Your Tarot Predictions for 2015

Title: Your Tarot Predictions for 2015 Your Tarot Predictions for 2015
Author: Karmel Nair
Publisher: Harlequin India
ISBN: 978-93-5106-665-1
Number of Pages: 375
Price [INR]: 295
Genre: Non Fiction/Predictions/Horoscope

I have never been to an official Tarot reader. A friend dabbles into Tarot reading and after meeting her once, I remember clicking on some websites for free Tarot readings online, some time back. Through her, I came to know a bit about the mystical and magical world of Tarot.

When I got an opportunity to read and review Your Tarot Predictions for 2015 by Karmel Nair, I was thrilled. It was like, killing two birds with one stone. I was not only getting to know what future had in store for me in 2015 but also gain some insights about Tarot reading. By the way, this is the first ever book of predictions using Tarot!

When, I started reading this book, I learnt that Tarot is not just a medium to predict the future. Besides readings, Tarot gives a new way to handle life by guiding not only through predictions for the future but also by equipping you with the means to address this future. The Tarot way encourages and enables a deep understanding of self and once you know your inner spirit, there is nothing that can stop from creating your destiny. So, in a way, Tarot leads you to your spiritual being and helps you to unlock your latent powers.

This book comprehensively shatters the myths about Tarot (that it is done only/mostly by gypsies, is witchcraft or magic, or that connects you with your spirits, the supernatural). Then it gives the history of Tarot, what is a Tarot deck, how a Tarot reading is done, what kind of questions does Tarot answer, how can one benefit from it, how it is different from Numerology and Astrology.

The book which is your access to the future, describes the cards associated with each Zodiac sign, along with monthly predictions, also there are quarterly predictions specifically on your love, health, wealth, career and the spiritual you in 2015. At the end of each Zodiac’s reading, which runs into a lot of pages, there’s a summary of the predictions too. There are some interesting insights into each Zodiac sign as well as your future interpreted through Tarot Spreads. Each Zodiac ends with the author’s note specifically for that Zodiac along with examples of contemporary icons from that Zodiac, for example, the icons who are Sagittarius are Rajnikanth and Brad Pitt.

So from these detailed readings on various aspects of our life, one has the power to change the predictions and the future by acting now and doing what is most needed and what is right. It may help to strengthen the inner voice and carve a destiny that one desires.

Tarot Predictions for 2015 is your complete trilogy- the Future, the power of Change and the way to Spirituality. Go on and read it to know and change your destiny.

Catching the Departed

Title: Catching the DepartedCatching the Departed
Author: Kulpreet Yadav
Publisher: Tara
ISBN: 978-81-8386-066-6
Number of Pages: 255
Price [INR]: 299
Genre: Fiction

The dead don’t speak. But sometimes they leave a trail. Andy Karan, an investigative journalist, is tasked to probe one such – the death of a local lawyer.

He ends up grievously wounded. His new found love Monica’s life is in danger too.

It’s not that Andy wants to live for ever. But to die at the hands of enemies of the nation will be a shame that will transcend even death.

When you read great reviews of the book all across the web and when the cover of the book says, “Shortlisted for Hachette-DNA – Hunt for the Next Bestseller”,  the expectations are bound to be high. So, with high expectations, I started reading Catching the Departed.

Andy Karan aka Anil Karan Singh left army after 5 years to be an investigative journalist with a magazine. He is sent to a village located on the outskirts of Delhi to investigate the death of a local lawyer and unearth a terror plot. Soon enough he is attacked and had to be hospitalized. With a spate of murders around him, and threat to his life, Andy is determined to get to the root of it, despite dissuasion from his lady boss, Monica. Incidentally, Andy is a part of Army Intelligence and he is caught once again in the whirlwind of chases and murders across Delhi, Mumbai and Murud Janjira. He comes to know of a dangerous mission involving a nuclear bomb. What all will be lost on this ‘unstoppable’ path of destruction? Will Andy put a premature end to the somebody’s evil ambitions? Well, you need to read the book to know that!

