Classified Chats with Quikr Nxt

Web sites that showcase classified ads have grown over the last few years. They have truly made for buyers and sellers. I have posted many ads in the recent past on these online classified sites and I was surprised by the number of leads that got generated through these free ads. The initial euphoria of getting calls for the ads that I had placed soon died down as I faced an issue that was seemingly going out of hand.

It was a deluge of calls. It was overwhelming and that they came at all hours was bordering on irritation! Also some callers were just seeking information with no intent of buying and some were prank calls!!

And then, I came to know about a new feature from Quikr which is called Quikr Nxt.

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When my sister was thinking of replacing his existing car, I suggested her to do it through Quikr Nxt. We sat together and posted the advertisement for the car at Quikr.com. The MSP feature helped us to know whether there was synergy between our expected price and the maximum price our car would fetch.

Soon enough an instant message popped up on the screen. It was a message from a prospective buyer. He asked for some more car details which we provided instantly in the chat message. I liked that when we used Quikr Nxt, we didn’t had to share our phone number /e mail id on the website. (We clicked ‘Maintain My Privacy’ in the ‘Your Contact Information’ when we placed our free ad. )This new feature gave us complete online privacy. Also we could chat with multiple buyers in parallel chat windows.

Unlike the earlier hassle of entertaining calls at all hours, with the chat feature at Quikr Nxt, one can chat at our convenience. So, no more excusing yourself in the middle of a meeting or no disturbance during your afternoon siesta!

Another fabulous feature of this instant messaging is that one does not have to refer to the notes or remember the exchange one had with so many prospective buyers. It’s all there in the past chats histories. This is a life saver, actually! No more confusion and not much strain on the grey cells too.

Now, while posting the ad, we shared 5-6 pictures of our car, which were the view of the car from the front, side, back etc. One customer wanted to have a close-up of the upholstery and another wanted to know the speedometer reading. No problem there, all we had to do was click a few additional pictures of the car and share it with the customer. I think, this sharing of photos by addressing the specific customer query helps to close the deal better.

Soon we had a buyer whose expectations matched with ours. Thanks to Quikr Nxt, selling our car was so easier and hassle-free.

This post is written for Indiblogger and Quikr.com

The Little Things

Drabble

“Hey sonny boy! Let me tell you something big, today.

It’s the little things in life that matter most. You know, without the water drops, there can be no oceans; journey of a thousand miles starts begins with a step… without little things, there can be no big things.  The little things are important, even if they don’t seem like it at the time.

Now look at this… a seed like this has the power to grow into a big forest…”

“Aah! As usual you are not paying attention. What are you doing? Will you stop licking the dirty ground?”

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Linking this to Wordy Wednesday at Blog-A-Rhythm

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Book Blitz : Metro Diaries

Metro Diaries 

By 

 Namrata

Touching, amusing and deeply moving, Metro Diaries – Love Classics are tales that will hold you from start till end.

Blurb 

Love is one of the most amazing feelings on this earth, one that makes you the most powerful person or the most helpless person in a split second. These stories capture those feelings of despair, longing, love, lust, desire, want, dejection and admiration to create deja vu. Hold onto your hearts as you flip through these pages and take a walk down the memory lane as “Metro Diaries” will revive your innermost feelings and imbibe in you the magic of love. Touching, amusing and deeply moving, Metro Diaries – Love Classics are tales that will hold you from start till end.

Grab Your Copy

About Namrata

Namrata is a prolific blogger known by the name Privy Trifles in the blogosphere who romances life through her writings and aspires to make love the universal language. She dons various hats between that of a contributing author to 6 anthologies a reviewer for leading publishing houses an editor to various books and a columnist. Apart from that she is also the editor for an online magazine called Writer’s Ezine. Having mastered the nuances of finance till recently she also held the title of an investment banker closely to let it go to embrace her love for writing fully

Stalk her @ Website | Twitter | Facebook 

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Rapescars

Title: RapescarsRapescars
Author: Gaurav Sharma
Publisher: Petals Publishers
ISBN: 9788192982748
Number of Pages: 151
Price [INR] : 150
Genre: Fiction

Rapescars… They never heal 

A girl is raped! Her parents insist to report. Police tries to scuttle the case. Her fathers influence works! Doctor, the fourth man, sees her bare. The defence lawyer encounters with obnoxious questions.

As if, she had inveigled the innocent boys. As if, she’s the one accused and her violators are seeking justice against her. She feels & experiences being raped in public again. Her lawyer manages to seek conviction!

Akriti wins the case but refuses her culprit to have imprisonment.
Why does she do this?
What does she decide then?
Is this the decision of ‘her’ or ‘raped mind’?
Rapescars is the voice of a rape survivor who thrives to stand against the violation of her persona.

Rapescars is a chilling, haunting reminder of the heinous crime of rape that are inflicted on too many women in our society. It is a heart-breaking story of Akriti who has to deal with the physical, mental and emotional scars of rape. This book brings to the fore the long lasting effects on victims of assault, the struggles with shame, alienation, and the eventual fight for justice.

After the assault she has to deal with the trauma she has just endured again when she reports it to the police and later in the court of law and relives the whole attack all over again. This is of course tough not only for her but for family as well. It is a story of coping with one of the life’s worst nightmare, of survival, of courage and of moving ahead in life.

What I liked about Rapescars is that it is a bold attempt on a sensitive subject like rape. The research done by the author on the subject especially on the legal procedures/laws and medical aspects of rape is commendable. The retribution sought by Akriti is a bit unusual but not unheard of. Some of the dialogues in the book are profound and worth pondering.

What could have been better in Rapescars is certainly the editing, word-choices and sentence structuring. The climax seems to be a bit hurried.

Rapescars is about a burning issue that needs to be addressed by the law and by the society. It is a survivor’s story who had risen above the stigma, victim blaming and physical and emotional trauma to reclaim her life. A must read.

This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Blog Tours. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com

She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Title: She Loves Me, He Loves Me Notindirom covers III
Author: Zeenat Mahal
Publisher: Indireads Inc.
ASIN: B00S1HKGIK
Number of Pages: 260 (Estimated)
Price [INR] : 150
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Type : eBook

Zoella has been in love with Fardeen Malik, her best friend’s gorgeous older brother, since she was ten, but he’s always seen her as a ‘good girl’—not his type—and he can barely remember her name. Besides, he’s engaged to a gorgeous leggy socialite, someone from the same rarefied social strata as the imposing Malik family. In short, Zoella has no chance with him.

Until a brutal accident leaves Fardeen scarred and disfigured, that is. Suddenly bereft of a fiancée, Fardeen is bitterly caustic, a shell of the man he used to be, a beast that has broken out of the fairy tale world he once lived in. And a twist of fate lands him his very own beauty—Zoella.
This man, however, is a far cry from the Fardeen of her dreams. Stripped of her illusions, Zoella creates her own twist in the fairy tale, beating him at his own game.

