Sunday, 27 November 2016

Saree Story - Black beauty

Saree - A printed silk from Kolkata. Decided to pair with a white blouse.

Occasion - Office/party. The best part about printed silks is that one can play around with makeup and accessories and wear the same saree for different occasions. So, if u have to attend a party post work, printed silk is a good choice.

Accessories - Tribal silver necklace

Makeup - Since this was for office, I kept the look minimal to the basic black eyeliner (Lakme Absolut, Wine Lip colour and a black bindi). However, eye makeup and blush would enhance the look for party.

While we often hear stories of stuff bought from Mehnat ki Kamai, let me share the story of this saree, which I call my "Jhagde ki Kamai;)
This black beauty printed silk was gifted by mom to my elder sister some 15-16 years ago. The moment I saw this saree I knew she had to be mine. But, I was still in school then, and didi was already married and working. So mom didn't even consider me in the race... 
However, I didn't give up. Whenever I used to visit didi, I would pester her to hand it over to me. It almost became a joke for everyone in the family. Didi too didn't budge. Each time I asked for this saree, she would say, "U can even take my wedding saree...but this black beauty is mine!"

I conveniently forgot about this discussion once I was married and mom ensured my wardrobe overflowed with Sarees.

Recently when I visited Delhi, I was casually browsing through didi's saree collection, when this black beauty caught my attention. Nostalgia took over and we recollected the tug of war! With age comes wisdom, and didi affectionately said, "I have worn it it's ur time to wear beautiful sarees!" While for a moment, I couldn't believe my ears, I decided to cash on the opportunity before didi's mind changed...
So finally, after 15 long years, this black beauty is mine!

Pairing with a beautiful tribal necklace, curated by my one and only sweetheart sister! Wish everyone get a sister as generous as her 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

I Am Just A mom, Not God

(This was published in Parentous)

When a woman becomes a mother, all she wants is to be the best mother and enjoy the phase of motherhood. To ensure everything goes fine, she gets into action much before the delivery. She spends hours researching on the internet, immerses herself in parenting books, attends hours of prenatal sessions and becomes a total sponge each time someone drops advice based on their experience.

Finally comes the phase she had been waiting for nine months – to hold her little one in her arms and bask in the joy of motherhood. But, with the bliss come many surprises that the new mommy couldn’t have imagined in her wildest dreams. To begin with, the sheer number of guests paying family sized visits to the hospital, despite knowing how susceptible a newborn is to infections carried by visitors.

While all that a mom wants is a bouquet of good moments and cooperation from people around, she is often left to deal with eyes scrutinizing her abilities from all directions – beginning from....Continue reading

Friday, 7 October 2016

Sometimes, it takes Blue to beat away the blues...

Sometimes, it takes Blue to beat away the blues!
Well, that's exactly how I like to describe today's Saree story...

All set to flaunt this Blue silk to work, as I left home,
The water filled pits outside my society gave me a welcome

They were in a mood for a splash
But I didn't want my plans to crash

Managing the bags, umbrella, pallu and holding the pleats a little above the land,
OMG! I felt like Goddess Durga, albeit with two hands!

I feared the Saree would crush
But the love for my saree asked me to hush

By the time I reached office, the rains decided to take a break
I had made it. Positivity and belief is all it takes

Basking in the downpour of compliments, I was elated to see many more in blue,
The blue did beat away the Blues, yes it's true!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Book Review - A Broken Man

Author - Akash Verma
Publisher - Srishti
Genre - Fiction
Price - Rs. 195

First Impressions

The ordinary figure of "A Broken Man" becomes rather special due to the multitude of colours running in his veins. Just like a rainbow, our life is an ensemble of various hues, each painting a different emotion on the canvas of our heart. A Psychedelic man had me totally impressed!

My View
The book begins on a beautiful thought by the Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda, "As long as one has hope, there is nothing one cannot achieve; everything is born from hope." Beautiful thought to begin a story that feeds on hope.

There is something about campus romance that makes stories an instant hit with the readers. Perhaps it is their ability to take us back in time to our college days and envelope us in the warmth of their memories. What makes the story more special is campus romance brewing amidst politics, casteism and issues faced by people in remote villages of our country.