The first half of the book has some twists and turns that thrills the reader in you and compel you to keep turning the pages. The book lost its steam by the second half, and somehow it sounded too clichéd and too predictable. I liked the eye for detail in the various scenes and the descriptive style of writing made it very vivid for the reader.

While full justice has been done in carving and shaping Andy’s characters, the other characters lacked depth, personality or individuality. For a character to mastermind terror attacks in the country, I think, KB should have been more wise and shrewd. His plans were not solid enough and his actions were slightly bizarre, especially sleeping with the bomb part! The role of the police seems to be a bit disappointing. Their intelligence network and their action in Murud Janjira was not convincing enough. And Monica’s character could have been a promising one, but she was totally wasted in the story!

Catching the Departed, has all the ingredients of action, drama, love, murders, suspense, but still something is missing in it. I mean, I didn’t get that WOW! feeling during and after having read the book, the feeling that you get after reading a good thriller and that too a book which is touted as the bestseller! A case of high expectations?

Rating : 3 Stars

Eliminate Classroom Hunger

Millions of children across the length and breadth of our country do not have the opportunity to go to school and get an education because they are forced to earn their daily meal.  We all know that a hungry belly has no ears. Nothing will interest a hungry child other than food. And going to school for acquiring education and learning would be the last thing that would cross their mind.

Even if they do go to school, hungry kids can’t learn. Hunger impacts their ability to concentrate resulting in headaches and stomach aches and  poor academic performance.

Akshaya Patra is a non-profit organisation is the implementing partner of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in schools and works on a vision goal that “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.”

Through the mid-day meal programme, Akshaya Patra  Foundation attempts to feed millions of children in India who have the zeal to learn and achieve, but not the means. By feeding them that one wholesome meal a day, they are giving them the motivation and nourishment they need to pursue an education and a better future. This philanthropic initiative is helping in addressing many of the crucial factors contributing to poverty and child labour in India, while working to spark a movement that will eradicate this social evil from Indian society.

We all can do our bit and join hands with Akshay Patra Foundation and reach out to help eliminate classroom hunger.

A donation of just Rs 750 will feed a child for an entire year! Corporate companies can ask their employees to donate Rs 750 per month as part of corporate social responsibility. This way each employee can help feed 12 children for an entire year! Giving for a noble cause, as part of company initiative would instil a great sense of common purpose and pride amongst the employees.cost-per-meal-calculation-akshaya-patra

Similarly, children in city schools can be a part of this initiative by contributing Rs 100 every month. This small individual amount can make a big difference in the lives of many children who have a hard road for a plate of food.

I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.

Kudos to BlogAdda for joining hands with Akshaya Patra to end classroom hunger. For every blog post we write, BlogAdda will sponsor meals for an Akshaya Patra beneficiary for an entire year, as a part of their Bloggers Social Responsibility.

BlogaddaAkshaya Patra

Akshaya Patra

Toilet for Babli

Imagine this. Women and young girls, waking up before dawn, every day, leaving their homes while it is still dark and walking for a mile or so to find a remote or a secluded place. And all the while, hoping to stay away from any prying eyes as they finish their daily ablutions in the open.

With this act, they are not only adding to the estimated 100,000 tons of human excrement that Indians leave each day in farming fields, on river banks that are used for drinking and bathing and along roads jammed with scooters, trucks and pedestrians but also experience shame and embarrassment along with exposing themselves to a lot of diseases.

More than 200 million tons of human sewage goes uncollected and untreated, fouling the environment. Each gram of feces can contain 10 million virus particles, 1 million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts and 100 parasite eggs. The germs in the excreta contaminates the drinking water, food and soil and increases the number of flies and insects carrying excreta and spreading disease.

Open defecation and lack of sanitation are the leading causes for water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, intestinal worms, trachoma, hepatitis A and typhoid and stunted growth in children. While over 300,000 children aged below five years in India die each year due to diarrhoeal diseases, 44% of children younger than 5 are underweight! Malnourished children have poor immunity and are more susceptible to diarrheal disease, and with more diarrheal disease they become more malnourished!