Zeenat Mahal explores themes of love, longing and arranged marriages in this modern, unusual interpretation of the old-age fairy tale.

I really loved ‘Haveli’, which was Zeenat’s earlier novella.  When I got an opportunity to beta read the manuscript of She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, I was thrilled and keen to get my hands on it. And am I glad that I picked it up!

How would it be when you marry the man you have been pining for since you were ten? It would be a dream come true. Right?! But what if  the dream is a far cry from reality?

Zoella, has a crush on her best friend’s brother Fardeen ever since she was ten. While he has never given her more than a cursory glance, destiny binds them together as husband and wife. An accident leaves him scarred both physically and emotionally, making him all bitter and harsh and behaving like a jerk most of the time. Zoella’s Miss Sunshine and Mother Teresa avatar helps her sail through the trying times.

She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, is a contemporary beauty and the beast story set in Pakistan!

This book has everything a reader could ask for. Witty dialogues, clever humor, a handsome but imperfect hero, a strong heroine, a little turmoil and a heart-breaking love story, all of which make for a good recipe. You could not help but love the characters in She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. I wanted to shake Fardeen at times and hug Zoella and wanted to high five Salaar, Swaba and their parents. The interaction between the characters is engaging and entertaining.

The vulnerabilities of Fardeen and Zoella have been brought out well and that helps the reader to understand their point of views. But their insecurities went on for a bit longer than necessary which kind of makes you feel like pulling your hair out. It takes time for them to overcome their prejudices and realize their true feelings.

And how did it finally end? Aah! I love closing a book with a smile on my face.

She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not is Fardeen and Zoella’s journey toward each other… and love… with some drama along the way. A must read! And did I tell you that I’ll be picking it up for the third time very soon!

Rating : 4 Stars

Compassion in Everyday Life #1000Speak

Dalai Lama famously once said, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”Compassion

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Everyone around us is fighting some or the other battle. It doesn’t take much to reach out and lift people up. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

We all have witnessed this. Whenever someone offers his seat in a bus/train to somebody else, this small gesture positively affects not only the giver and the receiver but also the people who have witnessed this small and simple act. The giver feels generous, the receiver feels gratitude and the onlookers feel good on seeing a good deed of compassion and kindness. It is said, if you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Compassion is the chief law of human existence.― Fyodor Dostoyevsky


We all can make a difference in lives of people around us. We can intentionally be kind to others and make it a daily practice and a way of life. Here are some small compassionate acts that we can do and change the world around us :

  1. Eat lunch with somebody who is sitting alone in the office /college cafeteria.
  2. Encourage someone who needs it.
  3. Be generous with compliments.
  4. Write a note of appreciation for the employee who offered excellent service at the cafe or the hotel.whether-one-believes-in-religion-or-not
  5. Give someone recognition for something they have done with a pat on the back.
  6. Buy coffee or a snack for the security guard outside your apartment or a cab driver who is driving you around.
  7. Cook a meal for the sick neighbor.
  8. Let someone go in front of you in a queue, especially a parent with a cranky child.
  9. Help someone find a job.
  10. Help someone who is in a financial trouble.
  11. Acknowledge the people you meet in a store or fellow co-passengers with a smile.
  12. Speak kindly and listen attentively especially to those who are going through a tough time.
  13. Say something nice to someone.
  14. Be someone’s cheerleader.
  15. Surprise friends and family by sending them cards, flowers, or small gifts for no reason at all.
  16. Ask others what you can do to help.
  17. Donate blood, books, toys, clothes, your long hair, money for victims of disasters or charitable organizations.
  18. Help people who have dropped things, hold doors and elevators open for people and help elders/children cross the street.
  19. Say “thank you” to someone who made a difference.
  20. Spread the word for those who need referrals, like a wow photographer, a creative interior designer, a wonderful accountant, a new home baker…

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a list to focus our intentions on making it a kinder, loving and beautiful world for ourselves and others around us. I believe in karma – it comes after everyone eventually… what goes around comes around, truly.  Your everyday good deeds are never in vain for they shall return to you even when you’re not expecting it. So, keep your circle positive and practice small and random acts of kindness and compassion, everyday! Spread the cheer ♥

I am participating in the 1000speak movement by writing about Compassion. Do join us. Link your posts here. Stay updated by joining our Facebook group and our Google+ Community.

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The 1000 Voices For Compassion #1000Speak Campaign

1000Speak

Cover Reveal : Sangita’s Dilemma

 Cover Reveal

SANGITA’S DILEMMA

by 

Sundari Venkatraman

Sneak Peek

Sangita Sinclair is applauded at a special function where she receives an award for successfully heading an NGO called Penn Urimai. She’s married to Gautam and has three children. A reporter wants to interview Sangita about her passion for setting up an NGO for downtrodden women and making it a huge success. Her questions take Sangita down memory lane….

She had been a widow with a small son when she met Gautam Sinclair. Being from a conservative family, Sangita had had the devil’s own time recognising her love for Gautam for what it is. Only her troubles don’t end there….

About the Author

Sundari Venkatraman has four novels and a short story collection to her name. Sangita’s Dilemma is her sixth
book. Her books are self-published under the banner Flaming Sun and are often found on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers’ Contemporary Romances list.

A great fan of Mills & Boon romances over the past four decades, Sundari has always believed in ‘Happily Ever Afters’ and all her books promise joyous endings.

Sangita’s Dilemma tells the story of Sangita, a young widow from a conservative family in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Her parents wouldn’t hear of widow remarriage and all hell breaks loose when a half-American falls in love with her and proposes marriage. Sundari deals with different issues in society in her books without preaching anyone. The characters speak for themselves.

The author says, “I wrote this book with a lot of love and passion; I hope you enjoy reading it.”

Sundari Venkatraman would love to hear from you @

Bedtime Rituals

Sleep is very important to a child’s well being, that’s what my mom believed in. I remember, it was mandatory for us, as kids to sleep in the afternoons after coming back home from school and likewise we had a fixed time to sleep at night too. She believed that when we have had a good rest, we were more alert and in a better mood (read less cranky and irritable for her to handle the three of us) and of course it was good for our overall physical and mental development as well. She learnt from experience that a sleep deprived child cries at everything and nothing makes her happy. The child is not able to cope with life around her when she is tired and this in turn makes her and even those around her miserable.

So, a good bed routine is important and crucial because no child will ever come and say, “I am tired and I want to sleep!”

When Aaryan came in our lives, fortunately my mom was with me. Her experience of bringing up three kids coupled with my acquired knowledge from baby books and internet, we teamed together to bring up the apple of our eyes!

When Aaryan was as young as 6 weeks old, we started with our bedtime rituals for him. By that time, I had some experience as a young mom and knew how to handle my child too.

