Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lovers' Cove Challenge #3

Hellow friends,

This is my entry for the third challenge at Lovers' Cove. Am probably the last one, submitting the entry at the very eleventh hour. This time the challenge is a poem and each participant gets to add one line of 15 words or less. For more details and to participate please head over to Andy's blog.

The prompt-

Andy David -
If I were an artist, I would create the most beautiful flower in your image.

The following entries-

Elen Lackner -
And I would draw your lips like two petals of rose waiting for the dew.

Crystal -
Brilliant strokes of pale September falling down softly upon your skin exposing the beauty within.

Radwa Pony -
The beauty within your soul that kidnapped me to an endless dream of your own.

Balqis -
In each stroke of the brush flows a great affection devoted to you, my love.

Suzy -
Each colour relfecting the many seasons of your life and conveying all your intimate emotions.

The sweet whispers of our souls reflecting in the faces radiant with love.

I drink your hues, merge into me, be born with me in a new color.

Together we will explore love’s milky galaxies and claim the blushing moon as our own.

My Line-
I pour its rouge glory to your dewy lips and color you to angelic perfection.

P.S. - I have been absent from the blog world for quite sometime now, been really busy with Masters admission procedures. Will get back to reading all your amazing posts asap.

Till next


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review - The Terrorist by Juggi Bhasin


AUTHOR: Juggi Bhasin
GENRE: Fiction
ISBN-13: 9780143415275
PRICE: Rs.250 (I received the copy for review) 

BACK COVER SAYS: "When you are trained to endure the harshest of climates, the most hostile of situations, to survive where no ordinary man can- there's little difference between you and the terrorist you are trying to kill. Little, except which side you are on. "


The debut novel (and the first book in the trilogy) by journalist turned author Juggi Bhasin comes as a breath of fresh air. The background and plot of this book is starkly different from its contemporaries. As is evident from the very title of the book, its central concern is the terrorist, his mindset, his actions and the reasons behind it. What I really appreciate is the fact that the author has decided to bring up a subject revolving around the insurgencies, the fanaticism and terrorism that has been gnawing the nation for quite some time now. The scars of the Mumbai blasts of 26/11 and the entire routine of Ajmal Kasab’s case are fresh in the minds of every Indian. The book comes at a very appropriate time to shake us out of our complacency and make us think about the current affairs of the nation.
The author’s expertise, experience and great amount of research is clearly reflected in the picturesque descriptions of places and incidents. The attention paid to the meticulous details of the plans, the scenes is remarkable. The author’s direct experience as a journalist covering the Babri Masjid demolition comes in handy here. The incident of the blast at the Srinagar office of Lt General Pratap Singh Aulakh is spine chilling (the author has mentioned in an interview that it is drawn from a real incident that took place in Kashmir). Be it the training quarters or the Kashmir valleys, the settings are perfectly drawn to provide an entire movie watching experience for the readers.  The author has actually mentioned that he had written the book with a dream of seeing it come to life as a Bollywood motion picture someday. I would love to see the same happening.
Another remarkable thing about the book is the sketching of the characters which is done to perfection. The author delves deep into the social and psychological backgrounds of the two protagonists, Suvir and Murad. Both of them have justifiable reasons for all their actions. Suvir’s troubled personal life (which is told in flashback mode during his debriefing session); his search for his own identity has turned him into what he is now. On the other hand, the immense amount of insensitivity and injustice met by the political situations of the country to those of his religion has led Murad into turning himself into the most feared of terrorists. One cannot help but sympathize and identify with both the characters at some level. The final confrontation between the two, one on a mission to destroy and the other on a mission to deploy it is a treat for action lovers.
The only issue I had with the book is the fact that the action sequences and a few areas get overtly dramatic and seem unrealistic. Also the use of a few long and ostentatious words here and there disrupts the flow of the book. The religious issue in the book could turn to be a little too extreme for some readers. So it is advisable to keep a neutral stand and be unbiased while reading the book.
The Terrorist has makes a great thriller that captivates the readers and keeps them hooked till the very last page. A good plot, amazingly detailed descriptions, wonderfully analyzed characters of the two protagonists and an extremely well executed story makes the book an enjoyable read. An amazing debut novel. Am eagerly waiting for the other two in the series to come out.

