Friday, December 13, 2013

Nostalgia

As she appeared across the lawn out of nowhere, I stood there transfixed. She was a picture of beauty. A shadow fell on her face, making it impossible to decipher her expression. I kept wondering if she saw me. I was enraptured. What was it about her that made her so enchanting to everyone she met? She was like a magic spell - surreal, but potent. I could never completely understand her. She was an enigma to me.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book Review: English Bites! - Manish Gupta

It feels awkward to return to writing after more than four months and not have anything very insightful to share. I've been working just too hard and spending too less of a time on anything else, so the creative juices have almost stopped flowing. But I shall make a comeback - very soon.

Right now, I am reviewing a book that the author was so kind as to send across to me a long while back, and thankfully also has been very accommodating in letting me have my time in reading and reviewing it.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Freeze your senses!

I return to writing today, after about 3 weeks, with something entirely new - a product review aside from books - a first for this blog.

Wrapped in resplendence - black velvet cushioning et al.
The other day, courtesy BlogAdda, I received two beautifully wrapped, royally presented little cases of ITC's newest offering in the confectionery segment - mint-o Ultramintz. It's supposed to be an extra strong sugar-free mint, one of its kind currently in the Indian market. It comes in a sleek little tin case, black in color, containing 60 little pearly-white pellets. The pack is really impressive to look at. So much so that I've been carrying it around with me everywhere just to show off.
Just kidding. (Or maybe not?)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Heart to heart

It's been raining, and I'm in a philosophical mood. Or maybe I'm just hungry and high on coffee. So I'm going to be straightforward and sentimental in this post.

I'm right now at a juncture in life where all my preconceived plans and thoughts have given way to a new lifestyle, which is a far cry from what my peers are experiencing, and who knows even I might have, if I had chosen a more conventional path. But I did not, and that has made all the difference.

Friday, June 21, 2013

An act of love goes a long way

I have a lot of friends my age who haven't known what it is like to have a grandparent's love, or who have lost all their grandparents over the years. Till a little over three years ago, I could say with pride that both sets of my grandparents were alive and well. I have been fortunate enough to have lived with my paternal grandparents for the first twenty years of my life and was a very frequent visitor to my maternal grandparents' place as well. It is an entirely different feeling to grow up having the love and care of grandparents and their blessings aplenty. Unfortunately, my nanaji crossed over to the other world in the June of 2010. Even though everyone had known it was coming, yet it was a big blow to the family, more exceedingly to me, as I had always been extra pampered and loved by him. During his last years he was little more than a vegetable, hardly even recognizing us anymore. I wish we had had more time to spend with him. Yet, I cherish the limited memories we have - of his stories, of the orange candies, saunf and other little goodies he always had ready for us when we invaded his room. He once admonished me for having contracted myopia so early on in life, and devised ways to get rid of it. I never followed up on his advice *sigh* but I remember every word of it. Will probably pass it on in the future to my kids as their great grandfather's precious words.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Perfect Indian Homecoming Experience

It has been a trying week. Too much of writing to do; too much of traveling around as well. No wonder a severe back ache has been my constant companion for the last three days. To make things even more taxing, my much-talked-about-but-rarely-seen NRI uncle and aunt from the US announced their long-awaited arrival to India yesterday. And now my grandparents are hoping to host them for lunch, first at their own place, then at ours. As if one extravagant show of Indian hospitality wasn't nearly enough, there's gonna be twice as much effort now to woo them, for God only knows what. Last I checked they were just coming down for a relaxing holiday, and maybe to get a good tan. What's with all the show and hype? They're Indians at heart after all. They know our ways, our food, and our culture very well. Why parade it in front of them every time they decide to fly down to their country? Beats me. But grandparents' logic - can't surpass it. So they want to host the perfect homecoming lunch for the guests this weekend.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The importance of finding yourself

I have always been a closet philosopher. But like I said, only in a closet. Most people do not know the philosophy that I live my life on. They only see me as a fiery comet, a rolling stone that goes her own way and does what she likes, and fortunately gets lucky every time. It isn't however like that. I have made more mistakes in my life than a lot of people manage to make in over 40 years. But I have worked to get what I have, and striven to be who I am. It isn't after all luck that bides by you in tough times, but your own courage and perseverance. Those who have led an ideal life - graduation, post graduation, stable job, marriage, two kids, a car and an insurance - would look down upon me today for my choices. They might even think the same of me ten years down the line. Because I have, so far, built a less than ideal life for myself that may look crazy from the outside but is much more fulfilling than the so-called ideal life is on the inside.

