Monday, December 30, 2013

Love Until the Sun Grows Cold- Part II

Hello, beautiful world! The coming of a new year calls for a celebration- and one of the best ways to celebrate is the exchange of gifts. Well, what could be a better present than a story? So here is my gift to you: the final part of 'Love Until the Sun Grows Cold'. {To read the previous part, click here.} I am hoping you all will enjoy reading this, and will gift me with your feedback! :P Wishing each one of you a wonderful new year! Happy reading!

  Guilt seared his heart but he knew he wasn’t the only one responsible for what happened. It was so difficult to explain something like this, especially after so much time had passed. Would Tara understand his reasons? Were they even justified? There was only so much he could have done, and he had suffered every day for God knew how long because of the decisions he had made- the decisions that were perhaps preordained; something that Tara could not understand, and Seher would not recognize.

"You never gave me a chance to speak to you about it,” he said. “When Seher moved abroad, you refused to talk to me for months. I got an email from you, telling me exactly how ‘despicable’ you think I am. I knew that nothing I said at the moment would matter anymore.”

   What he didn’t mention was that he had thought of a hundred different things to say to her then, to hurt her as much as she had hurt him. But he knew what would bother her most- silence on his part. He never replied. After Seher left, Tara seemed to have become a different person. She looked like she carried some secret with her; something that she would guard jealously, like treasure, but which seemed to give her some sort of masochistic pleasure.

He knew she was furious with him, and anticipated a terrible fight with a lot of name calling, and throwing things on her part. Instead, she had been so cold towards him all this while; that was a side of her he hadn’t known. Ignoring the way his gut clenched at the thought, he continued. “I am not denying that I was at fault. I just don't want you to think that I did not love her, because I did." 

  “All you had to do was give her a reason to come back. The Uday I thought I knew would never have let something go by him without doing whatever he could to make things right!”

“And I had never guessed that you, of all people, would leave me to my ‘misery’ without even hearing me out first!” He snapped back.  Several people turned to look at them.

  “You didn’t reply to my mail. It made me think I was right about everything I accused you of,” she hissed.

He frowned at her, weighing his next words carefully. “She is the most beautiful person I have ever known and she loved me even more than I could have hoped for. She had been there for me all those years, giving me the strength to go on, to have something to strive for. I still can’t fill the void she has left behind. And yet you thought I was trying to get out of the relationship because I was just not into her anymore?”

   “I never said it like that-”

“- but that’s what you thought, isn’t it?” He said, with a shrewd look. Tara’s eyes were glistening; she blinked rapidly and looked away. His gaze softened and he said gently, “I know that she was one of your best friends and you loved her; it’s bad enough to see good friends fight and it must have been even harder watching the two of us fall apart.”

  “It was.”

“But I had certainly not expected you to let our own friendship suffer, especially not after you saw what Seher’s absence did to both of us. I needed you to be there for me. But all I was left with was my own guilt and the pain of losing two of the most extraordinary people in my life. I loved her, Tara. I think I still do.”

  “But you gave up on her.” She said softly.

“And I still stay up at night sometimes, wondering if I made the correct decision. You have no idea how often I mistrust my choices; there’s always this fear inside me that I made a huge mistake.” He swallowed. “At the time, I did what I thought what was best for us- best for her. But every other day, I look back at the past and wish I could have taken the easy way out, by holding on to her for as long as possible until we had no other option but to stay apart. Your resentment added to my own disappointment. I didn’t need that- I blamed myself enough for both of us, I think.”

  Tara’s stomach turned over with guilt. She couldn’t even look him in the eye. “I was too heartbroken to see it that way. I am sorry, Uday.” She looked miserable. “I shouldn’t have made things worse for you. Seher has been like an elder sister to me all these years, and all the suffering that came with your break up with her was too difficult for me to deal with...She wouldn’t talk to me because I reminded her of you. You have no clue how hard that was for me to hear. And every time I would see you across the street, I would just be reminded that you were the reason she chose to leave- not just the country, but me too.”

“I’m sorry, Tara. I really wish it didn’t have to be that way.” Uday looked at her sadly.

