Friday, February 8, 2019

Watercolor Paintings: Different Landscapes


Watercolour painting seems like an addiction. I painted almost daily in the last two-three weeks. Can't share all the paintings {some of them are bad}, so sharing what I like. Hope you like them too.

Reference Photo: Pinterest

This snowy and waterfall landscapes are inspired by Ekaterina Smirnova's YouTube painting tutorial. She is a great teacher. I was satisfied with the first one, but I was not really happy with the second one. Initially, it didn't look like a waterfall. So, I put it on the table and watched it. Slowly, it began to look like a waterfall. What do you think?

One of most important things that I have learned as a watercolourist is that we should not expect our paintings to look good while we are still painting or immediately after that. They look better after some time. Let it rest for some time before you judge.

And finally this one! I painted this on 26th January, our Republic Day. Honestly, I didn't plan the colours. I just started painting and then noticed that my colours represent the colours of  our National Flag! How lovely!

Sharing with Paint Party Friday

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

5 Much Loved Books I Did Not Finish {in 2018}

Last year, I wrote about the Best Books I Read in 2017. I was hoping to write another 'best books' post but last year, as a reader, was not very good even though I read some 46-47 books. I read some good books {Wrote about it actually. You can read my guest post 'Top 5 Reads By Women Authors' on Shalini's blog}, but there are so many well-loved books I could not finish, and it bothered me.

I really enjoy reading reviews, on goodreads especially. I read several reviews before buying a book. I used to believe that it was a wise thing to do, however this year's reading experience changed that perception. I have decided that I won't trust the reviews, entirely, from now on. Of course, I'll read them, but I'm going to follow and trust the blurb and sample chapters. 

OK, now about the books that I could not finish ---and trust me, I tried really hard even though I am an impatient reader {I tend to close the books unfinished if they don't grip me by 50-60 pages}. They left me utterly disappointed.

A Man Called Ove

Everyone was talking about this book on Twitter ---warm, funny, adorable, lovely, best book were the words describing the book. As usual, I visited goodreads, checked the {mostly positive} reviews and bought the book. As I started reading the book, I thought readers were right, but after some 3-4 chapters, it started to bore me. I found it slow, repetitive and boring. Plus, the old man who seemed adorable and realistic in the first few chapters, turned out annoying and insensitive.

I really wanted to like it ---so much that I read 119-120 pages---but eventually left it unfinished.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Honestly, I just google searched 'potato peel society', found this book and copy-pasted the title. I mean what's the point if can't even remember and pronounce the title of a book?

It is a book that got 99.9% positive reviews. All my reader friends loved it. It is, supposedly, a love story and an epistolary novel {novels written in letters format}. I bought it and started reading. I was almost sure I'd like this book but I found it boring and confusing. 

Not that it was my first epistolary novel. I have read two epistolary novels ---Love Virtually and Every Seventh Wave, the sequel ---absolute favourites! But Love Virtually is about two people who accidentally get in touch through emails, whereas in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, too many people are writing, too many letters to too many people. I couldn't keep the track who is who! Mainly because they all sound the same. Plus, nobody was saying interesting things. No wit, no humour, no warmth in the letters. 

Thankfully, I watched the movie recently, which I liked. Mainly because of the hero and the mesmerizing locations. Now that I have watched the movie, I have no intention of finishing the book, and I wondered what was the purpose of writing this book as epistolary novel? Why? Just because it's a different format?

Calling Sehmat

These days, I feel slightly inclined to read crime novels, and Calling Sehmat came with fabulous reviews. The subject is intriguing, especially because it is based on a true story about a female spy!

I bought the book, started reading and gave up after 77 pages. 'I'd rather watch the movie.' I decided. It was a good decision, as I really liked Raazi.

Calling Sehmat is a powerful story, but the way it has been told makes it unexciting {for me, of course}. The 'storytelling' is important. This book badly lacks the 'what next?' factor.