A major part of the story runs in flashback, with the rich, popular and successful script writer and lyricist of the Hindi film industry, KK remembering his journey from rags to riches. From a poor Dalit boy who is a nobody in the campus of Lucknow University, Krishna Kumar, alias KK is now the most sought after writer. True to the popular saying "Behind a successful man, there is a woman" KK too attributes his success to Chhavi, his college sweetheart. Though physically not present with him, her memories inspire him each day just like the many inspirational stories she had told him when they were together. The only spark of happiness and hope remained in his life is an yearly email from Chhavi wishing KK on his birthday, the only remaining communication between the two. Like prized possession, KK reads the mails again and again to feel the lot unsaid behind those two words. So one year, when he finds the usual birthday message missing from his mailbox, anxiety and the fear of losing his love grips him. Without thinking twice, he sets out on a road trip from Mumbai to Lucknow - a trip that is also a trip down the memory lane, as he narrates his tragic love story to his driver and confidante, Ram Singh.

The story exposes the dark side of casteism in UP and Bihar, as young Dalit student Krishna Kumar has to endure many insults and exploitation due to his lower caste. He leaves his village in remote Bihar for good, hoping for a bright future in Lucknow university. However, to his shock the laws passed by government for equality of all castes is merely a tool used by the politicians on campus. The very leaders who use him as a pawn to play caste politics, inflict caste based insults on him when not in public view. 

However, his faith in honest politics gets restored by a chance meeting with Chhavi, the daughter of a veteran Brahmin politician. What surprises and impresses Krishna about Chhavi is that despite coming from a popular political family, she has no air about herself. She is committed to serve for student welfare and unlike everyone else doesn't bat an eyelid before befriending a Dalit boy. In no time, Chhavi breezes her way into Krishna's heart and love blossoms. Chhavi not only embraces Krishna for who he is, she also reaches out to his family which has him assured of her true love.

Besotted by Chhavi's charm and lost in her love, Krishna forgets the curse of his low caste. It returns to haunt him, this time taking away from him the love of his life. However, before going away, Chhavi ensures to lay the foundation of Krishna's bright future by recommending him to her cousin working with an ace advertising agency in Mumbai. 

After every few pages, the author pampers the readers to Hindi poetry, something I found very unique about the book.

Whether Krishna reclaims his love or not is for the readers to find out. But after reading the book, I felt that the end of the story doesn't matter much in front of the Krishna's journey that keeps us engrossed throughout. If campus politics, romance and social issues interest you, you will find an interesting company in the book on a Sunday afternoon.

Grab the book for 

  • The warmth of your hometown and the smell of village soil
  • Genuineness of the characters. 
  • The awesome Hindi poetry giving guest appearances after every few pages and the street play slogans reminding of JNU.
  • Sheer simplicity of Krishna Kumar. He reminded me of Dhanush from the move "Ranjhana"

Scope for improvement

  • As a reader of fiction, I had huge expectations from the ending. When the story finished in a very plain jane manner, I was left looking for more. The ending could have been thought better.

My Rating

This review is for Writersmelon and Srishti Publishers

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Book Review - The Heart Listens to No One

Author – Purba Chakraborty
Pages – 64
Price - Rs. 68 (Kindle edition)

First Impressions
At first, when I looked at the cover, I got a feeling of something mysterious or supernatural. At least the dark hue of blue and the forest signalled so. But very soon, the bird, violin and the title hinted the otherwise. As they say, one can never judge a book by its cover!

My View
Poetry has the ability to uplift our mood and transport our heart to faraway places. It was on a boring, rainy afternoon that I picked up Purba's book. Listening to the sound of raindrops dancing on my window, in no time I found myself lost in the world of love, longing, pain and memories.

"The Heart Listens to No One" is a collection of 35 poems about love. Purba rightly mentions that the heart listens to no one, for it is governed by love. Each poem is like a spice in a spice box, adding its distinct flavour to the dish of love. So, while reading "The Soul Tale", one is reminded of that first magical meeting that transforms the lives of two individuals. "Painting" depicts how love paints the canvas of heart with colours of commitment, care and passion. "kaleidoscope" tells of that moment in love when eyes do the talking and words lose relevance. Reading "Musical Silence", I could imagine myself sitting next to lovers on a starry night, witnessing the music of silence, when feelings are miles ahead of expressions. "A long winter night is all about preserving memories of precious moments. Having retained many sarees worn by my mom, I know how old clothes and characteristic fragrances ring in nostalgia. Being sincere in a relationship also amounts to watering the memories, so they become immortal. For each union, there is also a separation. Time flows like a river, transporting the once inseparable lovers to different shores of life. Often, the separation isn't pleasant (Well, when has separation been good, anyway?). Sometimes, the very same gifts that remind us of the good moments are like thorns pricking us every now and then by their presence. The traces of the burnt days then, have to be wiped out (Traces and fragments).