  It was a while before she spoke again. “She was the first friend I made in the neighbourhood. When I was just about ten years old, she moved to the other end of the city, and your family came to live in her house instead. I was so unsure about having you as my next door neighbour. You were the evil guy with the dorky glasses who took over my friend’s place. I was so young that I thought she had to leave so that you could stay.”

Uday smiled at that. “I guess that’s a good thing then, because if you hadn’t felt that way, Seher wouldn’t have tried so hard to get us all to become friends.”

  “It sounds so incredibly stupid, but my little girl grudges against you came rushing back after she left. You really did seem to be the one to make her go away. It was immature and juvenile, but it soothed my ego because there were times when I used to think that I hadn’t tried hard enough to make things better either. I could’ve tried to help her understand that she couldn’t just leave everything to you; that she had to take things into her own hands because that was the only way out. But it was just so much easier putting the blame on you. I am so sorry.” It was incredible, how all of their lives were altered from that moment on, because of one person’s decision and another’s indecision.

“Well, I can’t really blame you. I know I had some part to play in hurting you too.” He said.

  “She just wanted you to approach her parents and get engaged. They would only have allowed her to live in the city and work if they knew she had someone to take care of her.” said Tara. “They were anyway in such a hurry to get her married. You knew there was no way she could convince them to let her wait a few more years once they all left for Oman.”

Uday leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees and his hands clasped together. “You need to understand that I did every possible thing I could to make sure Seher and I would end up together some day. I put my dreams aside so that I could make the ‘sensible choice’. I worked day and night to make myself capable enough.”

  He looked up at her just then, willing her to understand. “But don’t you see that her parents would inevitably have thought that I had not yet proved myself worthy of her? No matter how much they appreciate me as a person, they would never have agreed to let their only daughter marry a guy who did not yet have a stable, well paid job.”

“I know you asked her to stay. She told me so, on the day she left.” said Tara. “She was too scared to live away from family just for the sake of a guy who couldn’t promise that he would marry her.”

  “But she wasn’t willing to stay for your sake, either.” He said quietly.

His words pierced her heart but she didn’t let it show. “She would have, if you two had gotten engaged. Because then her parents might have felt better about leaving her behind-”

  “-Or not.” He finished for her.

Well, he was right about that. There was always a chance that things might not have turned out how Seher had hoped. “She was sure she wouldn’t be allowed to remain there. I wish she had the courage to choose the difficult, but better option- convincing her parents to let her stay, at least so that she could build her own career. She would not have had much to lose.”

  “And she could have bought us more time.” He sighed. “Seher said she couldn’t do it, so I must propose marriage and make sure that wherever she ends up staying, our relationship would stay alive. But I know her parents would have felt cheated because of being kept in the dark about our relationship all these years. You were the only one who knew but they wouldn’t have spared you either. You know they’d have been furious and she would anyway have been forced to leave.”

“Except that it would have felt a hundred times worse.” She finally understood.

  “This was my way of giving her a chance to make a fresh start. I owed her that much.” He couldn’t go on. Seher might have hurt him at times, over the years, and she might not have gone that extra mile for him when he needed her to, but Uday knew he could not hold her responsible. She deserved better than that.

“I thought you should know…that she did start over.” She said, in barely more than a whisper. His head jerked up at that. “She got married a year ago. She’s fine.” Tara had been staring at him, which was why she did not question the truth of the words he spoke.

“I’m… glad.”

   The change in him was hard to miss. He sighed deeply like he had been waiting with bated breath all this while. And somehow she knew what he had been waiting for- something which mattered to him above all else: finding Seher happy. It was then that she realized just how much he had loved her. He had already been living with the memory of her all this time. He had grown used to not to have her around in person, that was true. But she was always at the back of his mind like a song that keeps playing in our heads from time to time; one that we might not listen to anymore, but we never really get over it because it is special, because it made a difference.

  Each person holds a special place in our hearts. The imprints they leave in our lives remain etched into our memory, and while we learn to love again, the love we share with someone is always unique and can never be the same for another. She would never be his to claim, but he also knew that no one else could claim the part of her that belonged to him. He had already found love, but that day he found something more, something that he hadn’t known was buried deep within him. That which helps lessen the pain that inexorably comes with the course of true love: forgiveness, meant for her and also for himself. He could now live without the guilt, the pain, the sense of loss.

