Sunday, July 27, 2014

Black is powerful

"Go buy your things of your choice, but make sure there's not a trace of black in your clothes when you buy them."

"I know."

"And in your watch."


"And your footwear and handbag."

Glaring silence.

"And your travel bag..."

"Oh come on!"

Yes, it happens in many Indian homes. Many people consider black inauspicious in weddings and some other auspicious occasions. Although I follow this culture but I don't understand this. Indian people consider black teeka a shield against evil and yet they consider it inappropriate. Sometimes, I feel bad how some people associate black with negativity.

But I just love black. I feel it represents power and confidence. It's beautiful and stylish! It's complete. Black was one of the first colours used by artists Neolithic cave paintings.

I prefer almost everything black. Here I am listing five black things I want to own.

Montblanc Pen: When I was in college, I liked Reynolds. Now I use Parker (And many other random pens). I have used Pierre Cardin (Didn't like it) but I have never used Montblanc. When I saw  Montblanc writer's edition here, I want to own one!

Black handmade journal I just love their earthy look and texture!

A black sleek convertible car: When I was a kid, I loved red cars. I always wanted to own a red car. Now I own silver but I want to have a black convertible car! I find black sleek cars royal and aristocratic. How joyful ride it could be if it's convertible! It reminds me of a song Kwabon Ke Parinde from Zindagi na milegi dobaara.

Black Pearl: It is mysterious and I think it'd be mesmerizing!

Black Rose: No, I am not fond of roses (Sounds absurd?) but I have never seen a black rose. I somehow couldn't believe that a rose could be black. So, I want to see it.

This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review: Romantic Resonance by Ketaki Sane

The blurb and book cover of Romantic Resonance by Ketaki Sane (Leadstart Publishing house) is interesting enough to grab the copy. I really liked the way it started.

"Falling in love is easier because firstly, it's a fall, it follows Newton's Law of gravity and secondly, it's a teamwork, involving two blind people. Rising in a career is often a task because it goes against Newton's Law of gravity, and it is an individual effort." I found these lines really interesting.

The story of Romantic Resonance starts with Arya who is shattered by her break up. She has a wonderful friend like Dhruv who supports her and tries to make her feel better (But she refuses to listen). This story is about the side effects of love and positive effects of friendship. And most importantly, it tells about power of believing!

As I said, this book starts well but as it proceeds, it becomes dull. The author has dragged a single subject too much that it somehow becomes annoying. The writing style is nice but the approach is a little immature. Narration is weak. The book is filled with dialogues (More than necessary) and they take away the charm and stability of a story. Characters are nice but situations have not been sketched well.

Well, I don't want to sound blunt, but for me, it was not an exciting read although it's my favourite genre. I think the author should have taken some more time to polish the story line and writing style.

This book is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Programme. Visit this site for free books for review. You can follow them on Twitter for interesting book updates

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book Review: In Custody by Anita Desai

In Custody is my first book by Anita Desai. I'm glad I read her. If I could express my thoughts about this book in one line, I would say "It was a learning experience!"

The story of In Custody is about Deven, a lecturer of Hindi, his favourite Urdu poet Nur and Urdu poetry. Deven's friend Murad, who runs an Urdu magazine, thinks Urdu literature is on the verge of extinction and asks him to do an interview of legendary poet Nur. Deven finds it a golden opportunity and visits his favourite poet. But the gloominess and harsh reality of Nur's life leaves him shocked and agonized.

This book is a melancholic journey that shows rude faces of friendship and marriage. The narration and plot of this book was intense and a little complex for me. Narration is very descriptive and sometimes I found it tiring. Basically, this book demands depth and patience. Writing is beautiful! Words flow like a stream.

Honestly, the story is dark and gloomy.  I won't say this book was gripping or I enjoyed reading it but beautiful writing style acts as sunshine. I think every (Avid) reader and writer must read Anita Desai's book at least once. But if you like reading light fiction this book is not for you.

In Custody was made into a film, starring Shashi Kapoor and Om Puri.

I got this book from Random House India for an honest review.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Are you suffering from "Bloggers Block"?

Not a single idea flashes into my mind these days. I don't find any interesting topic for writing. I'm too busy to update my blog. I cannot assemble my thoughts and ideas.

These are some excuses for not writing (a blog post), and you call it bloggers block?

Well, I think it's okay when sometimes you don't want to write. It's perfectly okay to take a break. But in case if it takes a long time to bounce back and you feel bad for not writing, here are some effective ways to beat the "Bloggers Block"!

Visit prompt sites and participate. We always need some inspiration. For writing inspiration you can visit prompt sites like yes, Write Tribe and many others listed in the sidebar of my blog. The provide interesting words, sentences and images.

Observe and listen. Sometimes, a simple conversation or some interesting view or even some photos in newspapers and magazine can trigger your thoughts and imagination. I think travelling boosts your thinking! So, always keep your eyes, ears and mind open.