Since Purba has been wise enough to divided the book into themes (Love, longing, Romance, fond reminisces and separation), one doesn't feel as if reading a book. Lost in the world of love, I felt as if I was a spectator in a theatre, witnessing a romantic play! The beautiful words magically weaved the imageries, like the scenes of a play. 

If you enjoy reading romance, the section "romance" will find a place in your heart; when a mere gaze makes up for love letters and moments spent apart. It is amazing how one can experience the joy of a lifetime in those few moments spent with her beloved. But then, such is the magic of true love!

If you have ever been in love, the book will take you to the magical world, where soul is the boss and love, the only logic. If you are yet to be lucky with love, the poems like raindrops will sprinkle the divinity of love!

Thumbs Up

  • This is Purba's first work that I have read and I am impressed by her ability to express the most intense emotions so effortlessly. 
  • Real beauty lies in less and simple and going by the simple language and short poem format, she has used the simplicity well to her advantage.
  • The poems strike an instant chord with the readers. Some tickle joy when they rekindle memories, while some strike the blow of refreshing unpleasant memories. 
But then, umm...

  • I would have really loved if the cover spoke about love as much as the poems did.

My Rating 

About the author
Purba Chakraborty is the author of two novels “Walking in the streets of love and destiny” (2012) and “The Hidden Letters” (2014). “The Heart Listens to No One” is her first poetry book. She has also contributed her poems and short stories in several anthologies such as “Rhymes and Rhythm”, “Minds @ Work 4”, “Kaafiyana”, “Mélange~ a potpourri of thoughts”, “Fusion~ a mingled flavor mocktail”, “Stories for your Valentine” etc. You can visit her blog to read more of her writings.  

I received a copy of the book from the author for an honest review.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

When daughters make us proud

There was something different about today evening. Unlike most Friday evenings when people are busy partying, surprisingly everyone was in a hurry to reach home. The otherwise office cafeteria buzzing with activity during evening snacks saw many no shows as all were trying to wind up early for the day. The reason was NOT a India-Pak ODI match, but a 21 year old playing to win Gold medal for India.

After all, it isn't a usual affair to witness an Indian player qualifying for the Badminton Singles grand finale in "The Olympics!" 

The wait for next pickup in our Uber Pool cab became unbearable for none of us wanted to be late for the historic match. Finally, when the gentleman arrived after a good 6 minute wait, we were ready with our stinking looks. However, as soon as he entered the cab he said, "Bhaiyya, please try to drive fast, for today is a historic day for us...India might win its first Badminton Gold in Olympics!" While the driver gave a helpless smile, our anger vanished, realising the gentleman too was a part of the match frenzy. The otherwise frustrating ride through Mumbai traffic seemed to appear short and interesting as we kept discussing the sport throughout.

What made me happier was the fact that this was one rare occasion when the whole country was biting their nails for a sport other than cricket! Usually our cricketers take away all the limelight, leaving other sportspersons to make their name count by clinching medals. The fact that my favourite sport Badminton was the hot topic of discussion today had me smiling ear to ear. The Euphoria took me back in time when every evening and every holiday meant a longish date with the Badminton racket and Shuttle cock. My bestie and I indulged ourselves to the game for hours, hitting smashes and trying to freeze the game. Angered by their calls being ignored, our moms would drag us home to have meal or finish homework. 

The passion sadly, had a short life. As I entered the crucial 10th standard, all extra curricular activities were sacrificed in the race to qualify for competitive exams, for having a good career meant becoming a doctor or engineer. Not that there weren't sportspersons making the country proud back then. But the occasions were rare. Lack of opportunities, facilities and exposure prevented sports being seen a stable career option back then.

Today when I see the daughters of our country bringing laurels in the field of sports, my happiness seems no bounds. Finally, Indian parents are waking up to recognise sports at par with other career options. The proud families of Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu are a testimony to this fact. Beti bachao and beti padhao are no longer just slogans found in speeches and there are parents who in fact are saying, "beti khilao, medal jitao!" 

Of course, the burden of expectations and stress still shows on these young faces. In today's finale, while Spain's Carolina Marin looked relaxed and all set for the fight, the continuous tensed expressions on the face of PV Sindhu didn't go unnoticed by the commentators. Choosing sports as a full time career option still puts double the pressure to excel vis a vis conventional career options. But then, pioneers are those who take the path less beaten and leave their trail behind!