  When they said their goodbyes a quarter of an hour later, Tara watched Uday walk away, beaming at her, the bright sunshine illuminating the happiness on his face. She smiled back at him, thinking that perhaps she was right in not telling him that the friend she was visiting that day was Seher...But was she right, she asked herself? 

                                                                                                                                                                                                     *************The End************* 

PS: The pictures have been taken from Google. :)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Secret Santa with a Twist - Reviewing a blog

It is that time of the year when everything is lighted and decked up. Colorful festoons, confetti, pretty glittery decor, paper star lanterns, plum cakes, eggnog and colorfully decorated Christmas trees - it is my second favourite time of the year (first being Durga pujo).

My fondest childhood memories of Christmas are waking up to find the gifts Santa left on my bed and singing carols later with my friends.  This year the awesome blogeshwaris at Indiblogeshwaris decided to add a twist to the Secret Santa. We are playing the mischievous elves and secretly reviewing some amazing blogs. I'm reviewing Karan Shah's blog, Scribble.

To begin with the review, I love how the blog looks. The beautiful waves crashing in the header and the subtitle "Life is what happens when you are busy planning other things!!! - so I keep scribbling around" beautifully complements the overall blue background and feel of the blog. The blog has a journal like feeling where he scribbles his thoughts and pens his feelings.

Karan started his blog way back in 2010 but it is of late that he started posting regularly. He is a really versatile writer and his blog is a wonderful conglomeration of poems, short pieces of fiction and book reviews.
I really loved the 55 fiction pieces, he does a great job telling terribly tiny tales within the word constraints. Crisp, brief and beautiful writing.
What I loved most were his poems. The one titled "Mother" is poignant, deceptively simple and beautifully rhythmic, a wonderful dedication to one's mother. Karan is a poet at heart and all his blog posts have a beautiful rhythm and rhyme, even the most prosaic ones. He has really matured and grown as a blogger from the time he started.

There is one thing I think Karan could have added to his blog, an ABOUT ME section where he gives a little introduction about himself, his life and things he loves. Would love to see more book reviews and

Visit his blog and show some love.

Merry Christmas, people!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book review- The Cosmic Clues by Manjiri Prabhu

The Cosmic Clues

Author: Manjiri Prabhu
ISBN-13: 9788184954791
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Number of Pages: 324
Genre: Fiction 
Language: English
Price: Rs. 299 (Got a review copy from publishers)

About the Book: 

Sonia Samarth couldn't have predicted it. It had only been a day, but her first advertisement had drawn dozens of responses. In the bustling city of Pune, with its winding alleys and exotic customs, Sonia has launched a brand new business - private investigation guided by Hindu astrology. Her unique brand of investigation might raise eyebrows but before long, she seems to have found her niche.
When a cat leads Sonia to her very first investigation, she uses astrology to unmask the killer. Suddenly, clients begin streaming in a persistent, handsome TV personality, a terrified bride to be a missing husband with suicidal tendencies. These cases initially seem like isolated experiences, but Sonia soon finds that they are bound by an invisible thread. Very soon she will have to look closely at her own stars a notorious international criminal has just crossed Sonias path and he has his own plans for her future.

Aniesha Speaks :

I don't quite know how to start this review since it had a lot of elements I am biased about: 
i) Astrology and
 ii) a cat. 
All my life, I have preferred a cat over a dog, which has earned me both weird stares and awkward questions. Nevertheless, I will still go ahead and proclaim to the world that I am indeed a cat person. When I read the gist where it says Sonia Samarth's luck changes when the cat walks into their Stellar Investigations office, I was intrigued. I just knew I had to read this one for myself. 

Manjari Prabhu does not disappoint us when she says that this is India's first detective who combines astrology with her investigations. Reading horoscopes has always been regarded as scared in India, and this runs true through all the cases Sonia solves. 

Instead of focusing on one particular crime, Prabhu takes us through a series of unfortunate events, which slowly establishes Sonia and Jatin's detective agency. There is also subtle hints about her love life with Mohnish Rai, a freelance journalist, who also happens to own a flower shop! (I thought that touch was pretty cool... a!!!) 