Swaddling and Aaryan

Swaddled Aaryan with his Dad

When he was a toddler, a massage followed by a nice warm bath and feed would put him to sleep for long hours during the day. And in the evenings, after freshening him up and taking care of his food needs, we’d again put him to sleep. Aaryan was born in Mumbai. His Maharashtrian massage maid after giving him his daily bath would tie him up in a cloth so that movement of his limbs were restricted. She said that this process, which internet told me is called Swaddling, settled and soothed the child and helped him to sleep longer with fewer awakenings. This was a boon for us. We practised this till Aaryan was old and strong enough to wriggle out of it on his own and/or would not let us swaddle him at all.

As he grew older, we changed the sleeping schedule but the naps in the afternoon and a fixed sleeping time at night were a constant.

After coming from play school/school, he’d have his lunch and sleep for an hour and a half. A quiet and a dark room helped him to sleep faster. When he was very tired, he’d sleep immediately, if not, indulging him in a chat about his day at school for a few minutes and/or sharing a story would put him to sleep soon.

The evening bedtime routines were a bit elaborate though. It started with a bath /wash after the evening outdoor play followed by dinner and then half an hour of Cartoon Network.

By 8 pm, he would be sent to brush his teeth and change into night wear. He would then pick up a book which he’d want me to read to him. I would then read him stories from a large collection of books that I was buying since he was a toddler. Usually, he’d sleep before one story got over but there were days, which were many actually, when he’d say, ‘one more story’ and that could go on up to 4-6 stories! Sometimes, he’d tell me his version of stories which were very imaginative. I remember once he asked me “Why don’t you sing me a lullaby. Hitesh’s mom sings him one every night”. I was taken aback. I didn’t knew a single lullaby. But then internet came to my rescue once again. I practiced one the whole day and sang one for him later in the evening. My then 4 year old son, sweetly stopped me and asked me to read out a story. That was the first and probably the last lullaby that I ever sang to my child!

I have realized that setting bedtime rituals for a child is very important. It adds to the consistency and predictability in a child’s life which is so very crucial. And also because a good night sleep,  in fact is as important as nutrition.  It helps him to grow well and boost his memory, cognitive skills along with creativity and energy level. Also a well rested child is always a happy child!!

So, what bedtime rituals do you follow with your children?

This post is written for Indiblogger and Pampers

1000th Blog Post Today…

This is my thousandth post! It is so hard to believe that I have written 1000 posts at this space since May 2009. The more I think about this number, the harder it is to believe.1000posts

Whether my foggy grey cells comprehend it or not (I am in Shimla which has an overcast of clouds leading to a terribly cold day, hence the fog might have settled on my grey cells too!), but the fact is that the numbers do not lie.

So, here I am with 1000 posts live on my blog. If I look back on my blogging journey, I realize that when I first started writing at this space, it was all personal. I shared my daily happenings or interests and life in general around me. And then like unexpected things that happen in our life, the unexpected and never explored before, happened on my blog too. Yes, I expanded my horizon to writing 55 Fiction, Drabbles, book reviews, photo challenges, social causes, lists, Ten on Tuesdays etc. I am glad that I forayed into diverse topics as doing the same thing again and again often leads to boredom and fatigue. I am glad that I changed the tone of my blog over a period of time and evolved its voice. Of course, all this was shaped by the readers and commenters as much as it was by me. I’d like to believe that all this change worked for me. What do you think about it?

These past few days, I was reading my old posts. While some brought smiles and some revived old memories, some made me go wow! Yes, I loved what I had written! And some were totally cringe worthy too. I was like, “Gosh! Did I write this?” And such posts were not one or two but so many of them.  This made me realize that on your blog you not only get a second chance, or a third… or a fourth…  in fact a lot of chances to make errors, learn and grow. How wonderful is that!

I’d like to take this as an opportunity to sincerely thank you, the fellow bloggers, commenters, regular /occasional readers for being with me at different points of my 1,000 posts journey. I can’t write without a reader. It’s precisely like a kiss—you can’t do it alone! Thank You for all your support and encouragement! It means a lot!

I don’t know what lies ahead in between now and the next 1,000 posts. Yes, I am being too ambitious and optimistic. I have an idea of some things that will happen but then that’s the fun part – taking it as it comes.

Thank you all for the first 1,000 memories – here’s to continued reading, writing, learning and growing ahead.

Enjoy the Spotlight!

I met a friend after a long time and excitedly told her, “Hey! You have lost weight. You are looking great!”

She said, “Oh, that’s not true!”

I felt very awkward. Here, I was giving a genuine and sincere compliment to this lady and she didn’t accept it.

While I was mulling over her reaction, another incident flashed in front of me. I had congratulated a colleague for giving a fabulous presentation. And he had said, “Oh, it was nothing. Anybody could have done it!”

Both these incidents took me a few years down the memory lane. We were sitting in the office cafeteria and a senior colleague said something good about me in front of the whole team. I mumbled something under my breath and had a feeling that what I just heard was something outrageous and the earth should simply swallow me in. As I was recovering from the sudden rush of emotions, a friend whispered, “Learn to enjoy the spotlight!”

Fumbling, mumbling, feeling embarrassed or uneasy on hearing something good about us? Do they sound familiar? Well, all these episodes clearly show our inability to accept compliments!

Why do we feel uncomfortable on receiving some genuine praise or admiration? Why do we reject the positive vibes to come our way? Why we do not allow this positive energy to warm us up from inside?

While it is ok to be modest about our accomplishments, it is important to acknowledge the compliments we receive.

Not accepting a compliment graciously reflects bad not only on the receiver but also on the giver. As a receiver it signifies that we don’t value or recognise our talents or achievements and/or are suffering from low self esteem or are self-conscious. When we deny or reject the compliment, for the giver, it implies that his/her opinion was incorrect or that we don’t value his/her remark or we are doubting his/her sincerity.

All it takes is a simple ‘Thank you’ or a nice smile to accept a compliment graciously! Of course, one can explain more and add something positive to it.

Everybody likes a compliment. But generally, we underestimate the power of an honest compliment. A genuine compliment has the power to add smiles, give the motivation when we need the most and yes, it has the power to turn a life around. Why, Mark Twain even said, I can live for two months on a good compliment!!

So, go on give compliments and spread some cheer and smiles around and also accept that compliment graciously. Enjoy the spotlight!

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How do you accept compliments?

Breach

Title: Breach Breach
Author: Amrita Chowdhury
Publisher: Hachette India
ISBN: 978-93-5009-855-4
Number of Pages: 337
Price [INR]: 350
Genre: Fiction

How secure are your secrets in  the virtual world?