: 3.5 / 5

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Dagger

Off late, I have been having this very disturbing and haunting nightmare that am stuck in a desert alone, trying to hold on to the earth and I just can't get anything when I try to grab it. The sand grains just slip out of my grip and I am left with nothing. I wake up crying in the middle of the nights with a fear of losing somebody I hold very dear, I don't know who. And the most difficult part is this fear isn't going away however hard I try. There is this unbearable pain somewhere, a very deep sense of loss that I have never felt before, that I can't explain or get rid of. Can any of you explain the logic behind this?

Anyhow I scribbled these lines in a state of semi-drowsiness at 3am yesterday, unable to sleep or remain awake. Please excuse the missing punctuation marks, I didn't feel like adding them when I saw these lines scribbled in my notebook when I woke up this morning.

The Dagger

I carry a dagger
Thrust in my chest
Unable to decide if
I should let it remain
And rip my interiors
Into irreparable tatters
With every movement I make
Or just take it off
And let myself bleed
To sweet death.

P.S.- Please forgive my excessive subjectivity in the post. Will be back with more objective posts soon. Please let me know your opinions if you think you know the answer to my fear.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Review - I, Rama Book 1 by Ravi Venu


AUTHOR: Ravi Venu
Genre: Mythology
ISBN-13: 9780615582504
PRICE: Rs.225 (I received the copy from the Blogadda) 

BACK COVER SAYS: " There will be a time when men will fight among themselves in the name of God, when peace will fail; at that time a part of me will re- emerge."

SWARNALI SPEAKS:I have always loved mythology. And as expected the great Indian epics have always been a source of fascination for me. So when I saw this book up for review at Blogadda, I knew I had to read it. The book is an attempt at retelling the well known epic tale of The Ramyana.
As the very title of the book says, the book is Rama’s perspective of the world around him. Rama is at almost the end of his life and he is reflecting on this past. The narrative is in first person which is very different to the third person omniscient narrator view in Valmiki’s original version. The narration is in flashback mode which is not linear as Rama tells his story to his sons Lava and Kusha and to his friends.
What I really liked about the book is the amount of research work behind it; particularly the work done on some of the characters. The author has shown Rama’s step mother Kaikeyi in a very different light in his version. All those who have read the original epic would know her as a woman who sent away the virtuous Rama to “vanvaas” under the influence of the scheming Manthara, to make way for her son Bharat to ascend the throne of Ayodhya. But here in this book she is shown as a warrior princess with an immense strength of character. Apart from her character, those of the Rishi Vishwamitra and Rama’s wife Sita are portrayed with a lot of details.
Another thing I liked about the book is that the author has tried to maintain a very scientific approach to the story telling.  The stories of the origin of Ganga and the life process on earth were very fascinating to read.
I honestly appreciate the author’s attempt but the book fails in certain parts. For one thing, a book is not just what the author writes; the presentation is also an important part of it. The book has been very poorly presented, the cover is just plain unattractive, says nothing about what’s inside. Then when you open it, the lines just start so abruptly, margins and header spacing are not well formatted.  The book contains some typo errors which can be over looked though.
The author tries hard at presenting picturesque and highly imagistic scenes but I had this feeling of “lost in translation” all the time. It was like the author was thinking in some Indian language and then translating the thought into English. Take these lines –

 " I see the river Sarayu; she seems to be wearing a Golden Fleece woven from the rays of the evening sun, like a beautiful celestial dancer descended from the heavens above to enter the lush green forests looking for her lost love

Now, this could have been extremely beautiful if it was written in Hindi or maybe in some Indian language but it simply loses its charm when told in English.
In a nutshell, the book is a good attempt at retelling a known story. But it does fall short in certain areas. The narrative doesn’t move very fast and it turns out to be a little boring for a reader like me. But for those who love mythology and don’t mind reading very descriptive passages, this book might be a great read.

RATING: 3 / 5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lola and I

Having no idea what to blog about, I thought I could share a few funny moments from my everyday life.