A few hundred pages into the novel and Sonia begins to get flower bouquets from a Secret Admirer...even though she suspects they are sent by Mohnish, there is an unexpected twist in the tale. 

Prabhu holds the reader's interest to the last and yes, this book really is one of its kind. I am afraid to write more because I fear I'd end up revealing too much and take away the mystery from the readers. What has made me happier was the stamp on the cover whic said, "Soon to be a major motion picture." I really look forward to seeing this story on screen, and I am wondering who should play Sonia Samarth! 

Reviewed by Aniesha for Dreams and Drama.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Love Until the Sun Grows Cold: Part 1

Hello, beautiful people! I guess I'm feeling sheepish about blogging after what feels like an age. :P Things have just been topsy turvy lately, and I couldn't find the chance to return to it. I am back, though, and hopefully for good! There's a story I've been meaning to share for ever, and I am finally posting it. Your feedback is more than welcome; hope you all will like it! Happy reading!

It was a breezy winter morning when Tara boarded the ferry from Singapore to Bintan Island, Indonesia. Dressed flawlessly in a chic red turtleneck sweater, skinny blue jeans and flat boots, she dropped into a seat by the window and sighed. It was an hour long ride and for some strange reason there weren't a lot of intriguing passengers around to have a chat with; in fact, there weren't nearly enough people on board as expected.

   She pulled a magazine out of her heavy rucksack and began flipping through it randomly, even though she was highly tetchy that day and not at all in the mood to read. She was going to meet an old friend after what felt like ages and couldn't wait to get off the ferry.

It was a while before she sensed someone’s eyes on her. She looked up to see a guy peeking at her furtively. Tara quickly averted her eyes even though he seemed oddly familiar…Realizing that she had noticed him gawking at her, he decided to throw caution to the winds and approach her. Years had passed since she had sent him that email, reproaching him for his actions. Perhaps she had forgiven him?

   Picking up his briefcase, he made his way over and slid into the seat opposite hers. "Hi...Tara, right? Remember me?"

She raised an eyebrow at him. "No, actually, I don't."

   “I’m Uday.”

Her dark brown eyes widened incredulously. Could it really be him? The nerdy, happy-go-lucky guy who never cared much for looks? Impeccably dressed in an oxford shirt, trousers and a blazer, he now looked elegant and very, very upmarket. He smiled at the look on her face, making his dimples all the more stunning. "It's strange how hard it gets to recognize even a dear friend after years of being separated." 

   She shifted in her seat, embarrassed that she had been so obvious. It felt like one of those awkward moments when you're introduced to someone with whom you're expected to be polite, but don't know what to say to. “Well, you seem…different.”

He ran a hand through his hair self-consciously. “Honestly, I don’t know whether or not to take that as a compliment.”

  “Oh, I meant in a good way.” She replied. When he looked dubious, Tara gave him a cocky grin. “You look snazzy.”

He grinned back. "How come you're on your way to Bintan Island?"

  "I'm visiting a friend." She replied; an odd look came over her face as she watched his reaction.

He cleared his throat nervously, wondering what to say next. "So how have you been? I heard you weren’t too happy about studying in Singapore."

  “Oh, I actually like it here now.” She waved a hand airily.

“How come you got over the homesickness so soon?” said Uday.

  “I have two words for that: Retail Therapy.”

He chuckled. There was a quiet confidence about him that was charming, she noticed. And he seemed to have grown more mature, debonair. “You know, I never expected to see you here of all places.” She said.

  “Yeah, I know. I’m on a business trip actually.” He seemed to be gearing himself up for something. He cleared his throat again and tried- but failed- to look nonchalant. “Have you heard from Seher lately?”

“Yes. I have.” She said through pursed lips. She knew Seher was bound to come up at some point in the conversation. For a moment, the past seemed to hang in the air between them. The old familiarity gone, neither knew what to say to the other.

  Tara wondered how it would have been had her two best friends not broken up. There are some relationships which are built upon the foundation of such a powerful love that it envelopes others in its warm embrace. Seeing two such people fall in love can bring an inexplicable harmony; there is some sense of rightness in their being together. There may be turbulence in the relationship; something might not be working out. But when you know they are with each other, it feels like things are in their right place. It’s comforting, reassuring and peaceful. It’s right.