Diagnostics from across the seven seas - made easy with WeChat

I have been a fan of the medical drama House MD for as long as I can remember. It was a phenomenal show, defying all network TV conventions and setting a unique example of an entirely different kind of entertainment. So potent has its effect been that even now whenever I watch an episode I often dream of it at night. Last night brought into my sleep another such dream, only, this time spruced up with a most unexpected twist.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book Review: The Homing Pigeons - Sid Bahri

A book that comes with a personal handwritten note by the author is almost always a pleasure to read and review. In the present case, luckily, the content greatly complements the author's note too. Because the book definitely made me happy.

Wading through the bottomless ocean of contemporary Indian writers churning out books revolving around common subjects like recession, life in engineering colleges, love affairs and separation, one fine day I came across an email offering me to read Sid Bahri's debut novel, The Homing Pigeons. I won't deny it came as a breath of fresh air, for the very fact that its story is not borrowed or tried and tested. The characters are greatly flawed, yet the reader can relate to their thoughts and situations as they brave the biggest lows and commit mistakes to emerge wiser (or not).

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Book Review: The Secrets of the Dark - Arka Chakrabarti

They say not every man that eats can make a good cook. Likewise, not every man that watches mythology can make an epic writer. And I learnt it the hard way.

I'd say the worst part about being a reader and a book reviewer is that you are sometimes forced to read stuff you'd never otherwise have spent any effort or time on. Also given my propensity not to put down a book halfway, once I've picked it up, causes me a lot of torment at times. I completed reading one such book tonight.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Once bitten forever shy.

Yesterday morning I was driving back home from Agra on the smooth Yamuna Expressway. There was wind in my hair and a glow on my face. The exam on Sunday had gone quite well and we had left for Agra right after it, family and I, for a much-needed two-day break. We stayed at one of the best hotels of Agra, treated ourselves to great food, frolicked in the pool, danced and played games and felt utterly rejuvenated after a day and a half. So much so that visiting the Taj Mahal never even once crossed our minds. And so I had a smile on my lips on our way back, glad to finally be able to clear out a lot of crappy textbooks that had been cramming my bookshelf for so long, once I reached home. That was until we entered home.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

When life gives you lemons and you've got no sugar for lemonade!

Life lately seems to be going along a totally different tangent from anything I'd ever expect it to be. It's like I'm being showered with the choicest of lemons and I don't even have sugar or water to make lemonade out of them. Hapless, hapless days.

So right after I wrote here about my sudden craving for world travel and the lack of resources preventing me from doing that, life threw another big rock in my face. The family gossip tree came out with yet another juicy piece of gossip that went traveling through the entire family to reach me today. This very distant cousin of mine, who's a total nerd, and is settled in Saudi Arabia and minting huge money, and of whose very existence we learned only after he got settled in the Gulf and started minting money - surprisingly, this guy has finally tied the knot. To a seemingly pretty girl. And he's going for a Switzerland honeymoon now! Can someone kill me, please.

Monday, May 20, 2013

If only I had money...

If only I had money, I'd turn a globetrotter, leaving everything and everyone behind. *sighs*. And no, not that cool-dude-photographer kind who travels around the world with a camera in hand, observing anything and everything through his lens. If I were to travel, I'd keep the camera aside for most of the time, only taking it out once I was sure I'd captured all the magnificence through my eyes and stored it in my heart.