I have a 5 year old niece who is very fond of her auntie Swarnali. Whenever I visit my cousin's place, she runs to me with her books and asks me to read out things to her. Here are a few pieces of conversation with her-

Scene 1

Me: Name 4 birds.
Niece: Sparrow.....
Me: And?
Niece: Ummm...sparrow, sparrow's mum, sparrow's dad and sparrow's brother. That's 4 birds.
 Me(in my head): *Damn, why didn't I ever think of that as a kid*

Scene 2

Find the odd one out - Sparrow, Cow, Peacock, Hen, Crow
Niece : Cow
Me : Good, now tell me why it is the odd one?
Niece : Because it is not a parrot.
Me : *facepalm*

Scene 3

Picture of a pig given in the workbook with fill in the blanks option right next to it P__ G.

Niece fills it up as P O G.
Me : That is wrong. Its P I G.
Niece: The name of this pig is POG.
Me : I cannot say you are wrong anymore ( POG is now a proper noun and hence not a wrong answer) . You have mastered English grammar my lady!!!

Scene 4

This conversation will make more sense to people who speak and understand Hindi. I'll add the English translations in parenthesis for my non-Hindi readers.

Am teaching wild animals and domestic animals to the niece. I usually translate the English terms into Hindi and Bengali for her to understand it better.

Me : Domestic animals are those which we pet and who stay with us in our houses or in houses we make for them (this is the simplest way I could make her understand the concept; I know its not a completely correct definition). They are called "Paltu Janwar" in Hindi (translation - "Paltu" = Domestic and "Janwar" = Animal). Wild animals are those which live in the jungles. They are called "Jungli Janwar" in Hindi. (translation - "Jungli" = Wild). Understood?
Niece : Ooooooooo yes I did.
Me : Good, now tell me what type of animal is a dog.
Niece : "Faltu Janwar" (translation "Faltu" = Useless)

Scene 5

Me : Lola (yes, that's what I call her), write the spelling of 36 here (pointing to a notebook).
Niece : (writes down) Thirty 6
Me : I asked you to write the entire spelling. This is wrong. It is Thirty six.
Niece : If you can write 6 as both six and 6, why can't 36 be Thirty6? Why is that wrong? I don't understand.
It took me another half an hour to make her understand the difference between a symbol and its spelling.

So that is all I could remember at the moment, will come back with more if I get to remember them. Hope all of you are doing well.

Till next

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Thank You All

Hellow everyone!!

Before I start with my regular posts from this month, I want to thank all the great bloggers who have honored my little blog with their presence. Thank you so very much for writing in my space (and giving me some time off blogging). We have had 14 guests here so far. Considering the time I have been here on blogsphere (which is approximately 8-9 months), 15 posts by guests is a huge deal. A big hug for all of you who did a post for me. Thank you Anju, Saptashwa, Swastik, Amber, Akshay, Pradeeta, Rahul, Me, Ste , Rashmi, Fab, Zeebz, Arpita and Jennifer. You guys rock.

Thank you so much.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Final Guest of the Month - Its Jenny Fab!!

Hello Bloggy Buddies,

This is the last guest post for our Guest Bloggers' Month and I have one of the most popular bloggers as our guest for today. Its Jennifer Fabulous from I Know, Right?  If you are a blogger and you aren't following her, trust me, you are really missing out on some awesome stuff. A freelance journalist by profession, Jenny has a special love for Classic Films (same pinch, Jenny :D), British Literature (same pinch again :P) and Bunnies. She is one of the wittiest bloggers I know. If there is anybody who defines "out-of -the-box", it has to be her. You are sure to be either shocked or surprised after reading her posts. Her posts are something I look forward to. Lets get to what surprise she has in store for us-

Hi friends of Swarnali! My name is Jennifer Fabulous and I am so honored to be guest posting on Dreams n Drama. I have been a big fan of this blog for a while.

On my blog I write quite a bit about pop culture and celebrities. Like any other girl, I'm a huge fan of movie stars and rock bands. I've even done a few crazy things in my past to get close to celebrities (such as jumping out of shrubberies, sneaking on tour buses, and jumping on stage during concerts).

But there are some people who take their obsession too far.