  Life doesn’t always go our way, however. Things fall apart. And we realize that the only way we can keep the love alive is in our memory. It can be devastating. Not just for those who are in love; but for everyone involved. When two people break up, they lose each other. But the friend loses the best of them both- the part that all three of them shared; that which nothing else can replace. Uday knew just as well as she did that he and Seher were perfect together. She was the woman of his dreams; and Tara had actually admitted that she herself could never consider any other guy to be as worthy of her friend. And yet he had let ‘Fate’ take over their lives.  


 She turned away, staring determinedly out of the window. She knew she wasn't being fair by blaming him for the break up- she hadn't even been fair to herself. She need not have lost him as a friend too. But how could she have talked to him every other day when she knew that Seher would not have broken all ties with her if it hadn't been for him?

  Seher might have come back into her life, but things were just not the same anymore. It might be selfish, but Tara felt like Uday had let things come crashing down even though he knew what it would mean for the three of them- the end of the best phase of their lives; the end of their friendship. 

All the anger and resentment she had felt towards him suddenly came crashing into the present, momentarily wiping out all other thought from her mind. “You let her go,” she said in a flat voice, and saw the pain flash across his face.

  “I couldn’t make her stay.” He whispered.

  Guilt seared his heart but he knew he wasn’t the only one responsible for what happened. It was so difficult to explain something like this, especially after so much time had passed. Would Tara understand his reasons? Were they even justified? There was only so much he could have done, and he had suffered every day for God knew how long because of the decisions he had made- the decisions that were perhaps preordained; something that Tara could not understand, and Seher would not recognize.

"You never gave me a chance to speak to you about it,” he said. “When Seher moved abroad, you refused to talk to me for months. I got an email from you, telling me exactly how ‘despicable’ you think I am. I knew that nothing I said at the moment would matter anymore.”

   What he didn’t mention was that he had thought of a hundred different things to say to her then, to hurt her as much as she had hurt him. But he knew what would bother her most- silence on his part. He never replied. After Seher left, Tara seemed to have become a different person. She looked like she carried some secret with her; something that she would guard jealously, like treasure, but which seemed to give her some sort of masochistic pleasure...


(...To be continued)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tea at Mrs. Magpie

Hello People,

It has been a very long time since I did a real post (as in a proper post apart from regular reviews, sponsored and contest stuff)  here on the blog. So, I decided to do something I haven't done here before; a restaurant review.

If you live in Kolkata, then you must make sure you visit this beautiful quaint little place near Golpark / Vivekanada Park. It is a little difficult to spot as it is almost in the middle of nowhere, in the ground floor of an apartment. I went there the first time with Shayoni from Sweetandbitterblog and we almost did not spot this when we went to search for it. The moment you enter the place, you feel like you have stepped into fairy land. The pretty floral wallpapers, cute edible decor (which of course you are just permitted to look and not eat  ), delightful elfish furniture and adorable crockery at this place always manages to turn me into a crazy and hyper-excited 5 year old. 

Take a look-

The large cupcakes

Royal Enfield Cake :D

Gangnam style inspired cake

Marzipan House and Car

How cute is this shoe house, reminded me of that tale about the dame who lived in one :D

School bus =)

This merry-go-round shaped cake actually moves and a jingle plays when it does. How cool is that ?

Teddy bear cookies
What I loved at this place and my recommendations-

1) I am totally addicted to Earl Grey and I drank that whole teapot full of tea , all by myself  . Brownie points for the complimentary teddy bear shaped cookie that comes with every cup you order. 

2) The cupcakes are the cutest things ever and are freshly baked (the entire place smells of baked goodies). I personally didn't like the taste but most of my friends love them. So, you should give them a try before deciding if you like them or not.

3) The hot chocolate tastes perfect, not too sweet, not too bitter. Tastes almost like molten Cadbury silk and Bournville mixed together. HEAVEN!! 

4) The chicken and cheddar puff and scones almost melt in your mouth, super soft , very different from the regular puff pastries they sell you everywhere. 

5) The chocolate ice cream was okayish (as in nothing different from regular ice creams) but the apple sorbet tasted great, very refreshing and light on your palate.