To Kill A Mockingbird

OK, don't roll your eyes, please. I feel really bad mentioning this book here. I felt a little ashamed that I hadn't read this book. It seemed that I was the only one, that's why I bought it.

At first, the book seemed like a pirated copy. The font was too small, pages rough. I even sent a couple of pictures to my friend to confirm. 'It seems original,' she said.

Honestly, I was too impatient to leave this book unfinished. Just 35 pages and I got bored. I wondered if it was a children's book. I may try reading this one, some day.

The Rosie Project

I was actually enjoying it. I even shared a quote on Twitter. I liked Don Tillman and Rosie but then {after some 100 pages or so}, it got really slow and started to bore me. The situations were somehow dull. Maybe, I can try reading this one again.

Special Mention:

Wuthering Heights ---the way readers talk about this book ---a love story, and Heathcliff, I still feel it should have been my kind of read, but NO. I tried to read it a few years ago but couldn't read beyond 3-4 chapters. I tried again last year, but No. I didn't know what was going on! I won't pick it up again.

That's all from my side. Is there any popular book that you did not like?

Friday, January 18, 2019

Watercolour Painting: Trying Different Things

I am a beginner --a self-taught watercolourist. I'm trying to practice and learn different things, however I always fear that I'll ruin my painting if I try to experiment. If you are a beginner, in any field, you can relate ---we want good results always, right?

This year, I decided to fight my fear of going wrong. Ruined 4-5 paintings, yes. But learned and managed okayish paintings.

I am not confident enough to paint on big sized paper. I usually paint on A5 size and even A4 seems big to me. But, I tried this painting on A4 size paper. I think I managed OK.

Also, I am trying to paint sunlight, shadows, figures and reflections. And salt technique. Here are some paintings I tried.

Do you like them? Do they look like sunshine and reflections? Are you trying something different? Do you have any suggestions? Please share.

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Book Review: The long way home by Mitali Meelan

'It's not what you see in a person, it's what you feel when they're around. Sometimes, a person is your umbrella, shielding you from the pelting of a rainstorm. Sometimes, the person is the rainstorm.'

From the book.

The long way home by Mitali Meelan is a family drama. It's about Adhikari family ---Ishaan, Arihant, a little demanding cute little sister Saloni and their mother, however, the story mainly revolves around the brothers Ishaan and Arihant. They all try, rather pretend to be a happy family, but they are dealing with their own personal problems.

Still recovering from a break-up, Arihant, a caring young man, works for a magazine and owns a blog where he writes poetry. On the other hand, Ishaan is too secretive and aloof and rude.

So what's the secret or agony of Ishaan's life? What about Arihant's love life?

As I said, this is a pure family drama, a little unusual theme {In the current writing/publishing scenario}. The author has handled the familial bonds, situations and quirks well.

The writing is neat, and I really liked some quotes, like:

'No matter what I claim, what I let my friends and myself believe, after all the fights, tears, misunderstandings and long silences, sometimes all I wish to tell her is 'Stay'.

However I have a little problem with the execution. The book is written in first person from both Ishaan and Arihant's point of view, which is good but the way it has been divided as 'longish' Part 1 for Arihant and Part 2 for Ishaan made this read a little monotonous. Mostly because no other character makes a mark.

I liked the text exchanges between Arihant and Nyra...I always do. Text exchanges, I believe, are a refreshing change in a story.

Go for it if you enjoy family drama.

I received this book from Writersmelon for an honest review.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

बस यूं ही...