Umm...wondering what's wrong with me? Why the sudden craving for travel and money? *sighs again*

So, coming to the real (less fun) part of the story, I just happened to come across this link on makemytrip.com that lists rates for a round trip to some of the most happening travel destinations across the world. London, New York, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok - it had me drooling all over myself, more so because the rates seemed to be discounted and within reach of a decently earning professional (read: future me). And thus I've been chewing away at mommy dearest's head, thinking aloud, hoping and praying to get professionally settled very soon and earning in lacs, so I could finally realize my dream of traveling around the globe.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Book Review: Salvation of a Saint - Keigo Higashino

Being a blogger has had more perks than I had ever imagined possible before creating this blog. It was only a means of self expression for me back then. How much it has indeed evolved over these three odd years, with it now being a source of some amazing new literary works for me to read. And trust BlogAdda to come out with the most varied genres of books when it comes to their Book Reviews program. Despite a severe shortage of time that is currently keeping me from reading or writing anything much these days - I am not complaining!

The book today at The Bookworm's Word is Salvation of a Saint - a Japanese murder mystery by Keigo Higashino, translated into English very adeptly by Alexander O. Smith. An uncanny pick, since I don't read much of crime fiction and I have never really read a non-English work before. But it was inescapable, really.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Book Review: Tantra by Adi

There are some books that you'll go to any lengths to lay your hands upon, and then there are those other books which land into your hands on their own, without your ever having wanted to read them. Of the second category, you aren't really sure whether it'll enthrall you, amuse you or just leave you cold and unmoved. And so you don't bother. But life has its own way of playing with you, and that it most religiously does.

Tantra by Adi, strangely as it has been titled, is one of those books that belonged to the second category for me. I had no idea even of its recent highly publicized launch. But it came by in the mail, thanks to BlogAdda as always, and I read it out of obligation. Only to be highly pleased that I did. Because, believe it or not, the book is quite the surprise package!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

From Goldilocks to dreadlocks, and back again!

I've talked about my childhood here a number of times before. I was a happy kid. Happy with life, with school, with the cartoons on TV, and with everything else. But then again, I was a tad too lost as a kid - I knew not the first thing about keeping things around me organized, or presenting myself well, or oiling and caring for my hair or so much as even standing in front of the mirror and analyzing my looks. I was just happy to be. Though kids of today, I tell you - they're smartasses of the smartest kind. We weren't. Or at least I wasn't.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Living in a dream

Between all the drudgery and soul-depressing monotony that days seem to have been comprised of lately, life does surprise you at times with such bright days as that make you feel alive again. One such day was the Saturday that passed - the 23rd of March - when thanks to Penguin India's Spring Fever festival at the IHC Delhi, life brought me face to face with the creator of my favorite piece of literature, the much-acclaimed Vikram Seth. The book, after that, is easy enough for my readers to guess.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ring the Bell - Bring the Change.

So my blog has been in hibernation for some time. My IndiRank has dropped. My readers are probably as far from my blog as I am from finding Neverland. Nevertheless, I am not asleep. I'm alive and well (not always well, but yeah..!) And I'm occupied with so many things in life that I know anything I manage to write amidst all of this would not do justice to my blog. So I've been on a break of sorts - until now.

It was Women's Day yesterday. A day that every literate and well-informed man wishes to every woman he comes across, while also putting it up as his Facebook status and the Tweet of the day. And yet, its significance he knows very little about and is hardly concerned about. What else is a woman for if not to cook for him, grace his house/arm and satisfy his needs? We, women, have all been there and experienced that kind of male chauvinism in one or the other form, no matter how old or young we are (I'm 21 myself). The top of the bureaucrats, politicos, self-appointed religious leaders and the 'Khap' panchayat have, time and time again, enlightened us all with gems of their thoughts on why men are fully justified in raping women and how women are inviting it on themselves. A huge applause for each of them.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Leaving...

The dead of the night jolted to life
As noises abound in every direction
He shouted, she screamed, they fought
And the little one stood in a corner and watched.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

If only wishes were horses.