6) Really sweet staff. I asked them the brand of tea they use and they handed me over the entire packet so that I could check all details I wanted. Also the glass tumblers they provide water in look adorable.

Have you visited the place? If you did, do let me know what stuff you tried and liked there.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Emancipating "Hijras"

The term “hijra” is very widely used term in Hindi (and a few other languages). But when it comes to finding an equivalent term in English, it is a tad bit more complex. Terms like transgender, transexual and asexual all refer to a set of people with a non-specific sexual identity but are not exactly equivalents of “hijra”. A simpler way of defining them would be to say that they are a set of people who do not fit into either of the two genders that are officially accepted in most countries, male and female. 

People with Klinefelter’s Syndrome (XXY sex chromosome) or Turner’s Syndrome (X0 sex chromosomes) fall into the category who due to chromosomal mutations in the fetal stage  are born with a genetic defect which affects their reproductive systems, rendering them sexless and hence, infertile.

What is important to know is the widespread ignorance about this category of people and the derogatory use of the term to signify the class of people belonging to the category. Often have I come across a group of “hijras” being invited to dance on the birth of a newborn in a house and provide them with blessings for which they get paid a meager amount. Also, a group of them roaming about inside train compartments and buses asking people for alms is another very common sight. 

This was written for Half Baked Beans blog. Read the rest here-

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Website Review -

E-retailing has transformed the entire shopping experience for shopaholics. With everything from food, clothing, decor, and almost every other daily essential being available online, people have switched to the more convenient mode of shopping. All you do is find your product, pay using your card or order COD and get it directly delivered to you in no time. Does anything get better than this? Yes, it does. Previously, you saved money (on gas), time (for travelling to the retail shop) and energy (strolling around trying to find what you need at the supermarket). And now, with the introduction of coupons websites and sites for price comparison for each product, not only can you find the best product for the cheapest but also get fabulous discounts (over the already discounted price on the website) through coupons throughout the year.

What exactly is and how is it different from any other coupon website? is India's pioneering cashback and coupons site.What makes them different from any other coupons site is that they not only list great coupons on various websites but also provide cashback. The website is associated with more than 350 brands and websites which provide the members with not only amazing discounts on the products but also the scope to earn hard cash while they shop. I have always believed that real cash is always better than any coupon, it gives me the freedom to purchase absolutely anything I want while coupons are website and deal specific with terms and conditions.

So how exactly does it work?

The best thing I found about them is how easy and uncomplicated the entire procedure is. This is how it goes-
1) Join for free.
2) Search for the website/ product you want to buy. (or) Click on the tabs to find the best coupons / cashbacks / offers.
3) From the drop down list, select the deal which appeals to you and click on the deal link.
4) Upon clicking the selected deal, the link will take you directly to the retailer's website in a matter of seconds.
5) Shop like you usually do. (Make sure you do the transaction in the same referral. if you are not directed through, the cashback will not work.)
6) Get your product delivered from the respective retailer and get the earned cashback deposited to your account which can be withdrawn directly when it reaches INR 250.
7) If you haven't received a notification regarding the cashback, you can always raise a ticket to check for it and get it resolved by the efficient team  in no time.


1) Clean, detailed, organised and clutter free look which makes navigation extremely smooth and easy.
2) Get real cash deposited in your bank account apart from great deals.
3) Cash is deposited directly to your bank account through NEFT transfer or as a cheque whichever you prefer.
4) Refer your friends using your unique referral link and earn 10% of their cashback earnings for an entire lifetime.

I have been extremely satisfied with the absolutely fabulous deals that you can get through them and how quick and simple the entire procedure is. I'll most definitely recommend every online shopping addict to try this website and save more as they shop.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Review- Amreekandesi by Atulya Mahajan


Author: Atulya Mahajan
ISBN-13: 9788184003956
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Random House India
Number of Pages: 318
Genre: Fiction 
Language: English
Price: Rs. 199 (Got a review copy)

About the Book: 

Akhil Arora, a young, dorky engineer in Delhi, cant wait to get away from home and prove to his folks that he can be on his own. Meanwhile in a small town in Punjab, Jaspreet Singh, aka Jassi, is busy dreaming of a life straight out of American Pie. As fate would have it, they end up as roommates in Florida. But the two boys are poles apart in their perspectives and expectations of America. While Akhil is fiercely patriotic and hopes to come back to India in a few years, Jassi finds his Indian identity an uncomfortable burden and looks forward to finding an American girl with whom he can live happily ever after.