20% of deaths among children under-14 are due to diseases caused by poor sanitation and hygiene. In young girls, open defecation during menstruation causes a lot of health and hygiene issues viz reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted infections. Almost 28 million school children across India do not have access to school toilet facilities. And this results in dropping out from schools by girls on reaching puberty, depriving them of opportunity to learn and grow in life and a hope for a bright future.

By stopping open defecation and improving sanitation, there will be lower mortality among children, better nutrition, reduced stunting and increased height among children, due to the reduction in diarrhoea and other life-threatening diseases. There will also be better learning and retention among school children due to reduction in worms and other sanitation related diseases.

By building toilets and ending open defecation, it can have a  BIG effect on the health, safety, education, prosperity and dignity of a lot of children and women in India.

Domex has taken an initiative, which is called #ToiletForBabli to make villages in Maharashtra and Orissa open defecation free zones.

You can be a part of this noble initiative too!

Just visit http://www.domex.in/ and click on Contribute Now. For every Click- contribution received on this website, Domex will contribute Rs.5 for making villages open defecation free.

Domex cover

This post is written for Indiblogger.in and Domex #ToiletForBabli Initiative

My Dream Home

Home is not where you have to go but where you want to go; nor is it a place where you are sullenly admitted, but rather where you are welcomed – by the people, the walls, the tiles on the floor, the followers beside the door, the play of life, the very grass.”Scott Russell Sanders

Few things in life are as challenging as designing and decorating your home. I remember the time we bought our first flat some 14 years ago and the myriad emotions that we experienced in those few months. The tiles for the kitchen seemed perfect for us in the design magazine but it was nowhere to be seen in the shops near our home. Websites of design companies and online shopping had still not entered our lives then!

The amount of time we spent in scouting the lanes and by-lanes of Mumbai to “shop around” as we wanted to keep options open before making decisions, was bordering on obsessive. We spent hours and days, searching and comparing, until we were exhausted. We, the husband and I, truly wore ourselves out. Oh, it was an overwhelming experience and we truly suffered from decision fatigue!

But today, all that you need to create your perfect dream home is available at one place. Designing and decorating ideas are available at a click of a mouse. And I came across, one such one stop shop solution, some time ago, PORCELANOSA!  PORCELANOS offers a wide product range that includes kitchen and bathroom equipment as well as state-of-the-art building solutions for making contemporary homes.

Today, if I were to make my dream home, PORCELANOSA would be my destination. Their comprehensive catalogue helped me to decide the look I’d like to give to my dream home.

For the Floor Tiles, I’d pick the Natural Wood. I think nothing comes at par with the warmth of a natural wood floor; it is a noble and stunningly beautiful material that instantly decorates a space.

parquet-piccola-1-l-scuroRevival-1L-Beige-22x220x2.1

For Wall Tiles, I’d go for Mosaics. Mosaics are compositions formed from small pieces, or tesserae, and add energy and richness to a space by combining different materials or breaking the monotony of one sole wall covering, also being used as decorative borders or to frame different zones.

Silver-(2,3x9,8)-29,6x29,6x1Tribal-Pearl-White-(1x2)-28,6x28,3x0,8

Kitchen is truly the heart of our home as it is dominated by the chefs and foodies. It is our workshop where aroma intermingles with lovely conversations. I like these so very functional kitchens which also have versatile spaces and large storage spaces that make cooking tasks easier.

cocina_gamadecor_18new_cocina_gamadecor_02

A bathroom is the smallest room of a home but it has to be a serene and pretty oasis. I liked the contemporary look of this bathroom with it’s elegant furnishings and fittings. And I absolutely love this rain shower!

bano_gamadecor_05light-wall-v3

This is how I visualize our dream abode… less fancy, more comfort; less house, more home!