Weeks before pharma-giant Acel is ready to file a global patent application for cancer wonder-drug Colare, its offshore data center in Mumbai is hacked. The charismatic young leader of its Indian business, Dr Udai Vir Dhingra, finds himself blamed for negligence and the breach of security.

Battling market pressures, media scrutiny, livid American bosses and crumbling relationships, Vir must find the perpetrators or see his career – and his life- spiral downwards. But the deeper he gets dragged into the shadowy world of masked online identities and muddied digital footprints, the more Vir discovers that nothing is easy or obvious, and everything has a price.

Set across Mumbai, Washington DC and Guangzhou, Breach is a compelling and edgy thriller that explores the dark and dangerous underbelly of our increasingly virtual existence.

I had read some good reviews about this book and after having read it, I must say that it truly deserves it. Breach is a well researched, page turning, slick cyber thriller that keeps you glued till the very end.

Short chapters, each running into not more than two to three pages spread across various locations bring in multiple characters and take the story ahead at a fast pace. I have seen this style of writing in Ravi Subramanian’s books. It took me a few chapters to grasp what was happening, but soon it was easier to get into the flow of the story.

The information on hacking into a safe server, counter surveillance, crisis management and incident reconstruction to uncover the modus operandi and business motives of the cyber-criminals and shady activities done esoterically and covertly in the pharma industry, cancer research, global corporate affairs, patent laws, is pretty interesting and informative. All this tech knowledge is shared in a language that a layman can understand is a plus in Breach. Also these tech details are woven in the plot in such a way that they don’t overshadow the story.

Breach is an intelligent and flawlessly executed crime thriller which excites and agitates till the last page. A must read.

Rating : 4 Stars

Matches Made in Heaven

Title: Matches Made in HeavenMMIH
Author: Sundari Venkatraman
Publisher : Flaming Sun
ASIN: B00R7HDVIW
Number of Pages: 148 (Estimated)
Price [INR]: 61
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Type: ebook

A collection of 13 romantic short stories based in India; a culture rich country steeped in tradition. Inspiration struck me from newspaper articles, TV shows and hearing people talk. The short stories are based on that fact that arranged marriages thrive right alongside love matches in India.

  1. Groomnapped is Ameya-Surekha’s story as a light romantic take on the serious issue of groom kidnappings.
  2. Dark skin on a woman puts off men in general or so says the society. Beauty Is But Skin Deep is Nitin-Simran’s story that proves it wrong!
  3. Ritu is twenty-five and wants to wait for her Prince Charming but her parents are desperate to arrange her wedding. Does she find her prince in An Arranged Match?
  4. Dating Agencies are doing their best to get young people together to tie the knot. My friend Diti runs an informal one; inspiring the Red Rose Dating Agency.
  5. A guy’s complaint about his fiancée of a few years dumping him after becoming successful in her film career felt like a rant to me. Chahti Hoon Tumhe is an ode to the successful actress.
  6. Soumya actually lives life like Soul Mates but how many have the guts to? This, incidentally, is the first short story that I ever wrote.
  7. Does Madeinheaven.com help bring Menka & Jeetu together with technology driven Matchmaking website?
  8. I originally wrote Rahat Mili for an anthology; Rahat means ‘relief’ and is a name too. Read the story with the word in mind and it will fall in place.
  9. Reema’s Matchmakers brings Arjun and Prisha together at a get-together through a matchmaking network. But will they get married?
  10. Nikita wants Krish for a friend and not her husband. As The Reluctant Bride she manages to have her cake and eat it too.
  11. Shweta Ka Swayamvar is inspired by the practice of Swayamwar in ancient India of choosing a husband, from among a list of suitors, by a girl of marriageable age.
  12. Pappa’s Girl is about daughters of Industrialists taking over fathers’ businesses.
  13. Mythology romances intrigue me; Love Match For Velan is my take on Lord Murugan falling in love with his consort Valli.

I like reading anthologies as they don’t take much time and even if I pick the book after an interval of time, I don’t have to re-read a few pages and the plot is never missed. Sundari’s latest book, Matches Made in Heaven is a collection of short romantic stories.

This anthology has 13 stories, each running into a few pages. Each story is woven around that  blissful and warm feeling called love. The entire collection of stories in Matches Made in Heaven is entertaining and is lent extra freshness by the diversity of the characters, their situations, and the varied definitions of love. And in each of these short stories, the author made the characters come alive in such a small writing space, which is simply commendable. For some stories, though, I wished they had a bit more depth or were long enough.

I liked The Reluctant Bride the most. This story stood out to me as one of the more memorable tales. Groomnapped,  and Rahat Mili are other two stories that touched me.

Matches Made in Heaven strings together sweet tales of love, passion and desire that endures time. A perfect read for a lazy afternoon or just before going to bed. Go for it now, after all it’s the season of love! ♥

Rating : 3.5 Stars

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Wrong, For The Right Reasons

Title: Wrong, For the Right ReasonsWrong. For The Right Reasons
Author: Ritu Lalit
ASIN: B00NQC8THK
Number of Pages: 236 (Estimated)
Price [INR]: 186
Genre: Fiction
Type: ebook

Shyamoli Verma’s timing is wrong. In her late twenties, she finds that her marriage is irrevocably broken. She comes back to her parents with her pre-teen son and an infant daughter, only to find that she is unwelcome.
Independent and brash, she decides to bring up her children and also get a divorce without any support from friends and family.

Written with wry self deprecating humour, this is the story of a divorced woman’s quest for love and security.

I have been reading Ritu for a long time now. I enjoy reading her blog and liked her first book too. When I got an opportunity to read her latest book, which is getting rave reviews, I HAD to read it. And the story grabbed my attention from the word go!

Wrong, For the Right Reasons is a story about a woman’s struggle to survive with her two children after walking out on her cheating husband. When Shyamoli along with her children Samar and Ketaki leaves her husband’s home, she leaves a lot of things behind… a steady income, stability and sheltered life, friends and even family. Her own parents especially her mother is not at all supportive of her decision. According to her, Shyamoli should go back and apologize to her husband, as a divorcee has no respect and social status in the society. A chance meeting with an old childhood friend, Uma changes the path of her life. Uma helps Shyamoli to realize her true calling in life. Shyamoli resourcefully navigates a surprising avenue for making some money by baking cakes/breads and making oils/lotions at home. And that brings about some stability in life and pays the bills too. Life smiles once again on the small family but misfortunes find their way again in their life. The maternal fortitude displayed by Shyamoli helps the family grow strong through their life’s battles.

Wrong, For the Right Reasons is a powerful story of a woman who defies all odds and realizes her true identity and succeeds. It sheds light on her pursuit to recover from life’s trials and tribulations, to grow and to keep loving when an avalanche of hatred and betrayals threaten her sanity. It is story where she rights her own situation without a knight in shining armour coming to her rescue.