Laced with funny anecdotes and witty insights, Amreekandesi chronicles the quintessential immigrant experience, highlighting the clash of cultures, the search for identity, and the quest for survival in a foreign land.

Swarnali Speaks :

Amreekan Desi is the story of Akhil and Jassi and many other Indians who crack GRE to live their American dream. Atulya Mahajan very successfully portrays the difference between this supposed dream and what actually happens when the FOB-Fresh off the Boat Indians land on the American soil. The book is an amusing narration of the cultural shock that Indians get initially and how they learn to mold themselves to fit into a society which is so distinctly different from ours. What is very appealing about the book is a very fresh , candid and honest depiction of the real America versus the America that we imagined after watching tonnes of American movies and TV shows. The unvarnished appeal of the book could be attributed to the author's first hand experience of going to the USA for higher studies, much like the protagonists.

The best part of the book was the humor quotient which is evident from the cover itself. Though not absolutely hilarious, the incidents and anecdotes in the book do manage to make you giggle from time to time.  Be it Akhil's professor's assumption of the former of being an Indian prince who rides and elephant or his father's typical Indian mindset of instantly converting USD into INR before purchasing an item, the book has innumerable incidents to make the reader have a hearty laugh, sometimes on the absurd notions of India that Americans have and sometimes on our own typical Indian behavior (for example, hogging on airline food). Also, it comes as a relief that the book does not contain glaring typos or grammatical errors.

What I think would've been better is if the author had paid more attention to making the lives of the characters seem a little more complex instead of describing one incident after another. I would have liked to see how Jassi's family would've reacted to his Amreekan girlfriend, Victoria ,which was not touched upon (very little was told about his family in fact). Also the straightening of issues with Akhil and Nandita seemed a little too simple and almost DDLJ-ish but enjoyable, nonetheless.

If you are one of those planning to appear for GRE and shifting to the States in the near future or are are one of those who love to read while on the move, this book is the perfect choice for you. A light, breezy and enjoyable read, this one is sure to tickle your funny bones. I already have in mind a couple of friends of mine who are planning to go to the States and this book will make the perfect gift for them.

Rating : 3.5 / 5 

This review was a part of Reader's Cosmos book review program.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Book Review- A Maverick Heart: Between Love and Life by Ravindra Shukla

A Maverick Heart: Between Love and Life

Author: Ravindra Shukla
ISBN-13: 9789382473008
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Frog books/ Leadstart Publishing
Number of Pages: 383
Genre: Fiction / Drama
Language: English
Price: Rs. 195 (Got a review copy)

About the Book: 
Resonance -  We often use the term, “frequency matching” in our daily life to define compatibility. Our frequency does not match, we do not get along? We are not in sync? We are not on the same page etc? When people of similar frequencies (wavelengths or within the same range) come together – output is not a simple sum of individual work, but exponential. In science we term this phenomenon as resonance. Output at this stage is beyond any logical limit. Three young kids, with different family backgrounds and outlook meet during their graduation days at IIT-Bombay campus and become close friends. Although, individually they are in sync, but the same is not true for their interaction with the world. How will their relation withstand the conflict of family and society pressure? How do their character shape out, as they traverse from an educational environment through the corporate world to the realm of the social-political world? Inspired by the real events across the globe from the last decade, Ravindra Shukla brings you the characters based story – struggle and triumphs of a young generation and their relevance in the current socio-eco-political era.