Today, I'm going to focus on crazy fans.

Let's start with Twilight. I think we can all agree teenage Twilight fans are some of the craziest people on the planet. And I mean that in the kindest way possible. But there is one person who just might take the title as the most bonkers.

Linda Moore, a 56-year-old woman, told People Magazine that after her husband refused to let her decorate their bedroom in Twilight memorabilia, she decorated another bedroom in the house instead. The Texas woman's Twilight shrine has turned her into a celebrity in her small town.

If you think that was nuts, let me introduce you to a die-hard Harry Potter fan in the United States, who legally changed his name to Lucius Malfoy.

The middle-aged man reached out to Tom Felton, the young actor who plays Lucius in the films. He showed Tom actual legal documents which would allow the actor to disown his parents and move to the United States to live with him in his house, which he had also named Malfoy Manor. Tom has been quoted as saying it was one of the creepiest encounters he's ever had as a celebrity.

Speaking of celebrity names, a 36-year-old British father, Ian Clark, sparked controversy two years ago by allowing his four-year-old stepdaughter talk him into naming his newborn daughter "Lady Gaga."

Unfortunately, the new dad didn't feel any pain after making it legal on his baby's birth certificate. Because a year later, he let the same stepkid talk him into naming his newborn son "Will.i.am." I'm not sure what's worse: the fact that he's forcing his children to have these horrible names or that his four-year-old stepdaughter seems to have complete control over him.

On a creepier note, a 15-year-old girl from Brazil expressed her obsession with Justin Bieber in a more...sinister way.

Jessica Mazon, a former blogger, showcased a special message she had cut on her arm, expressing her love for the teenage heartthrob. In a blog post, which has since been taken down, Jessica wrote about her loneliness and depression and how her love for Justin Bieber was the only thing keeping her going. It is quite sad, actually. I really hope she has gotten some help.

Last but not least, let's talk about two smelly girls in the United States who may just be the biggest One Direction fans on the planet. Two teenage girls recently hid in a trash can for FOUR hours in a desperate attempt to meet the boy band after a concert.

Unfortunately, snuggling in hot, smelly garbage for several hours didn't pay off, because security gaurds found them instead. They never got to meet One Direction.

What do you think of these fans? Would you do the same thing?

If you haven't discovered her yet, its time you do.

Catch ya with the next post.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Book Review - Thirty Year Old Virgin by Ankit Uttam


Author: Ankit Uttam
ISBN: 9380914202
Binding: Paperback
Publishing Year: 2012
Publisher: General Press
Number of Pages: 192
Language: English

About the Book:

She duped him into kissing her when they were five. Don’t judge her, she was curious.
He tried to finger her when they were thirteen. Forgive him, he was delusional.
Her boyfriend took revenge on his first day in college. And his attempt at fingering wasn’t even successful.
She knows, his heart is in his pants.
He saves her from goons and she stabs him on his heart as a token of gratitude.
She dumped her last boyfriend when they were making out. And he didn’t come after that… for a few weeks.
He dumped his last girlfriend and found a boyfriend for her, the same night. Heart of gold.
He hates dogs. She has a dog by his name.
Childhood friends. Childhood enemies.
Hate, the single common thread between them.
If he would be the last guy on this planet she will prefer to preserve her virginity till eternity.
If she would be the last girl on earth he will prefer to die eunuch.
They meet again.
Still share the same bonhomie.
But now they have another string binding them. Their hate has another companion.
They don’t want love but they miss sex. Love is anyways overrated.
Opposite poles, as they are, they know they can never fall in love.
She proposes a no holds barred physical relationship. He agrees but with caution. Which guy in his right frame of mind wouldn’t?
But it wasn’t long before they realize that each of them wants something more than the other is willing to give.
Meet Maya, the freak. She is a diva, the sparkling wine. She is unpredictable. She is fearless. She is a monster. A psychotic bitch.
Meet Arnav, the geek. He is the dude, the gifted one. He is emotional. He is a jerk. He is a manipulator. A bona-fide pig.