सूनी सी दोपहर
हवाओं में कुछ हरारत 
जरा सी सरसराहट से
पन्नों का पलट जाना,
और दरख्तों से छनकर आती
 मख़मली धूप।
और, बस यूं हींं
चली आती हैं
तुम्हारी यादों की गरमाहट।
यादों का क्या है,
कहीं से भी आ जाती हैं।
और तुम्हारी यादें...जाती ही कहां हैं,
बस यहीं फिरती हैं,
इन्हीं छोटी छोटी बातों के इर्द गिर्द।

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Hello Winter! : Watercolor Paintings

Have you ever been to a snowy place? I haven't. To be very frank, I have never seen a snowfall! So, I find them fascinating, however I am already annoyed by the Delhi winter. Every morning and night I sing ---'Winter, winter, go away! :)

Today, I am sharing some winter/snowy landscapes that I painted recently. This is my first attempt at painting snowy landscapes and using masking fluid. Using masking fluid is tricky and I need to practice to use it more comfortably.

When it's winter, what do you want? A book and a cup of tea {Or coffee, if you're a coffee person}, right? And, of course, some uninterrupted time. :)

So, here it is! 

If you notice, I have done some sketching. It was for an art challenge on Instagram, and I am thankful. I am bad at sketching and avoid painting something that requires proper sketching.
And, the book you see is a short story collection {Hindi} ---stories based on Army people's life. I'll be reviewing this book on Writersmelon's {One of the most popular community for writers and readers} Hindi platform.

Thank you for visiting. Wishing you a joyful, peaceful and successful New Year! :)

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Saturday, December 22, 2018

My Favourite Author – Enid Blyton: A Guest Post by Shalzmojo

Hello readers,

I'm sharing yet another post in 'My Favourite Author'series. I started this series, on my blog recently and featured three guest posts under this category. You can read them HERE. Also wrote about 'My' favourite author! You can read the post HERE.

Today, I am so pleased to host Shalini {Shalzmojo}.  
Actually, this guest post is part of the December bloghop '#mymojo with Shalzmojo', all about books and travel! You can read my guest post, 'Top 5 Reads by Women Authors {With Women Protagonists}' on her lovely blog.

'An interior designer by profession, writing is a passion, which coupled with travel love, and blossomed into this blog where I love to just “do my thing”! Be it recipes, food events, travel jaunts, fiction dreaming or even meditative musings; all of it’s taken up quite passionately on my blog. I am a serious wine guzzler and love to chase butterflies in my free time,' she says.

You can follow her on:

| Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest|

OK, now over to Shalzmojo! 

Hello readers. I am delighted to be here on Tarang’s blog to talk about my favourite author. It’s quite difficult for an avid book worm to choose from one of her many most loved writers. I had to really think carefully about why I am listing Enid Blyton as one of my all-time favourites.

“Writing for children is an art in itself, and a most interesting one.”
― Enid Blyton 

I was first introduced to Enid Blyton as a child and I think one of the first books was one from the Secret Seven series. I graduated to Famous five and many other such. But it’s when I chanced on the Enchanted wood and Wishing chai, that I was thoroughly entranced.

The world of children as brought alive by Enid Blyton was just too magical and enchanting for me. The toys in the nursery that came alive at night and went on to have so many adventures is something I found very difficult to fathom. I must confess to staying awake to catch my toys in action night after night ;-)

Her Noddy series was aimed for younger children and are an absolute delight to read to this day. The colourful books with tales of mischief that young Noddy got into, make for quite a fun read.

Then came the boarding school series and I couldn’t get enough of any of them. Imagine glamorising this world in a book to make kids like me beg their parents to send them to such a school. The description of high teas that were served to these children in the stories left me wanting more. 

What's SO special about Enid Blyton?

I think the charm of Enid Blyton for me was the way she teased my imagination with just the right bit of dramatic flair. Reading her books has made my childhood richer by much and I would say this is one author every parent should encourage their child to read. 

Something about my favourite author:

Enid Mary Blyton (1897-1968) was a prolific children’s book writer from England who indulged in poetry, playwriting and short story writing among other things. She has been one of the bestselling authors since 1930, selling about 600 million copies worldwide so far. She set up many clubs to encourage the children to work for a worthy cause. Her books have been translated into 60 languages across the world.