Swarnali Speaks :
The book blurb and the author profile promised a lot of great things. A lot of important contemporary issues like cultural conflicts, corruption, the marriage scenario are highlighted and paid attention to. As the very title suggests, the book is not just a love story but tells the tales of three protagonists, Rahul, Richita and Neerav, their stories of love, friendship and how they waddle through life trying to find meaning.
The characters in the books are not sketchy and are developed quite in depth. However, I would have liked if Neerav was paid a little more attention. The stories of camaraderie between the two guys, campus tales from IIT-B, and the thoughtfully penned dialogues are the positives.
The problem areas in the book were mostly with the editing and the typos spread throughout the course of the book which is a major turn off. The book was unnecessarily dragged to almost 400 pages which makes the pace painfully slow in certain areas. It could have been  almost brought down to half the size with careful editing which would have made it crisp and sharper. The few Hindi dialogues inserted into the book helps to bring out the Indian fervor but a translation would've been a lot of help for non-Hindi knowing readers.
Another issue I had with the book is the way it was presented. The story is quite promising and tries to bring together some very great ideas but the unusually slow pace is a little disappointing. Also the shuttling between the narratives were pretty confusing for me and I think they could be neater. A good example of narration shift from first person to third person can be seen in R.K. Narayan's "Guide" which I think the author can refer to to sharpen his narrative skills for his future endeavors.
Overall, the book is an okay-ish read. You can give it a try it if you like campus stories and like detailed narratives.

Rating : 2 / 5 

This review was a part of Reader's Cosmos book review program.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Get your first pair of glasses for free from

1. New Customers get your first pair free at right now! Check out
2. All free code eligible eyegwear at that page is offered in limited quantities every day. First come, first served!
3. For new customers only. One pair per person.
4. All free frames come complete with 1.50 single vision lenses, complimentary cases, cleaning cloth and other accessories. You just need to pay shipping.
5. Full refund for dissatisfaction.

If you never tried Firmoo or bought glasses on-line, here are some tips that might help:

The virtual try-on system is a great help in choosing your favorite glasses:
1. You'll see all wearing effects by switching to the virtual try-on mode on the product list page.
2. Upload your own pictures to see how you'll look with the chosen glasses on.
3. When you move the mouse over your favorite glasses, you'll find some users wearing the pair on the right side of the page. Which will be a great reference.
See more real and unbiased comments from users:
1. Do people people wearing your chosen pair of glasses under the product info go with your styles?
2. Take more customers feedbacks for reference.

Pictures and Videos from Customers:
Click here to view more related videos on youtube.

(The above customer photos are all derived from Firmoo+.)
New Customers, check more products for your first free pair at right now! You just need to pay shipping. First come, first served!
About Firmoo
Firmoo is the World's Most Popular Online Eyeglasses Store. We have always been committed ourselves to offering customers the best quality products at the most affordable prices which start at 8 dollars- 80%-90% lower compared to that in local store.
If you are a publishers (Blogger / Podcaster / Facebooker / Twitter Daren, etc.), click for business cooperation.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Easy Doodle Recipe- Mixed Masala Macaroni


This is one of my favourite go to evening cravings dish. Tired of eating the same old Maggi noodles and cornflakes, I decided to cook up something new.

Here is a more detailed description of the recipe (you don't really need a recipe, you can NEVER get anything wrong in this one.)

1) In a pot, heat water and add salt to it and bring it to boil. Add macaroni when you see the water boiling. This will prevent the pasta from sticking to each other. Some others prefer adding a spoonful of oil to the water to stop the mac from sticking but it also prevents the sauce from sticking to it properly. Cook the macaroni for 5-6 minutes till it is al-dente (i.e. tender yet not squished). 

2) In a pan, add two tablespoons of Bertolli's Classico Olive oil (I use this one because it is suitable for hot cooking like deep frying).

3) Chop 2 tomatoes and one big onion into small cubes. Also chop 1-2 garlic pods. Add to the hot oil and saute till soft.    

4) Add a tablespoon of tomato ketchup, one tablespoon of soy sauce and chilli sauce each into the pan and stir till they are evenly mixed. 

5) In a different pan, fry prawns and scramble two eggs.  

6) Add scrambled eggs, fried prawns and the cooked macaroni into the first pan and mix well. Taste and sprinkle some more soy sauce if needed.

7) Sprinkle a teaspoon of garam masala over and serve. 

P.S.- Vegans can replace eggs and prawns with cottage cheese cubes, capsicums (bell peppers) and mushrooms.

 My Doodle recipe is a part of Easy Doodle Recipe contest at in association with .

Till Next,