Swarnali Speaks : I did a pre-release spotlight on this book for The Vault. You can check it here
Under a deceptively simple cover is a book which is not so straight and simple. I was not really happy with the cover when I saw it first but then I realised that the name of the book is more than enough to raise brows everywhere. I had to think of a million ways to hide this from my parents' eyes. A not so bold cover helps in the camouflage process. :P You’ll know the aptness of the book’s name only when you reach the last page.

Coming to the book, the plot is a basic friends with benefits plot. But the approach is quite different. I really appreciate the author's boldness in approaching the subject of sex, especially in a conservative country like ours where even love and relationships are not expressed and talked about with ease. But when I say bold and the use of sex as the plot propeller, I do not mean that this is erotica. The first chapter does give an impression of it being so (which is basically an attempt to catch the reader's attention), but the next chapters will remove the doubt.

The main plot concerns the lives of the suave and sweet Arnav, the geek with the most unusual marketing ideas and Miss Bold and Beautiful, Maya. The narrative swings from the time the two were 5 year olds to the time when they are students at IIM Bangalore and then to the present, when both are business personnel. Apart from Maya, all the other characters are quite believable. I really loved the portrayal of the conflict in Ronnie’s character. Maya seems a bit too exaggerated. Her escapades with Ronnie seem a little unnecessary sometimes. The author's appearance in the book as a character was really funny, especially the part with the pun on his surname.

The narrative is quite pleasant and usually in the repartee form, fast moving witty dialogues. I loved the fact that the book did not have a single grammatical error (at least I didn't find any) which is a breath of relief from the contemporary Indian novels which are riddled with errors of all kinds (I don't mean any offence to other authors; I blame it on the editors and proof readers). The book begins really well and the pace is good and keeps the reader turning pages but eventually towards the end of the book, it somehow gets a little slower. Am including an excerpt from the book which I found particularly funny-

 “Penitentiary!” Mahatre displayed his vocab incrementing urge.

“Jail…penitentiary is jail, Mahatre. Tomorrow get one aaksfard.” Inspector was sweating profusely and it seemed to rob him of his cheerfulness if any.

Now if you haven’t yet deciphered what “aaksfard” means, it’s a reference to “Aaksfard dictionary” (Oxford Dictionary) :D :D The portrayal of the massacre of English we Indians do was really hilarious. Reminded me of Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide where he uses these localised pronunciations of English words. For example, he uses “Saar” instead of “sir”. (Sorry, I just can’t help comparing things :P).

Coming to the place where the book disappointed me. I have no idea why the author had to copy scenes word by word from the movie Friends with Benefits. In fact, an entire chapter is taken from the movie. I really think the author could have been a bit more original here. I sincerely hope he doesn’t repeat this in his next book.

Overall, a very enjoyable and entertaining read. Great for reading during those tea breaks and long bus and train journeys.

Rating : 3/ 5

Monday, July 2, 2012

Guest 13 - Arpita is here!

Hello Friends,

Today's guest is a very special friend of mine, Arpita. She reviews books at A Lot of Pages. She is a fellow batch mate, same stream but different Universities. She is in Delhi and am in Kolkata. She is a brilliant student (an invaluable help during my pre-exam jitters :P) who writes amazing poems and short stories. We became friends through our common friend Koustabh and then came ALOP and our friendship grew stronger. She is the best e-buddy turned real life buddy I have made so far. She is always the first one to read anything I write, gives all the invaluable inputs,feedback and corrections. Thanks Arpi for always being the one to give me the push forward and telling me "You Can Do It".
Arpita is here to share a short story with us-


Some things in life leave behind scars that never fade. Some people leave their mark, and change your life for ever. As each day goes by, some memories creep back into your thoughts; memories you’d rather push to the back of your mind. Because, they are nothing more than a reminder of what you’ve loved and lost…


It was just as I turned the corner that I saw him; it was the first time in years. Rohan looked just the same; tall and handsome, smiling flirtatiously as he stood in front of the cafeteria surrounded by a group of giggling girls. My first instinct was to run; my stomach churned and I quickly looked away, praying that he hadn’t seen me. I couldn’t bear to face him- I didn’t know how I would react, whether I would ‘act right’ or give myself away.

