Saturday, January 31, 2015

No Pimples, No Marks

Garnier Pure Active Neem

After a long tiring day, Meera returned from her office. The moment she entered the house, her beautiful step mother shouted. "You have been rejected, again."

It was not unusual. Yesterday, the prospective groom, Ajay Malhotra, arrived with his family to see her. Just, they were too quick to respond.

"What's my fault if boys doesn't find me attractive?" Meera said, trying hard to hide her annoyance.

"Go, look at your face. I'm tired of this fuss." Her step-mother said, and then murmured something that Meera couldn't hear as she headed towards her room.

Strange! Everyone knew that Meera was an educated, well-mannered, good-natured girl, still people judged her by her looks.

Meera splashed cold water over her face and looked herself in the mirror. One of her pimples was bleeding. "Can pimple be a put off? Is it making me less attractive? Maybe people fail to see real me because of this jungle." Meera thought.

Next day, while returning from the office, she remembered that she had to buy a cough syrup for her brother. She entered a medical store. While waiting for the storekeeper to attend her, she spotted Garnier Pure Active Neem facewash.

The word neem reminded her of her childhood and her grandma. There was a neem tree in front of her ancestral home. Her grandma used to call her for a homemade besan and neem facepack. She would tell her about the amazing benefits of neem. While her cousins happily encircled grandma, Meera would make faces and run away.

The storekeeper brought the medicine and handed her the bill. Meera left her memories back. "Give me that Garnier Pure Active Neem facewash." She said.

After few days, she noticed the positive effect of her skin. Her skin looked clean and she felt really good. She started to get compliments. One day, while waiting at the bus stop she saw a man, who looked very familiar. Yes! He was the same man who came to see her just few days back, and rejected her. Ajay Malhotra. She averted her glance.

After a while, he approached her. "Waiting for the bus?" He said.

"I think it's a bus stop." Meera replied. He smiled sheepishly.

"Come, I'll drop you." He said.

"No, thanks. My bus has already arrived. Thanks by the way." Meera said and left.

After two days, Kamala, who arranged marriages, came to Meera's house unexpectedly. "There is a message from Malhotra's, you know the last alliance..." Kamala said to Meera's step-mother while sipping tea. "Ajay is ready to marry your Meera..."

"But, I am not ready!" Meera interrupted.

"But why?" Her mother shouted.

"Because, I don't want another pimple in my life. No Pimples, No Marks." Meera smiled and left for the office. Life seemed so fresh!

This post is written for Indiblogger Garnier Pure Active Neem Contest in association with Garnier.

Pleasant and Presentable

Garnier Pure Active Neem

The hall is abuzz with clamour.

“What are you wearing? Choose a nice outfit. You have to look pretty.” Rhea notices Ritika, the mentor, shouting at a girl.

“May I have your attention please?” Ritika calls out and the hall instantly turns silent. “Okay. See, this show is of national level. The world is going to see you on the television. You are good singers, alright, but you must look pleasant and presentable. There is a thing called “X-Factor, you know that?” Ritika finishes confidently.

The hall again fills with murmurs. A sliver of dismay crosses Rhea’s face. She touches her face and feels many small, big, pointed, sticky ridges.  Her oily pimpled face. Nothing works. Her expectation sinks.

“How can I look pleasant with this clumsy face? Dusky complexion is not a problem but at least it should be clean and pimple-free. No pimples No marks.” Rhea thinks.

Someone calls her name and breaks the chain of her nervous thoughts. Now it’s her turn to perform. She feels a little low. She wishes Ritika hasn’t mentioned looks. At least not now.

After her performance that went well, she is sitting in a corner, listening to others. Now, it's time to announce the results. The announcer is calling out the names of selected contestants. There are so many good-looking and smart contestants chuckling around. Rhea hoists her bag and gets out of the hall. She is in the corridor when she hears her name. She halts with a jolt. "What about looking pleasant?" She thinks.

The announcer calls her name again. She rushes back to the hall. After the announcement is made; everyone heads towards the exit, talking about their success. Some contestants are  excitedly talking over their mobile phones. Rhea sinks in the reality. Finding herself among the selected contestants when she was not expecting at all makes her emotional. Two fat tears escape her eyes. No one is looking at her. Who would?

"What's wrong?" Someone says and she swirls back. Ritika is standing behind. Rhea dashes off her tears, feeling embarrassed.

"No, nothing."