What I liked about this book are a lot of things, actually. I liked the characters that are realistic, the story that is moving and inspirational and the writing style that is engaging and fluid. There are a few editing typos in the ebook version, but since the story was good so I skimmed past them.

Wrong, For the Right Reasons is a story that is not fiction. It is a story of real people with real horrors of life. It is a story of hardship, and endurance that inspires you to persist. It is a story that will stay with me for a long time! A must read!

Rating : 4 Stars

Buy Wrong, For the Right Reasons @ Amazon.in

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My Experiments with Baking – 2

Have you read My Experiments with Baking – 1?

If I had failed in my very first baking attempt and then subsequently too, I would have shunned the thought of baking, long ago. But since I had met with success in my first attempt and failed repeatedly after that, I was determined to recreate the magic of my first baked cupcakes.

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Our Cookery Books

KG and I, are pro in cooking from cookbooks. I mean, we try brand new recipes from cookery books even on a very important get together and they turn out great, always. Following recipes from Nigella or Jamie or Tarla Dalal or Chefs from Star Hotels is the order of the day in our kitchen. So, following cake recipes should be just the same. But it was not happening that way! Then I also read that baking is a science. Now, I was a distinction holder science student, I was good at lab work, so why was I failing in this science project called baking a perfect cupcake?

Internet was my guide and counsellor. Step by step, I worked on the possible causes of my erupting-like-volcanoes-cupcakes. Despite my inner voice admonishing me for considering the oven as the culprit, I decided to challenge it. I asked my friend K to bake the same recipe of cupcakes in her oven. She didn’t have a muffin tray so she baked a cake instead. Like a stubborn child, I wanted only cupcakes. I was getting restless and was desperate to taste success.

Next day, I sifted and weighed all the ingredients, packed them in containers and finally in a bag along with the other baking paraphernalia and headed to my Mom’s home. She has a Convection Microwave while I have a Microwave with Grill which is not suitable for baking. I baked ‘my first successful attempt’ cupcake recipe. And….

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It is photographed poorly!

… it turned out just like the first time. My happiness knew no bounds. I returned back home and kissed my oven. Yes, kissed it for 2 reasons. a) Because of it, I experimented so much and learnt so much in the process and b) it was time to bid it farewell.

Seeing me talk so crazily passionately about cakes and cupcakes, the experiments and the learnings, all this while, KG knew what would be an ideal birthday gift for me. Of course, an oven.  I know ovens behave erratically sometimes and an oven thermometer usually helps, but who can resist a brand new oven and that too a big one!

We went to the store and looked at 32-40 litres ovens, but KG had bigger plans. He pushed me to go for the biggest available option, the Morphy Richards 60 litres OTG. Of course, he had something of his own on the agenda too. He wanted to use the big oven to grill and roast a whole chicken in the Rotisserie mode!

Since the new oven has entered our kitchen, sweet smell of baking cakes has been wafting in our home. I am trying newer recipes and thank fully they are turning out good.

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Sprouts for a Farmer Husband

These are chocolate cupcakes with fondant sprouts for the new age farmer, KG.  Thank you Uma for your recipe and also for all your tips and suggestions over phone and whatsapp messages. Appreciate it a lot! ♥ Thanks are also in order to the master baker Gauri and Ashwini. You girls rock!!

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I never knew that what would start as ticking something off from the bucket list would end up as a passion. I am forever looking at recipes, YouTube videos and reading all that I can about baking cakes, cupcakes and cookies. I am finding so much joy in baking. I am glad of the initial failures that I encountered in my baking journey. They gave me so many sleepless nights and of course a lot of lessons too. Failures are truly the stepping stones to success.

As I type this, Aaryan is flipping through a cake book and selecting what we should be baking later this afternoon.  And I am smiling with pride and happiness. He is home these days for his winter vacations and has been helping me in baking and demolishing the baked goodies too. What will I do when he leaves next week for his school! Probably bake a cake and eat it too! ;)

Next item to tick off from the bucket list is Food Photography.

Edited to Add : Our this afternoon’s experiment…

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Hooked, Lined & Single

Title: Hooked, Lined & SingleHooked Lined Single
Author: Rashmi Kumar
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
ISBN: 978-93-82665-29-8
Number of Pages: 200
Price [INR]: 150
Genre: Fiction

So you’re a woman, you’re 30-something and living in India? Now you might ask, what’s the big deal about it? And I would say there is. If you’re all of the above and still unmarried or married previously and you just don’t seem to find the “right” man, you suddenly acquire a tragically special status. And your status could be anywhere between being stereotyped and labelled as cynical, demanding, impractical and chronically single or ambitious.

In Hooked, Lined & Single, Alafia Singh meets a similar such fate on her journey to find a husband using somewhat more traditional methods.

Alafia Singh wants to get married… desperately. One may ask what’s so different about it, everybody wants to get married. But the thing is that Alafia is 31 and was divorced after a mini marriage at 22 which lasted 11 months and 10 days. The pressure is immense from the ‘deeply concerned relatives’ and acquaintances she meets at weddings and festivals.

She tries to find Mr. Right through matrimonial websites, newspaper ads and even tells random uncle or aunt to search for a match for her. Hooked, Lined & Single charts Alafia’s journey cum misadventures as she meets some prospective grooms.

I enjoyed reading this book! I read it in one sitting during a train journey, where my bouts of giggles and smiles attracted some amused and weird glances from my co-travelers. I liked Rashmi’s voice in this book which is engaging and is laced with humour. The characters are real people, with multiple dimensions and one can relate to all of them. At one point of time, I found myself rooting for Alafia and wished that everything turned out well for her. The book sparkles with an interesting and fun story line and just the right amount of introspection. Though somewhere around the middle, the story sounded a bit monotonous but soon the story line changed tracks and all was well once again. I liked the climax but wished it was amplified a bit more.

Hooked, Lined & Single is an engaging and entertaining read. And that it is free from editing errors, well, that’s a plus too. Go for it!

Rating : 3.75 Stars

Plan Your Travel Online To Save More

Online shopping has become more frequent these days due to many factors. Of them, more savings that you get doing online shopping is the main factor. Deals, offers and coupons that are available in online shopping by various stores help you get the best discounted price in anything that you buy.

You not only can get discounts in various products but also when you travel. Now, you must be wondering how this is possible. The fact is that you can save a lot of money when you travel if you do it via online. There are many sites that are available online that gives you plan tariff at the lowest rates possible. Check out these online sites that helps you save more while you travel.

Make My Trip

Make My Trip is the leading online travel company in India which caters to all the needs of a traveler. They claim of having the best deals, offers and savings package that are sure to attract any travel maniac.

make my trip

With Make My Trip, you can book your flight, bus or train tickets to any destination at cheap rates, and if there are any deals or coupons, redeem them to avail more discounts. You can even get rated hotels at affordable prices. They have provision for combo deals for two destinations which is applicable for their flight and accommodation package.