Write about your Bloggers Block. Yes, if nothing triggers your writing, write about it. Why you can't write? How do you feel? What keeps you away from writing? Anything. Many days back, I wrote a post, just blabbering why I couldn't I write and how I felt. And trust me it kick-started my blogging. You may find it odd or childish but bachchon wali baaten karo, tumhen achchha lagega! :)

Visit different blogs and comment. See what others are writing about, and post a comment if you like it. It may stir your vision and thoughts. To be honest, it will invite bloggers to your blog. You'll receive comments and feel enthusiastic about blogging. 

Jot down the instant ideas. Yes, sometimes interesting ideas or lines flash into mind for fleeting second, and if you don't write them immediately, they tend to disappear. It's frustrating and inhibits the interest of writing. Keep a pen and a pad near your bed. An idea may strike while you're trying to sleep. Trust me, ideas tend to strike at weird moments. Write it down. Now, you have a substance for writing!

Read. Yes, read everything you get your hands on. Habit of reading generates ideas and triggers thinking process. Read an article, story or novel and write your view, like you can write book reviews.

Click photos and write about them. Pictures evoke thoughts and emotions!

And if you suffer from Writer's  Block quite often, and you don't have a blog, it's time to start a blog. It's an amazing platform to unlock your thoughts and imagination!

Written for Write Tribe
Sharing with Theme Thursday

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Review: The Helpline by Uday Mane

Finished reading "The Helpline" by "Uday Mane" (Leadstart Publishing House). The first thing I noticed was of course book cover, and I instantly liked that! It's very smart and apt.

Sameer Masand is recluse, and has become suicidal as the ghost of his past chases him and fills him with guilt, causing mental turmoil. Neha, his best friend takes care of him, and one day she casually suggests him to call some helpline. Sameer somehow follows her suggestion and gets connected with a girl called Rachael. She talks to him tenderly and listens to him patiently. Their 12 hours long conversation, when Sameer shares his agony with Rachael, changes Sameer's life.

Who is Rachael? What is the truth of Sameer's past? How a single conversation changes Sameer's life?

Read this book to know. This is a nice and engrossing read!

As the author says, this is not a story about falling in love but is a story of rising from a failed love story.

The writing style is very nice and interesting, and I must say that the author has crafted this book really well. I liked the way he has captured the emotions like innocence, guilt, pain...

There are some thoughtful quotations like:

Spend some time with yourself, and you learn to live alone.

Sometimes, life gives you options you cannot choose from.

There were some distracting and confusing elements, but the gist of the story is very positive. It's about love, loss, friendship and hope. I liked the peom and two short stories (Especially The Joker), incorporated nicely. The end is very different. Overall, for me it was an interesting and intriguing read. As a first time author, Uday Mane has done a commendable job!

Note: Proceedings of Rs 5 per book will be used for child welfare through the Rotary Foundation. 

How thoughtful!

I received this book from the author for an honest review. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Review for Femina Book Club!

"Light and Lucid"

 “Just in case the casual reader is expecting this to be the story of a torrid love affair with a librarian, I will discourage him or her from reading further by confessing that I have never made love behind a bookshelf, with a librarian or anyone else.”

I couldn’t resist a smile while reading the wonderful introduction of Love Among the Bookshelves by Ruskin Bond. It’s not a fictional love story, a star crossed lover’s tale or a witty romance. In this book, the author talks about his love affair with books; books that inspired him to become a writer. He recalls how, as a child, he discovered an avid reader in him.

It’s a unique combination of memoir, short stories and excerpts from Ruskin Bond’s favourite classic authors.

The narration is very expressive. The writing is light and lucid, which in turn keeps you hooked till the last page. The book cover itself is lovely!

For Ruskin Bond fans, and those who like reading classics, this book is sheer delight. Even though I’m not much into reading classics, I found it thoroughly enjoyable and fast-paced. I loved the excerpt from Richard Jefferies’s The Story of My Heart.

It seemed so apt that a legendary writer like Ruskin Bond should write about other legendary writers. Read this one if you love the familiar smell of libraries and classics.

Written for Femina Book Club. You may visit Femina India and Femina India FB Page for interesting articles.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Beautiful food and a lovely bond

Mitali’s tears had dried by the time she reached her ‘new home’. Lots of people were waiting to greet them on the main gate. Her mother-in-law was standing at the centre with a puja thali.

Mother-in-law! She was slightly apprehensive about this relationship as she had always seen her mother and grandmother arguing with each other.

Next day was reception. Full of light, music, and exotic foods! These days,  Mitali was getting VIP treatment. She had nothing to do. Just chatting, lying, and getting compliments and food! #Beautifulfood! 