A million thoughts ran through my mind, as did a hundred different emotions: embarrassment, jealousy, nervousness, fear, anger, contempt, hatred… and love. Blushing furiously, I turned away. It was a bad idea. Akshat and Aastha were headed my way. I tried smiling back but it probably looked like a grimace to them; Aastha raised an eyebrow questioningly and Akshat hurried forward looking concerned. At that moment, I really felt like hitting him. I’d had enough of his protectiveness, his determination to please me no matter what, to go out of his way to cooperate with me, even if it meant getting his feelings hurt.

Usually, I’d find it all flattering- any girl would. But the very fact that it wasn’t him that I wanted all this attention from ruined any chances of falling in love with him. I wanted to scream at him, and make him understand that his ‘eternal devotion’, as Aastha liked to call it, filled my heart with guilt and pity- which are not exactly the kind of emotions I’d like to associate with the one I love.

But a different voice in her head contradicted her thoughts- it reminded her that she did enjoy all the attention. Just that she didn’t want to commit to anything, that what she really wanted was to get something without having to give anything in return. She loved the compliments. In her own vicious way, she got a savage pleasure out of hearing him tell her how much he loves her, how he suffers when she doesn’t reciprocate his love, how he cannot bear to lose her. She didn’t realize it, but she was punishing him for no fault of his. She didn’t tell him to back away, to move on. She let him hang on to the hope that she might change her mind some day. She was scared of how much he would hate her if she turned him down- and told him the real reason for not accepting him. But more than that, she feared losing an ardent admirer- someone who would dance to her tunes.

In her own vicious way, she was doing to him what the boy behind her did to her.


She looked like a frightened rabbit when she saw me watching her; it made me smile ironically. This was so different from what I was used to; I remembered how determined Sukriti had always been not to react the way I’d expect her to. No blushing, no giggling; she’d always roll her eyes when I’d shower her with compliments and confess my undying love for her.

While I adored her for how unique she was, the contempt for me that was reflected in her words never went unnoticed. She made it sound like she was teasing me, ‘acting’ high and mighty because she seemed to think that a girl has the right to have the upper hand in a relationship. But I knew how deep rooted her sense of superiority was. She was always so sure that she was too good for me.

Yeah, right. I saw how shattered she was when I told her about the relationship I was in. Despite knowing me so well, she seemed shocked to know that I’d cheated on her. She tried to win me back; that was amusing. I let her- and got back a whole new Sukriti; sweet, docile, cooperative. And delicious.

Rohan did not regret anything he did. He was one to live for the moment. He knew that. He also knew that he never wanted to grow emotionally attached to anyone. He breaks away from people before they can get too close to him; before they can break away from the person he really is.


I couldn’t understand what was wrong with her. I knew it must have been awkward for her to encounter the guy she had been in a relationship with for so long. It just didn’t make sense that she seemed so nonchalant about it, even when he wrapped her in his arms right in front of us. It made my blood boil; God knew how much I hated that cocky smile. It took all the restraint I had to keep myself from breaking Rohan’s face. He thought he could get any girl he wants- he was so wrong. Sukriti didn’t love him anymore; he’d hurt her too much. I knew, because I was there to help her move on.

But right then and there, as she returned his hug like she did it everyday, I saw her eyes shine in adoration when she looked at him. And there was something more. While he held on to Sukriti and pulled her closer, I could clearly make out a change I’d never seen in her. Never had I watched her look at someone with such obvious desire. It made my heart squeeze. This could not have been happening. After everything I’d said to her, after all the times I had told her how mad I am about her such that I can hardly keep myself in control when she’s around, she hadn’t once looked at me the way she looked at this guy… who broke her heart and returned years later to claim her, without even saying a single word, like she always had belonged to him. And always will.

Akshat walked away before he could see anything else that would make him hate himself for loving her. He didn’t understand what just happened, or why. He didn’t understand why she was doing this. But more than anything else, he didn’t understand how she could choose him… knowing fully well that she was willingly walking into a death trap.


This is our second last post for the guest bloggers' month (yes this has stretched for more than a month :D). Thanks Arpi for sharing the story with us.


p.s.- Pics from google