If you are planning to go out for a vacation this summer holidays do check out for exclusive holiday packages, offers, deals at Make My Trip for availing the best discounts on your travel. Also, check out for Make My Trip Coupons to get surprising discounts in your travel rates.

Goibibo

Goibibo is yet another online site that helps you to get best comfort and care in your travel, getting you best deals, offers and discounts. The main advantage of this travel site is that you get all your travel needs including tickets and accommodation under one roof. Be it a travel with your family or a business oriented journey; you can crack the best offer with Goibibo Coupons.

goibibo

Family packages, Honeymoon packages and Wildlife packages are some of the best deals that are offered by Goibibo for combo offers. Check out their website for more attractive and interesting combo offers for various other packages as well.

Also remember to use your credit/debit cards for payment while you travel as they offer cash back or points on your miles which you can redeem later.

Yatra

Yatra is one of the most leading travel brands that help anything and everything related to travelling. Be it the booking of your flight, bus or train tickets, accommodation in good and rated hotels, or a complete package including flight tickets and accommodation in hotels.

yatra

Yatra do offers good packages and discounts during seasons as well as during off-seasons thus helping you to have a reasonable travel which you won’t regret in future. Check out at Yatra Coupons, offers, deals for having a cheap and wonderful travel.

Yatra offer super saver packages, helps you recommending good and reasonable hotels, it helps you find the lowest fare for your destination, they have holiday package recommendations for you to pick the right choice within your budget, they have a list of special offers from various hotels so that you can stay which ever you prefer, they also have featured deals on their site that helps you choose tour destination if you are confused where to go for the vacation.

IIT Bombay : A Glimpse

Sometime ago, I had shared about a collegedunia.com, a search engine for the students, parents, and those in education industry, seeking information on higher education in India. In continuation to my earlier post, today I give a sneak peek about a premier institute of our country.

The IITs were built with a vision to provide technical personnel of international calibre, who would act as leaders in technology in independent India.

Established in 1958, the second of its kind, IIT Bombay is recognised worldwide as a leader in the field of engineering education and research. Reputed for the outstanding calibre of students graduating from its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, the institute attracts the best students from the country for its bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programmes in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Research and academic programmes at IIT Bombay are driven by an outstanding faculty, many of whom are reputed for their research contributions internationally.

Over the last five decades, more than 34,000 engineers and scientists have graduated from the institute. It is noted for its strong research groups in varied areas of science and technology that are making substantial contributions to national projects. Educational programmes here extend beyond the physical sciences and engineering into social sciences like English, Philosophy, Sociology, Economics and Psychology, including the recent School of Management

An island of dappled green, the campus at Powai is nestled amongst hills and flanked by the Powai and Vihar lakes. It is special both in terms of its physical beauty and location — a place where you could be away from the world, yet still be a part of it. Education and research are the twin pillars of this institute and the ambience is one in which new ideas and creativity can flourish.

IIT Bombay is academically organised into 14 Academic Departments, ten Centres, two Schools and three Interdisciplinary Programmes. On an average, it admits 650 candidates for the undergraduate programmes and 1,050 candidates for different Ph.D/Postgraduate programmes every year.

The institute provides the best, and it ensures that its students are also of exceptionally high quality. Admission to IIT Bombay is enabled through its various entrance examinations, like the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for the undergraduate programme, the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) for postgraduate programmes, the Common Entrance Examination for Design (CEED), MET for M.Phil, JMET for the Master of Management programme and JAM for M.Sc and M.Sc-Ph.D Dual Degree programmes.

One of the key goals of the institute is to provide an ambience in which higher studies and research thrives among the students and faculty. Along with fundamental research, many R&D projects offer opportunities to tackle ‘live’ problems. Its commitment to merge education with the creation of knowledge provides a fertile setting for productive research, which has led to a range of scientific and technological achievements.

To know more about IIT Bombay, check out the details at collegedunia.com.

Online Education Portal Raises Over $150K in Angel Funding

Delhi-based Collegedunia Web Pvt Ltd, which owns and operates the education portal CollegeduniaCollegedunia.com, has raised Rs 1 crore ($162,787) in angel funding from MIH-acquired automobile site Gaadi.com’s CEO Umang Kumar, along with a bunch of undisclosed investors.

The funds will be utilised in enhancing the technology, operations and for marketing.

Founded in May 2014, Collegedunia offers information about 700 colleges across the country. The information ranges from admission criteria and fee structure, faculty details to hostel fee. It is a comprehensive search engine for exams, colleges and courses.

The company is planning to add data on 7,000 to 8,000 colleges in six months. In the long run, the site will also look at listing coaching institutes, polytechnic institutes and entrance exams details. According to Sahil Chalana, founder, Collegedunia, it plans to become the Zomato of the education industry.

The start-up makes money from combination of listing and lead generation. Currently, it has 30 employees across technology, content, call centre and sales departments and plans to hire 40 more in six months. It claims to be attracting one lakh visitors per month and is hoping to increase this number to a million in six months.

This news article also appeared in the technology news from VCCircle and iamwire.

Angelic Beats

Title: Angelic BeatsAngelic Beats
Author: Sarita Singh
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing
ISBN: 978-93-84226-50-3
Number of Pages: 247
Price [INR]: 175
Genre: Fiction

Angelic Beats is the story of a boy in his late teens who falls in love with a married woman. Both defy their ages; the woman for her looks and innocence and the boy for his confidence and clarity in life along with integrity. The journey of the boy for his passion also becomes journey of love for both that finally takes them to more meaningful destinations. It unfolds the changing perspective of a young boy and a married woman in various situations of life treading the path of love and success together. How they carry on with love and friendship as a responsibility is quintessence to their journeys.

Love can make one completely blind or it can candle all the darkness in life.

Sometimes destiny becomes the greatest magician. It brings two opposite people, Sahil and Aakanksha, on one platform. Even their personal statuses do not match for one is married and the other single. One is confident about making choices in life, whereas the other is always scared of making a choice. One is always positive, and the other is negative in outlook.

Unlike mathematics, where “+” and “−” always make “−”, sometimes in real life, “+” and “−“ do make a “+” together.

On the road leading to his passion, he happened to meet the first love of his life too. Before going to the National Defence Academy for the journey to be a commissioned officer in Indian Air Force finally, he introduced “love” in her and his own life and pledged his heart to her. The arrows of cupid struck her also.

Do their final choices engulf all other relationships like a storm and rage and bleed their self-esteem? Or are they able to carry their choices gracefully through their quest for happiness?

When I read the blurb of Angelic Beats, I was immediately reminded of Second Thoughts by Shobha De. I had read this book some fifteen years ago. It’s a love story of Maya who struggles with her marriage. She meets and finds solace in Nikhil, her charming college-going neighbour. Soon the stage is set for an explosive tale of love and betrayal. I had found it be a good read then. With thoughts of Second Thoughts, I applied for review of Angelic Beats.