"Then? Crying is your hobby?" Ritika asks tartly. "You are selected I guess?"

"Yes. Actually, I wasn't expecting my name." Rhea says.

"But you performed well. You have a nice voice."

"But you said something about looking pleasant and I..."

"Ah, that's right! Stage presence is really important, but we can't ignore the talent for that. And, you are talented."

Rhea says nothing. "I think you are worried about your pimples. They are..."

"Yes. Nothing works. Dunno what to do. I even got a series of facial done..."

"Facial? At this age?" Ritika frowns. "Okay, you don't worry about your pimples. You just focus on your singing. Leave your pimple worries on Garnier Pure Active Neem Facewash.  It works. And, there is no rocket science. I hope you know the amazing benefits of neem. Don't you?" Ritiks says, smiling and leaves.

This post is the part of Indiblogger Garnier Pure Active Neem contest in association with Garnier.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cooking Goals

I am not fond of cooking. But being a wife and a mother, it's nearly impossible to stay away from kitchen. I have realized that cooking special meals is interesting and now I look for interesting (Read quick:)) and nutritious recipes. I fondly watch Mother's Care and Health Challenge on Khana Khazana and Food Food respectively. And some shows on Fox Life Channel.

There is a good thing about my cooking that whenever or whatever I cook or try to cook generally turns out well. I make really nice Shahi Paneer, Kadhi, Samosa, Gulab Jamun, Palak Paneer, Chaat, Bread Pakora, and Pao Bhaaji. Recently, one of my friends shared her recipe of (Healthier version of) Dahi Bhalle and I made it successfully!

I so wanted to learn Dosa and Sambhar as I love South Indian food. But every time I tried it, it would taste like any other dal that smelled like sambhar (Of course due to sambhar masala and curry leaves). I have a tendency to compare my dishes with restaurant made foods.

Recently, I saw a post on Facebook by Saru Singhal in which she said that she successfully completed the challenge of 30 days 30 different breakfast recipes. It was amazing! I casually asked her about sharing recipes and she was so kind to response with those recipes. I am so thankful to her that she is taking trouble to writing those recipes (That I wanted) for me. Looking forward to Thepla and Dhokla. Utthapam turned out really well. I am planning to make dosa and sambhar. I hope it turns out well.

And now, my cooking goals are Pizza and Cakes.  Anyone reading this? Please share your interesting and different recipes and tips and tricks to make regular meals interesting.

Sharing with ABC Wednesday

Monday, January 26, 2015

Slumber of Sadness

Unfairness of destiny
Monuments of failure
Torture and suck up all the hope
Engrossed in dismay
You forget to rekindle
Life seems so ugly that eyes refuse to see
Refuse to search the hidden beauty, maybe
But, you never know
Beauty lies somewhere
Under wraps, in the multi-layered destiny
It may kiss you
Touch you tenderly
Like a breath of fresh air
And wake you from the slumber of sadness

Written For: The Mag
                            Poets United 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book Review: Four Miles to Freedom by Faith Johnston

I'm not much into non-fiction but Our Moon Has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita (Random House India) stirred my interest. When I read the reviews of Four Miles to Freedom by Faith Johnston, some people said that it's more like fiction, and honestly this fact raised my interest.

Four Miles to Freedom tells an adventurous tale of a brave escape from a POW camp in Rawalpindi. After being shot, when Flight Lieutenant Dilip Parulkar plans to escape from the camp, he is not alone. Malvinder Singh Grewal and Harish Sinhji come along.

The book is very well researched. It is based on interviews with eight Indian fighter pilots who helped prepare the escape. The writing is clean and crisp. The narration creates a real imagery and it somehow transports you that era. There are several terms, names and incidental timings that some readers may find difficult to absorb.

The book is more informative than entertaining. The book cover is apt and intriguing! The book encloses some lovely, rare Black & White pictures.

I liked the lines from a poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling:

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same

Overall, the book is a journey of courage, bravery and determination. If you like reading non-fiction, you should go for it, but if you like reading fiction, especially light fiction, this book is not for you.

I have received this book from Random House India (Random Reads) for an honest review.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Chilling Population

It’s chilling January. Standing in the balcony of my friend’s apartment, stuffing my hands in the pocket of my over-coat, I notice a tiny house.