Congrats Sakshi & PV Sindhu! You haven't just won Olympic medals. You have created history, for a daughter has done what no son has ever done! 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Book Review - Corpokshetra - Mahabharata in the MBA Yug

Author – Deepak Kaul
Publisher – Westland, BGB
Pages – 124
Price -  Rs. 200

First Impressions

The minute I picked up the book, my eyes were glued to the charming and smiling face of Lord Krishna on the cover. Here's our lord in the modern times, looking dapper in corporate attire! Few things of course changed with the times - the Sudarshan chakra seemed to be replaced with car keys! Soon, my attention went to the familiar figures of Pandavas and Kauravas all set to break each other's heads with cricket bats. Poor Bhishm pitamah too stares helplessly, as Lord Krishna gives a typical "Sab Maya hai' smile! Wow, couldn't wait to get started with this book!

My View
Having read many versions of the Mahabharata, this I must say has by far been the most unique experience. Since childhood, Mahabharata to me meant the epic TV series, grand courtrooms, royal costumes, headgears, horses, chariots, and of course, liberal use of shudh hindi.

I was somewhat in a state of amusement and shock while reading the first few pages. What if I were to tell you that Hastinapur was in fact Hastinapur enterprises, a business conglomerate; Duryodhan was the CEO who was against the Pandavas claiming their equity stakes  in the company; during the 13 year Vanya vaas, the Pandavas were to run a NGO; and Krishna actually owned a consulting firm? Before, you jump on and think I have lost it completely, let me tell you this is the set up of the modern Mahabharata as told in the book. 

For the generation that was born much after the TV serial Mahabharata became popular, Mahabharata is just an epic. To modernise the whole concept by drawing parallels with the corporate world is then a very unique attempt by the author. 

Like a blockbuster movie, the first half impresses us with the Corporate jargons. In fact, I was mostly in splits, appreciating the author's out of the box thinking! 

Picture this -

Krishna dancing on the head of Kaliya Nag, the MD of Yamuna Corp, to relent and set up a co-operative to be run by cowherds
Krishna raising mountains to get Indra, the chairman of Govardhan Ltd., to stop scorching fertile land to set up a cosmetics factory
Duryodhana and Karna discussing the state of affairs over a cup of Starbucks coffee
The battle of Kurukshetra is actually an attempt by Pandavas to reclaim their lost equity stake from the Kauravas through a hostile takeover
Kurukshetra, where the Mahabharata took place was in the fact the largest conference room in the offices of Hastinapur enterprise
Kauravas inviting Pandavas for the historical Poker game over Watsapp!

While I would refrain from revealing more about the book, the above hints are enough to invoke your interest in this interesting book. Throughout the first half I was in awe of the creativity, holding my stomach and laughing throughout the story of Mahabharata in the MBA yug. 

However, it was the battle of Mahabharata that finally woke me up from my comfort for I was beginning to get somewhat confused. We all know the battle of Kurukshetra was the deciding factor, however, whether the fate of Hastinapur Inc was to be decided by boardroom battle, golf match, or cricket was something I was thoroughly confused about. One moment saw Arjun throwing things in the boardroom to avenge the wrongdoings against Abhimanyu, while the other saw Pandavas and Kauravas using sports to decide who shall control Hastinapur Inc. 

Finally, I did what the reader of fiction should do, stopped drawing parallels with the story I knew and enjoyed the story with the fresh mind. By the time I flipped the last page, my heart was shouting "this is entertainment, entertainment, entertainment!" Lol!

I recommend this book for its sheer uniqueness. The apt use of corporate lingo will leave you in splits. 

The book is unique for another reason. Did you know this is a crowd curated book? Bloody Good Book is a unique eBook publishing venture, wherein the aspiring authors are invited to submit their manuscript at The first 3 chapters of their manuscript will be made available to readers, who will read and review them. The top rated and most popular books are reviewed by BGB (eBooks) and Westland (print) editors and considered for publication.

Thumbs Up
Very unique concept
Apt use of corporate jargons
Seasoned with the right amount of humour
I particularly enjoyed reading the afterword for its sheet honesty and recommended readings by the author.

But then, umm...
The Kurukshetra war could have been more realistic than a combination of verbal spats, physical fights, cricket and golf match deciding the fate of a business conglomerate.

My Rating 

This review is for Writers Melon and Westland.