I had high some expectations from the Angelic Beats as the story line is pretty explosive and had the makings of an intense and interesting read.

Here’s what I liked about the book:

  • Insights of life at National Defence Academy. It was interesting to know the schedules, the tough training and life in general for the officers at the country’s most prestigious institute.
  • I liked the clarity of thought and confidence Sahil had in his abilities and vision for his life at such an young age.
  • Simple and lucid language is used in the book to share insights about human relations, love and life.

What I didn’t like about the book:

  • Editing. Less said, the better!
  • Angelic Beats is a dull story. Except for the newer activities and trainings at the Academy, the love story has hardly any twists and turns. The story lacks emotional depth too.
  • The blurb at the back of the book is too descriptive and then there’s even a summary of the story before the prologue. A summary in a business report or an essay is common, but in a fiction!? Why would one want to give away the essence of the story in the first few pages in a fiction?!

Angelic Beats had a promising story idea but somehow it missed somewhere and it didn’t work for me.

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The Great Indian Litterbug

Resume of The Great Indian Litterbug

Name : Great Indian Litterbug.  My friends call me, GIL! You can call me, Gily.

Address : I am omnipresent like God. But unlike Him, I am visible in every nook and corner of this country. You don’t have to pray hard to find me. All you have to do is just step out of your home and look around. Yes, just look around! And I will be there to greet you with a smile drenched in paan-red lips.

Skills and Strengths: Spitting around. Yes, I love doing that. I can do it anytime and anywhere… place, time, absolutely no bar. I can thrill you with a variety of sounds that accompanies my spitting. Of course, my personal favorite is ‘pichak’ and ‘peetch’ that is produced after having a mouthful of gutka, paan masala and/or paan.

The perennial cold that I suffer from makes me cough all day long! Aah! The unhygienic conditions we have in our country! The forceful expulsion of the phlegm with accompanying sounds is another skill set that I have. Doing aak-thoo especially from the bus or train window or when somebody stops me for asking directions or just about anytime is my passion. Since the phlegm is sticky, thick and viscous fluid, it can cause discomfort and congestion of your nasal passage and throat. Getting rid of it with distinct sounds is so gratifying. You have to take my word for it! Try it sometimes! Man, you will love it too.

Additional Experience : Pissing anywhere. Well, it is an age old practice. Relieving self out in the open without any fear or shame is kind of liberating. And also, when a man has to go, he has to go. Place and time cannot stop him doing what he got to do. I have had the pleasure of sharing many walls with even the rich getting out of those luxury SUVs and sedans. The passers-by pass our watering walls with covered noses as if they are inhaling some horrific smell. I wonder why they do that. The piss rolling off the wall and onto the pavement does not bother me at all. What bothers me though is placement of pictures of Gods of all religions on my favourite walls in the city.

Aim : My aim in life is to paint the town red… and yellow too. I am steadily and consistently inching towards my larger goal. Public spaces, buildings, walls, corners, pavements, bazaars, railway stations, bus stands, restaurants, hospitals… are witness of my scarlet and ochre works of art.

I look forward to meeting you for a personal interview and would love to share more of my achievements and accomplishments.

Aak Thoo. I mean Thank you!

This post is written for Indiblogger and http://greatindian.timesofindia.com/

Is Laundry Only a Woman’s Job

laundry

I believe, this quote was written for our family!

Laundry is considered probably the most boring chore but not at our home. With three small kids, my mom had her hands full and laundry baskets fuller. Of course, her passion for cleanliness /hygiene, pushed some additional clothes in the laundry basket. In those days, washing machines at home were unheard of. The clothes were washed by hands then. Though I don’t remember seeing my dad washing clothes but he helped in making soap at home. blog photos 053 Yes, those days, making laundry soap at home was a fad. The soap was made and then solidified and stored in big tubs. Dad helped in carrying the buckets of washed clothes from second floor to the terrace and helped in tightening of the clothesline.

And once the clothes were dry, mom would fold the laundry and arrange them in cupboards while Dad ironed clothes. As we grew older, we started helping both of them in folding and ironing. I remember, pestering Dad to let me iron the handkerchief in the end. Laundry was a family affair at our home.

When KG and I set up or our home after marriage, with both of us working long hours,  household chores were a joint responsibility. Till date, we have never classified the various chores as ‘His and Hers’. So, right from cooking, washing dishes, dusting to doing laundry, we do it without labelling it as one person’s domain chore. Of course, I have the upper hand in finding faults in his laundry and it is his prerogative to pick on the food that I cook.

When, I saw these statistics from Ariel, I was surprised. I pondered over it for a few minutes and realized that while Dad helped in a lot of chores at home, he never really washed clothes and most of our male friends don’t do laundry either.

statsariel

Washing laundry in a washing machine has become the go-to method for everybody now-a-days.  And we have strong soaps and detergents which give clean and effective cleaning in minutes. It is no longer the tedious process of washing with hands and with soap bars that would lather with difficulty. So, I am amazed that despite the advancements in every sphere,  laundry is still considered a woman’s job. And that inequality is still prevalent in  our homes.

I think the men who were a part of this survey were either from my Dad’s generation or have a story which reads like this..

“I’m never letting you do my laundry. Again.”
“I didn’t know the red towel was in there,” Prophet protested.
“You did it on purpose to get out of doing laundry.”
“Maybe. But it worked.” – S.E. Jakes

Jokes apart, just as so many men are entering kitchens and dominate them too, it’s time, they enter the laundry room and …

Laundry 2

What’s the laundry story at your home?

“I am writing for #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob activity at BlogAdda.com in association with Ariel.”

Never-Ending Winter

Drabble

“It is for the best”, he said and looked at her one last time before leaving the room slowly.

She heard the words but they didn’t register. Her mind was racing in different directions while her eyes scanned the pictures of her new pret line.

She knew he wasn’t being himself lately but he will have to wait.

Moments later, she heard a gunshot.

Shocked realization dawned on her like a million bricks falling on her soul.

The sight before her turned her heart cold. And it would stay that way… like the never-ending winter, for a long long time.

Never-ending winter

Linking this to Wordy Wednesday at Blog-A-Rhythm (Never ending winter) Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge

My Experiments with Baking – 1

Baking cakes and muffins has been on my bucket list for a while now. I had baked a few cakes earlier, but most  of them were made from ready-made cake mixes. And we all know that baking a ready cake mix is no baking at all. So, nearly three months ago, I had this urge to bake. I scanned the web and found a very simple and easy recipe for cupcakes, here. I gathered all the ingredients, followed the recipe and voila! my first cupcakes were out of the oven. And…. they turned out real good! Friends and family appreciated the taste and flavour, the texture, moistness and the softness of these lil cupcakes. I was ecstatic so much so that I admonished myself for having not tried my hands at baking much earlier!