This post is written for Indiblogger.in and 24KLiving

Staying Healthy Can Be Fun

Over the years, I have realized that if I am passionate about doing or learning something, I would obsess over it for just a few days or may be a few weeks. And soon enough, I would move on without ever looking back. Yes, I get bored really easily!

And this is especially true when it comes to sticking to a fitness or a workout program. Usually, work, travel, home, family and life in general can derail my fitness plans but even without these ‘hindrances’, I am pretty quick to throw cold water on it. Why do I resist my exercise time? Is it because, I have made my exercise regimen hard. I mean, what’s the point of having a leisurely stroll on a treadmill, it has to be power walking, isn’t it? And that power walking can be very lonely and boring for an easily distracted person like me!

So does that mean, I am doomed to forever starting and giving up on my workout plans?

No, this love-hate relationship that I share with staying fit, can change. After all, there is always a way! And like they say, ‘you are stronger than anything standing in your way!’

The way was shown in the new Sunfeast Farmlite advertisements. These advertisements share a very important and pertinent message that staying healthy can also be fun.

Instead of resorting to conventional methods of exercising/walking in a park, staying fit can become an enjoyable outdoor activity when it is done with family and/or friends. Biking, Hiking or Walking Holidays or Trekking can be a fun and delightful adventure time with a group of people bound together by a common goal of staying healthy.

This fun and enjoyment can be translated indoors with friends as well. Aerobics, Zumba, Yoga are wonderful alternatives to traditional fitness programs. And of course 9 days of Navratri are a great way to stay fit. They say, about 956 calories are burnt while doing Dandiya for 2 hours. What could be better than this… fun, festivity and fitness, all rolled into one social activity.

Taking up any sport quite literally makes a game out of working out. A brisk game of Badminton or Table Tennis or Squash not only will get the heart rate up but will also burn a lot of calories, and not to mention the feel good factor of playing a good exciting game.

I liked the Goodbye Bai video which shows that when the maid does a disappearing act, which is pretty often! *Sigh*, doing the household chores yourself (and involving the whole family) is a good idea to stay fit. It kills two birds with one stone. Not only does one gets a spotlessly clean home but a lot of calories are burnt too. And as shown in the video, loading the playlist to some peppy music and dancing while doing the chores is a lot of fun. This ‘mundane chores’ workout can be made more exciting, by doing squats or sit-ups, push-ups, or crunches whenever a new song starts playing! Cool, isn’t it?!

Of course, complementing the daily workouts with healthier cooking and eating habits has an overall positive impact on life. So, we should opt for healthy food choices when planning and preparing meals.

The advertising campaign from Sunfeast Farmlite advocates the concept of health in a fun way through everyday regular tasks. Sunfeast Farmlite, is a healthy and tasty cookie available in two deliciously healthy variants – Oats & Almonds and Oats & Raisins.

It is said, if we enjoy what we do, we do it better. So if we can enjoy our fitness plan, we are more likely to stick to our commitment to stay healthy! Truly, staying healthy can be fun!

I am planning to include some fun activities in my quest to stay healthy. What about you?

This post is written for Indiblogger.in and Sunfeast Farmlite

Scorched by his Fire

Title: Scorched by his Fire Scorched by his Fire
Author: Reet Singh
Publisher: Harlequin India
ISBN: 978-93-5106-374-2
Number of Pages: 194
Price [INR]: 125
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Mita is fed up of her uncle’s overactive matchmaking drive. He is forever lining-up a string of potential grooms for her to choose from. She is not ready to say yes, after all, she is just twenty six and raring to experience life.

She meets Tanay at her best friend, Samrat’s house warming party and their meeting is, well, fiery and explosive! Tanay believes her to be having an affair with Samrat and wrecking his sister’s marriage.

Circumstances push the duo to be together and they are happy to put on a charade of being in love for their respective families. For her this meant, no more meeting ‘nice young man’ and for him it was a way to ‘save’ his sister’s marriage. But is it actually a charade?