I watch four children of different age frolicking around. A young married woman is washing clothes in the open bathroom (Situated outside the house). Two teenage girls are sitting together, playing with a baby who is gurgling amidst the lot of old ragged clothes while their mother is making chapattis on a smoking hearth situated outside the house.

As the mother finishes making two chapattis, children encircle her, and they all take small bites of chapatti (With some chutney) from a common plate.

An elderly man is sitting on a chair with a grim expression, watching them. My friend says he is the guard of the newly constructed apartment nearby. I am utterly shocked when my friend says that the elderly couple sleeps in the parking area as they all don’t fit in that tiny house.

I can’t help thinking about them. I wonder how different their lives could be if the elderly couple had produced just two or maybe three children? 

At this point of time, I recall those unsolicited advices of our so-called Indian saints to produce four or five children. They all belong to some popular political parties. Haven’t they seen a different realistic face of India where measly income tries to feed several empty stomachs and cannot fit them in a tiny house? Strange! I suggest them to think about basic problems first.

Even though they are saints, they need to learn the gist of life and survival and several people, in this so-called modern era, badly needs to be taught about population control.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Book Review: Just The Way You Are by Sanjeev Ranjan

Just The Way You Are by Sanjeev Ranjan is my first read of 2015. First thing I noticed in this book was obviously it's cover which is very catchy and modern. So is the title.

The book tells the story of Sameer, a Steve Jobs fan who is all set to start his dream job in Switzerland. He leaves just a day after his wedding, leaving his wife, previously his girlfriend, Shagun alone. Thinking of his husband, Shagun reads Sameer's diary, his precious, beautiful world. She discovers a secret hidden in it that may lead to a misunderstanding.

What's the secret? How would Sameer defend himself as he is not around to explain? What's the destination of their relationship?

You have to read this book to find these answers.

Well, the book starts really well. It manages to create nice imagery. So nice that you can almost feel that! The narration is smooth but sometimes it seems stretched. Execution of the story seems plain, and it doesn't support interesting storyline the modern book cover and excerpts suggest.

The point of view is unconvincing. The book starts in first person (which I liked) and then, it goes in diary form. Diary form was confusing as there are no dates mentioned. Sometimes very conveniently it switches to Shagun's point of view.

The scenes between Sameer and Shagun are written beautifully. I somehow missed the "What comes next factor', and those little, enjoyable situations which make a story engrossing.

Overall, for me it was an average read and I am a little disappointed. If you like light fiction you may grab it in your free time or it can be your nice companion when travelling.

I received this book from the publisher (Random House India) for an unbiased review.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Books!

Reading is sheer pleasure. You can never get bored if you find pleasure in reading. This year did not go smooth for my reading yet I managed to read some good (And some not so good) books, 32 to be precise!

Currently I am reading Just The Way You Are by Sanjeev Ranjan that I have received from Random House India for review. The Nidhi Kapoor Story by debutant Saurabh Garg, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri and Four Miles to Freedom by Faith Johnston are next on my to-read list.

Although, there are several book in my reading list I am sharing some books that I really want to read this year and mentioning why:

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella: Because I love the wit and humour in her writing.

Remember Me by Mary Higgins Clark: I haven't read this author before but the theme and blurb of this book is really intriguing that I so want to read this!

Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: Because I haven't read this author before and I've read some wonderful reviews plus this is a women centric story.

It Happens For a Reason by Preeti Shenoy: Because I really like her writing style, identifiable characters and situations. I have read all her books and really liked them!

Seahorse by Janice Pariat: Because she has a beautiful writing style! Liked her anthology Boats on Land.

Half a Rupee by Gulzar: I am totally fascinated by his poignant stories he wrote for his amazing films!

Kamala Das: Any book by this author as I love her writing style and her crisp balanced narration!

Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami: Because I haven't read him and want to and this book is a love story, my favourite genre!

Love Virtually and Every Seventh Wave by Daniel Glattauer: Because of nice reviews, my favourite genre and my favourite author Preeti Shenoy has praised these books in one of her posts!

Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto: Go see the reviews online. And Brunch (Weekly magazine of Hindustan times) suggested it and I found the theme intriguing.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: It's Goodreads Choice 2012 Winner. It's romance. The theme seems poignant.

Have you read any of these? How did you like them? Do you like any book so much that you want to share about? Please share your thoughts. Enjoy your New Year with some really good books!

I wish you all a rainbow of happiness, health and peace embellished with golden streaks of success! Happy New Year 2015!