Kheer, sweetened with Khazoor (Date) ka gur and garnished with kaju and pista, was so different and delicious! Her least favourite Bhindi tasted nice. Steaming Matar pulao was garnished with fried onion, grated beetroot and carrot. Many such interesting and different dishes came to Mitali's platter and she was enjoying. And every time, elegant  Borosil  dishes, platesbowls and glasses adorned the eight seater dining table. How nice presentation makes the food more beautiful!

Mitali’s husband was loving and caring. Family members were friendly and made her comfortable. But her mother-in-law seemed a little quiet and reserved. There was a cook in the kitchen but her mother-in-law was always around, giving instructions. She was amazed to know that all the delicacies she enjoyed were her mother-in-law's recipes. Mitali loved how she herself cooked carrot or dalia soup or sweet potato kheer for her 2 years old granddaughter.

On fifth day, there was a kitchen ritual when a daughter-in-law enters the kitchen for the first time, and prepares a sweet dish for everyone. When Mitali entered the kitchen, accompanied by her sister-in-law, her mother-in-law was already there. The first thing Mitali noticed was a large mixing bowl filled with fish and she was little confused.

“What happened? You don’t like fish? Actually, we consider it auspicious. ” Her mother-in-law asked softly.

“No, I mean yes, I do. But I don’t know how to cook them.” Mitali said.

Her mother-in-law laughed heartily. Mitali saw her laughing for the first time. She looked beautiful.

“It’s okay beta. You don’t have to cook them. It’s just a ritual.” She said and paused for a moment. “You just add haldi in this bowl and crush these mustard seeds and garlic on the silbatta just once. Rest Rupa will do. Actually I don’t like using blenders for this masala.”

Mitali smiled and did so. “Now put a piece of fish in the pan.” Her mother-in-law said after a while.
 “Now you can go and rest.”

“Err, if you don’t mind, can I stay here?” Mitali asked hesitantly.

“Oh, yes! Of course. It’s your kitchen beta.” Mitali's mother-in-law said, smiling.

“Thanks! I really liked the food here, especially Kheer. It was different and yummy.” Mitali said.

“Oh, really! I know at least six different recipes of kheer and seven types of fish curry! I’ll share all my recipes with you.” Mitali’s mother-in-law said and patted her cheek tenderly. Mitali was touched.

Such affectionate behavior made Mitali’s apprehensions fade. She tried to learn. Mustard- garlic –red chilli paste, chopped tomatoes, kasoori methi, peas, coriander leaves, for tasty fish curry. 

Dinning table looked so colourful!  Fish curry, sweet smelling steaming basmati rice, a special mint corriander chutney, mishit doi, aloo posto...

Mitali loved the aura of togetherness at the table. Her mother-in-law smiled at her affectionately.

With these beautiful foods, a lovely bond was burgeoning gradually, and Mitali was all set to connect!

Written for Indiblogger My Beautiful Contest in association with

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A candle light dinner?

Tavishi is having heart to heart chat with her little friend, Bhawna, daughter of her previous neighbor who is visiting her in summer vacation. Shekhar enters the room and announces something unexpected. “Vishal wants to meet you. He wanted to come over and…and I invited him tomorrow for dinner.” He says rather sheepishly.

Vishal is Shekhar’s closest friend. He could not come for the wedding as he was abroad.

Tavishi smiles. “It’s okay.”

“Are you sure? I couldn’t refuse…”

“Oho, I’m pregnant, not ill. Don’t worry. I’ll manage.” Tavishi says with mock annoyance though she likes Shekhar’s concern.

Tavishi got married eleven months back, and now she is three months pregnant. She remembers how everyone was delighted to hear this news. But, at the same time, expectations of having a male child from her in-laws bothers her a little. Just a little, because Shekhar has no such expectations. He, just like Tavishi, wants a healthy baby irrespective of gender.

“I’ll help chachi!” Bhawna puts in immediately and assuredly.

That night weather changes drastically, and a violent storm hits the city. By the next morning, dust has spread like thick mats in the entire house. Slightly irritated, Tavishi asks her house help to clean the house thoroughly.

Tavishi hands a list to Shekhar. Vishal, though very down-to-earth, comes from a very wealthy background. Tavishi wants everything perfect.

She is finishing little household chores, and Bhawna is moving like her shadow, talking about numerous things. Tavishi is replying with patience and smile. Main problem is that the electricity is gone for long hours. Tavishi takes out her new Borosil Dinner Set. This is perfect time to use this elegant set. She thinks. Right then doorbell chimes.

“Must be Shekhar. How thoughtful of him to come early.” Tavishi thinks, smiling. Indeed, it is Shekhar, but who’s this tall handsome man smiling beside him. “Oh, no! Is it Vishal? Why so early? I am not prepared!” Tavishi shrieks inwardly, but flashes a broad smile instead.

