Alexis Ragougneau, Katherine Gregor(Translator) : Review

A young girl in provocative clothes is found murdered in the Notre Dame Cathedral just after the feast of assumption festival.  A blonde man, who has an unhealthy obsession with Virgin Mary is arrested for the murder as he had abused her for dressing inappropriately during the procession. Amidst all the chaos, there is just one person who is convinced that the cops have the wrong person. Will the truth escape and justice be served?

The story was based on one fundamental concept that many people fail to understand. Temptation and the need to be treated with love can drive any human being to lose their self-control. After all, priests are all humans. It is indeed unpardonable when a priest, a man sworn to spread the tenants of a particular religion, gives into the cardinal sin of lust, but after all, he is a human being too.  The narration switches from character to character initially but at one point, one character, Father Kern becomes the prime narrator. The plot is divided day wise – this is a rather interesting way to split chapters and the writer has perfectly executed was intended. I was surprised to note that this is a work of translation. Needless to say, the translation was perfect in keeping the emotional quotient of the book intact. Never felt like a translated work.
The story initially felt a bit predictable and boring but, when it switched to Father Kern’s narration, the pace picked up and the plot became unpredictable. The characterization was perfectly done. Each character was developed was steadily developed with care. One peeve point of the book was the story about that man from Army. I felt a bit lost and couldn’t understand as to why that was there in first place.

MY SAY: Perfect read for your weekend.


About the Book

GENRE: Fiction


FORMAT: Digital

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from France Book tours via the publishers - New Vessel Press. Thank you :)

To know more about the book, do visit the spotlight post here


#415 : The Madonna of Notre Dame by Alexis Ragougneau, Katherine Gregor(Translator) : Spotight

Alexis Ragougneau

on Tour September 12-21 with The Madonna of Notre Dame

The Madonna of Notre Dame

(thriller) Release date: October 11, 2016 at New Vessel Press ISBN: 978-1-939931-39-3 210 pages Website Goodreads  


Fifty thousand believers and photo-hungry tourists jam into Notre Dame Cathedral on August 15 to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. The next morning, a stunningly beautiful young woman clothed all in white kneels at prayer in a cathedral side chapel. But when an American tourist accidentally bumps against her, her body collapses. She has been murdered: the autopsy reveals disturbing details. Police investigators and priests search for the killer as they discover other truths about guilt and redemption in this soaring Paris refuge for the lost, the damned, and the saved. The suspect is a disturbed young man obsessed with the Virgin Mary who spends his days hallucinating in front of a Madonna. But someone else knows the true killer of the white-clad daughter of Algerian immigrants. This thrilling novel illuminates shadowy corners of the world’s most famous cathedral, shedding light on good and evil with suspense, compassion and wry humor.


Alexis Ragougneau Alexis Ragougneau is a playwright and The Madonna of Notre Dame is his first novel. He has worked in Notre Dame Cathedral helping monitor tourist crowds and knows well its infinite secrets and the forgotten souls who linger in its darkest corners.

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