It had always been a hurried morning routine for B as far back as she could remember. She'd get up at 8 while her alarm went off at 6.50. She would then reason with herself - it's too cold and she's late anyway - and with a promise of doing it in the evening, she would give the bath a miss and hurriedly get dressed and would be ready to leave in 20 minutes. Breakfast would invariably comprise of a McEgg burger and a cup of crappy coffee from the McDonald's at the Metro station, before she made an invariably embarrassed entry into the class halfway through the first lecture. Everyone in the class was used to her dropping in at around the same time everyday, and yet they never failed to give her amused or condescending glances as she entered.

On this particularly chilly winter morning, she was in a somber mood. She'd woken up to an unusually horrible dream and had picked up an argument with her father while leaving for college. Boarding the crowded metro, she spotted one of her classmates in the adjoining bogie, and before she could duck behind someone or make herself invisible, the girl seemed to have spotted her and was excitedly proceeding towards her already. She pulled a long face. The day seemed jinxed from the start.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Birthday birthday, happy happy!

There are some people who have been part of your life for just too long. So long that you tend to take them for granted. Or forget to tell them how much they mean to you. It isn't everyday that you thank God for the big blessing that these people have been to you. And that's when you realize, birthdays are just the time to do this, and more!

It's 8th February today. A gem of a person came on to this earth years and years ago. And we met, what, some 7 odd years ago?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Book Review: RIP - Mukul Deva

It's raining books. Literally. So much so that I've had a shelf full of brand new books lying unread for a while now, and yet I have no time to even touch them, as the BlogAdda folks have gotten super generous lately and are showering more and more books on this poor soul. But I've stopped applying for any more reviews now, for some time at least. This one's going to be my last book review for a few weeks to come.

So finally I had a really good read after a long long time. Probably after Shantaram (sigh). It took me a little over 4 days to read it through, and given the amount of study pressure looming over my head currently, this is equivalent of my finishing a book in less than one day. FTW. But this book, RIP, was good. Real good.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Book Review: Alchemy (edited by Sheba Karim)

Most of us have read the occasional love story. Some even swear by the genre. And yet not many an average reader, more so of my age, has read a full-blown erotic story or novel. Admittedly, not even I had, till about a week ago. It isn't a commonplace genre of literature in the Indian society as yet. You see, sexual awakening is a total hush-hush process in our country. Most of it stems from visual aids and information available on the internet. Literature in the form of an aid in sex education or sexual awakening is not well known to the Indian society as far as I know.

But now I can boast of having actually read an erotic anthology. A collection of 13 short stories, Alchemy - The Tranquebar Book of Erotic Stories II - has been put together and edited by Sheba Karim, with sex as the central theme of each one of them. The contributors are accomplished writers from different platforms and geographical regions and the stories range from the oh-so-moving to the out and out disgusting.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review: Once Upon The Tracks of Mumbai - Rishi Vohra

Every now and then a movie based on a novel is made. But not many books are written to recreate the charm and magic of the 70 mm reel on paper. No sir. Not that often. And this is where this book takes away all the brownie points. So much, so that even though I am not a sucker for Hindi film romances, this book touched a chord in my heart.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Now Featured on The Independent, UK!

I've been meaning to write on a number of subjects ever since the new year took off. But time does not permit me any more. And it's gonna remain the same for a month to come. I'm missing my blog already. So much to write, all of a sudden, and so little opportunity. Sigh. A book review has been long due, then there's a fiction story, and I guess I haven't even wished my dear readers a happy new year yet. On that note, here's wishing a very happy and prosperous new year to every one. I hope you all have a joyous, successful and satisfying year lying ahead of you. Let us wade through it together with hope and faith in our hearts, and only bitch or gush about it when it turns into 2014. Till then, for better or for worse, bear with it, shall we? Yes, you, the non-believers too. Hold up as good as you can, it's gonna get better.

So the reason why I've taken the trouble to wield the pen (or keypad) today is to share something. Good news, actually.