Tavishi opens the door, and Vishal greets her pleasantly and chivalrously. He presents her a gift pack. It’s getting dark, and a dying emergency light is blinking in the house. She feels odd, and immediately switches on the light and fan in the drawing room. She wanted to save the battery of inverter for the comfort of the special guest.

She lights a candle in the kitchen and Bhawna joins her. After serving light refreshments, Tavishi thinks to quickly fix a starter, as she has not prepared the dinner yet. Not her fault. Vishal is an early bird.

Recently, Tavishi has seen some quick fix recipe on Khana Khazana, and she decides to make a soup. Weather has turned cool and it would be a smart choice. Bhawna squeals at this idea, and she asks how she can help. Tavishi is touched at the thoughtfulness of this little girl. After serving a steaming soup in a lovely bowl, she gets back to the kitchen. She spots praise in Shekhar’s eyes.

“How boring!” Tavishi mutters to herself, and curses the electricity as she opens the kitchen window. The greenery outside is blanketed in darkness. A gush of cool breeze hits her, and soothes her mind a little. Suddenly, she hears a lovely song. Bhawna has started the FM on the mobile phone. She places it on the fridge. Bhawna is just twelve but sometimes this little girl amazes Tavishi with her wisdom. 

The ambience was different now. Cool breeze, lovely songs and Bhawna as a nice helping hand and companion. Bhawna also wears apron, just like Tavishi, and beats yogurt for raita. Peels cucumber for salad, dices paneer for shahi paneer, and says, “It feels so good na, chachi, even though there's no electricity!” Tavishi didn't realize when she finished preparing dinner. Meanwhile, she even managed to talk to her husband’s friend.

But Tavishi is not sure about the taste and look of the food. Preparing dinner for a guest in a candle light, huh? At least she has nice dinner set. She thinks as she sets the dinner table. She switches on the light and fan in the dining space but whoa! The inverter battery has no life now. The house is plunged in the darkness. There will be a forced candle light dinner. It is so embarrassing!

Tavishi lights three large candles on the table, and cordially (And sheepishly) invites her guest to the dining hall. After dinner, Tavishi offers coffee. As she enters with the tray, Vishal smiles and says, “You took a lot of trouble for me.”

“Oh no. It’s nothing. I’m glad you came.” Tavishi says with a smile.

Vishal sips the coffee and says, “I must tell you Shekhar, bhabhiji has great culinary skills! The presentation, food, and everything. You’re lucky, man! Thank you so much for a lovely dinner bhabhiji.”

Tavishi could see a proud gleam in her husband’s eyes, and feels gladly relieved. “You’re most welcome.” She says.

“Who’s this girl?” Vishal asks, looking at Bhawna.

“She is a dear friend.” Tavishi squeezes Bhawna’s hand tenderly.

After Vishal left, Shekhar comes to the kitchen. “Thank you Tavishi for managing everything wonderfully! Now girls, you have your dinner, and I’ll clean the kitchen.” He says.

Bhawna laughs, and Tavishi smiles at his thoughtfulness. “Honestly, I felt no strain having Bhawna with me in the kitchen. She was a great help and entertainment.”

“Really Tavishi! We should have a daughter, just like Bhawna. Girls are lovely, and make home beautiful.” Shekhar says, and Tavishi cannot help admiring her husband’s thought. She inexplicably feels happy and light.

Written for Indiblogger My Beautiful Food Contest in association with Borosil

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review: Bringing Up Your Baby by Komal Porecha

The initial few pages of Bringing Up Your Baby by Komal Porecha brought a big smile. It was such a cute start when author's twins and dog talk so thoughtfully. And I loved the cover! Very apt and sweet.

As the name suggests, this book is a non-fictional, comprehensive parenting guide for new/expectant moms. The author shares her experience with some very useful tips by expert. It covers the very crucial (though it sounds casual) period of pregnancy to the first year of your baby. The myths and the facts. The do's and don't's. every little thing! It gives an informative and important details about breastfeeding.

I really liked the writing style of the author. Clean, light, straight, and humourous. The author shares her personal experience and what "Dr Reddy says". It also carries some pictures of development charts. List of things you'll need for you and your baby. The book enlightens about Autism, that is very thoughtful.

The book is very informative. But I personally felt that it slightly lacked in emotional values. I mean can a mother refuse to see her newborn because she is tired and wants to sleep? How could a mother choose to send her newborn with nurses because she wants to sleep (When there is family support)? I was searching for some tenderness and emotion from the point of view of a new mother but there was none. It is just filled with information and knowledge that is of course very useful. I understand it may get difficult with twins but still... Maybe, it is to add humour, but it didn't work for me.

But overall, it is comprehensive and truly a guide. I really thank Ms Porecha for writing such an interesting and useful book! It's a must have/read for every new/expecting moms.

I got this book from Random House India for an honest review.