Inspired by the initial success, next, I baked Red Velvet Cupcakes. They looked good from far and were dry and a bit hard! Also, they were far from velvety!2014-10-04 17.09.05

I was not at all deterred by this setback, and I thought of repeating my first success story. My father’s birthday was around the corner so I planned to bake cupcakes for the special day. Once again, I followed Annabel’s basic cupcake recipe. This time, the cupcakes did not rise (to the occasion) and turned out all flat and wrinkly as I looked at them with disbelief. The saving grace was that they tasted all right!

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Intrigued but not discouraged by these failures, I read up all the reasons for the fall of my cupcakes and even chatted on Whatsapp and Facebook with some baker bloggers.

Some said baking powder could be the culprit, so I tested the baking powder for its efficiency and despite the poor powder passing the test, I banished it from my kitchen and in fact changed my baking powder thrice in 2 months!

The experts say that exact measurements are crucial for baking a perfect cake. Though I have measuring cups and spoons, I bought a kitchen weighing scale to get the measurement EXACTLY right… to the last gram!

A friend believes that an electric hand whisk is an essential piece of kit when making cakes. I thought I was beating the living daylights out of the batter and overbeating is also one of the common reasons why cakes sink. So, I invested in a new electric hand whisk too and learnt the technique of folding the batter from YouTube videos.

Over the next few weeks, with new gadgets, new techniques, lots of reading up on the internet and watching innumerable YouTube videos, I tried some more cupcake recipes and baked ‘my first (and the last?!) successful attempt recipe’ a couple of times and the results were the same…  flat, deflated cupcakes!

Oven temperature could easily make for a falling cake, some websites said. I looked at my rarely-used-till-a-few-months-ago oven and it stared back at me accusingly and seemed to say, ‘Don’t accuse me if your cupcakes look like erupted volcanoes. It is truly a case of pot calling the kettle black!’

I believed what my lil oven said and immersed myself in self-depreciating thoughts!

Till…

…To be continued!

Linking this to Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge

Why I Read

Books are a uniquely portable magic. ― Stephen King

I am sure there isn’t anyone who can refute King’s thought. Reading a book is  truly a magical experience. The books have the amazing ability to transport us in a different land, time, culture, evoking different feelings of sadness, joy, anger, anticipation – it just all depends on what we are reading.

To me, reading books is truly a rewarding and a unique experience. Here are some of the reasons as to why I read…

  • I like the entertainment value a book provides. Simply love the suspense of watching a good plot unfold. The adventure trips to places I may never get to go, the pleasure of meeting so many characters- good as well as bad and the many lives I get to live when reading, is simply amazing.
  • It helps to forget the troubles of the day. Like last night, I was stressed about something. It was not in my control and couldn’t do anything about it, other than worrying that is. I decided to pick up a book. I started reading it and within minutes, I was smiling as I turned pages one after the other. In fact, this morning, the first thought I had was, will Alafia get a man of her dreams!
  • Books are the goldmines to discover information. How else would I have known about trials and tribulations of a person with person with deteriorating kidney function or how the frauds are committed in the financial world, or the life of an army wife, or legal jargon or mythology or life in Afghanistan… Books are a fab way to benefit from the author’s research.
  • Books have helped me to learn and grow as a person. There are so many books that have inspired and encouraged me, shared a new perspective, helped to understand people and problems better.

I had aimed to read 50 books last year and ended up reading 71 books. This year, I plan to read 100 books. And I am planning to read diverse genres, old and new, classics and the ones spanning eras. I am aiming to re-read the books which I have read when I was in school and college. Books by Enid Blyton, Jane Austen, Emile Bronte, Charles Dickens, Harry Potter series,  are ranking high on my list. I am also keen to read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid which is a hit with kids now-a-days.

There are a lot of 2015 Reading Challenges doing the rounds on the internet. These 2 caught my interest.

2015 reading challenge

2015-reading-challenge 1

I am sure that I will be able to tick off most of the book types from these two lists easily, but some would be challenging. For instance, finding a book written by an author with your same initials, or reading a translated novel or a book your mom loves (My mom reads newspapers and magazines and solves Sudoku puzzles). But what’s life without challenges!

What are your reasons for reading and what are you reading currently?

Linking this to Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge

Get. Set. Bolt

This weekend, we were at the World Trade Park, doing what we love the most in a mall! Yes, shopping. On the ground floor of this world class business and entertainment centre we saw the display of a new car from Tata Motors.

About six months ago, I was a part of the launch event of another new car from Tata Motors. That was Tata Zest. During that launch event at Goa, the product specialists from Tata Motors had taken us through the technological aspects of Zest in a Master Class. So, I was keen to know about this yet another new car from the Tata Motors’ stable.

I immediately rushed to the display area and had a chat with the sales guy. This is what he shared with me…20150103_132455

Tata Bolt is the new hatchback in the Indian market.

Bolt means speed and  it is truly represents that as it is powered by a powerful Revotron 1.2 turbocharged MPFi petrol engine, 5-speed manual Transmission, a Power  of 88.8bhp @ 5000rpm and Torque of 140Nm @ 1750-3500 rpm.

For the first time ever in this segment, Bolt comes with a Multi-Drive in three modes ie SPORT, ECO and CITY.  These three modes allows the driver to set the engine action depending on driving needs. Sport mode is one when need a burst of power, Eco mode is when needs excellent fuel efficiency and City mode is for a perfect balance between the two.

Tata Bolt comes with generation next safety with 9th generation Anti-lock Braking System by BOSCH, corner stability control and standard dual-airbags.

Bolt has many features, superior space and comfort which are usually seen in luxury cars. Cabin space is pretty good and there is enough space for three adults at the back. With Bolt, Tata Motors are making the luxury features affordable and available to customers in the hatchback segment.

Tata Bolt comes with a Harman infotainment system which has a 5-inch touchscreen display. The music system supports AUX-in, Bluetooth, USB, SD card, iPod and FM/AM connectivity. So, howsoever you listen to your music outside the car, you can listen to it in the same way inside the Bolt too. Bolt has blue tooth connectivity with voice integration, SMS read-outs, touch operated AC controls. These features are in Tata Zest too. But Bolt has two additional features of video playback and navigation. Video files stored on any device can be played and navigation function is based on Android’s phone’s built in GPS and MapMyIndia app.

Bolt is an impressive car from Tata Motors which is  a class apart with innovative features, modern engine, connectivity and comfort. So, Get. Set. Bolt…

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Along with me are Aaryan and his friend Vedant. Yes, we love getting clicked too!

 This post is a part of the Get. Set. Bolt. activity at BlogAdda.

Linking this to Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge

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