She started out with poetry and one of her poems was published in a magazine when she was just 14. One of her closest friends illustrated one of her early books which incidentally was a collection of poems.

I don’t think I know of another such writer whose popularity soars so high and for so long. She has been on top of the book reading charts for as long as I have been reading books.

I hope I have enchanted you with my fascination for Enid Blyton. Are you a fan of hers too?

{You could read my book review of  The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath, one of my favourites!}

Who's your favourite author?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Book Review: The Diary on the Fifth Floor by Raisha Lalwani

'It was a short  questionnaire  -- contact information, primarily---but  the first question already made me pause.  I  had to be careful, or the whole thing would fall apart.

Name -- the question seemed to mock me.'

Isn't it intriguing?

Sharing a few lines from the blurb as it intrigued me.

'A woman leaves her infant at home but finds her on a busy street in an unexpected turn of events.
Another woman wakes up in a flight hours later, befuddled, in the strangest circumstance.
A fascinating tale of a twenty-five-year-old woman that takes hold of us from the moment she enters the fifth floor of a hospital; more precisely, the psychiatric ward.'

The blurb says it's a fascinating tale of a twenty-five-year old woman...

Yes, it is, but it's hardly about that woman. It's about the sad/shocking stories about other people {her friends/aunt and sometimes unknown, friends of friends, maybe} that depress her and make her believe that the world is an unkind place.

Here, I feel that the blurb of this book is a tad misleading. Also, the cover ---it reflects a certain kind of eeriness and mystery, but the story doesn't.

'The Diary On The Fifth Floor' by Raisha Lalwani {Published by Rupa Publications}  is basically a collection of short stories, or rather some odd/shocking events, in the diary format. 

Although the stories are in diary form, some of them have been told from the third person perspective. The stories  are all about other people that affected Savannah, the main character ---- a smart, working and depressed woman--- deeply. But, there's nothing 'About Savannah'. I wanted to know more about Savannah and her life. 

Since it's a collection of short stories, there are several characters but they seem insignificant and easily forgettable. Savannah and Dr. Berry {the psychiatrist} are the main characters. 

We know nothing about Savannah except she is depressed and worried about the unkindness of the world, however, there's not a single incident that shows that the world has been particularly unkind to her. She is too caring and thoughtful, I guess, that mere hearing sad/shocking stories {sometimes not that shocking} about other people depressed her, so much that she needed to see a psychiatrist. A little implausible. 

I really like the psychiatrist, Dr. Berry.

I liked the writing style. Stories are very short and nicely crafted that makes this book an easy read

'Some things are understood but they have to be said, just because they're important. A mother doesn't have to tell her children that she loves them. The whole world knows it, yet she says it.'

Overall, it was an interesting and quick read. However, it's not that striking as I had expected or the blurb of the book made me expect.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Six Months As A Watercolourist

I painted this last night {for an art challenge}. And, I am kind of happy with this painting, with my effort.

Honestly, it was some 5+ years {in 2013} ago when I, suddenly, got interested in watercolour painting. Beautiful paintings fascinated me. So I bought some art supplies and started to paint. Strangely, I never painted or even wanted to paint in my school or college days. I was {still am} terrible at sketching so never ever thought I could.

So, I painted but after some 7-8 paintings, I stopped {For some reason}. I didn't feel like painting. This year, I again felt like painting, but it was all procrastination. But finally, I bought a regular drawing book and painted {on 31st May, 2018}. I painted this!

It's been six months now. I am glad that this time, I am feeling very enthusiastic about it. Even experimenting with different kinds of watercolour papers.Trying different kinds of painting. 

I painted this forest two days back and I tried a rough, 100% homemade paper. I enjoy working on it!

And, I tried a waterfall for the first time. It's tricky but I enjoyed painting this one.

I am learning a lot. Practicing regularly. It's so fulfilling! 

That's all for now. Share your painting journey. Would love to hear {And learn}.

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