Set in Mauritius and then moving to Delhi and Kolkata with a brief stop-over at Dubai, Scorched by his Fire is a classic love story with a fresh new feel. I liked the way the romance developed in this story. The slow transition from hostility to a deeper understanding and eventually, to love is beautifully expressed. The chemistry between Mita and Tanay explodes on the pages. Kudos to Reet for making it so tasteful and so incredibly hot.

Reet’s writing is smooth and lucid. It is not only visually stunning but is evocative too.

Certain parts cliche, certain parts stereotypical, certain parts predictable, but I still enjoyed this book for what it was – romantic and sweet.

All in all, Scorched by his Fire is a truly heart-warming and a hot love story, and the one I would recommend to all fans of contemporary romance. Read it and feel the heat!

Rating : 3.75 Stars

 Buy Scorched by his Fire @ Amazon.com  and Flipkart 

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Dancing with Demons

Title: Dancing with DemonsDancing with Demons
Author: Nidhie Sharma
Publisher: Harlequin India
ISBN: 978-93-5106-493-0
Number of Pages: 288
Price [INR]: 299
Genre: Fiction/Drama

The single most important moment had arrived in Karan Pratap Singh’s life. He is in the finals of the National Amateur Boxing Championship. He had worked very hard for this and was a few moments away from victory and glory which would have made him represent India in the coming Olympics. But then something happens in the stadium. His past came back to haunt him and he loses it all in a moment. He is banned from boxing for four years. He plummets from the top, lives in squalid conditions and struggles to survive.

Fate brings Sonia in his apartment and life who is also fighting some ghosts from the past.

At nearly the breaking point, Karan gets a chance to fight again and Sonia gets a slight breather. But can they bury the demons of their past? Can they forgive and forget the past that torments them? Well, you need to dance with the demons to know that.

Dancing with Demons is a fast paced story that makes for a very interesting and exciting read. The story takes you in the world of boxing,  where brutality and bruises meet and and one needs only fists and fortitude to compete. Personally, I don’t like this sport, but it was interesting to know what happens both in the ring and behind the scenes. The author has captured this straightforward and barbaric pursuit which contains vestiges of our primitive impulses, beautifully.

The story is engaging and redolent with emotions. The language is simple and lucid. The characters are well etched out. The conflict faced by the characters which adds to the drama in the story-line is brought out well. Dancing with Demons is a well written story and that compels you to keep turning page after page, till you reach the very end. I finished reading it in two sittings.

Dancing with Demons is not just about boxing. It is about the rise, fall and resurrection in love and in life. It is about facing your inner fears, conflicts and critic and emerging victorious.

Dancing with Demons is an enjoyable and an engaging read. Go for it!

Rating : 4 Stars

Sending your Child to Boarding School

No matter how young your child is now, at some point you’ll need to start thinking about their formal education. For some of us, this means asking ourselves one crucial question: should I send my child to boarding school? While there are many great sources for online parenting tips on child development and schools (especially if your children are younger) the question of boarding school in particular is worth a closer look. So what are the pros and cons of sending your child to boarding school? Are the stereotypes really true? Is it worth the cost?boarding

The first thing to realize is that while boarding school fees may be high, some schools do offer scholarships and bursaries for talented students. If your child is lucky enough to get one of these, the costs won’t be as prohibitive as you might think. Regardless of the cost, many parents believe boarding school is worth these fees, because of the benefits your child will reap. Here are some parenting tips to consider:

Pros of Boarding School

  • Excellent academic education: One of the main reasons parents opt for boarding school is the academic reputation of these schools. With dedicated teachers and an optimal teacher-student ratio, your child will be able to intellectually thrive in an encouraging environment. Attending one of these schools may increase your child’s chances of entering a prestigious university.
  • Wealth of extracurricular activities: At the same time, if your child is inclined towards athletics, the arts, community volunteering, or other non-academic activities, boarding schools often boast fantastic resources where students can explore these interests. This may include extensive playing fields and athletic spaces, art studios, orchestras, choirs, or connections to professional organizations.
  • Independence and confidence: Your child could become much more independent at boarding school, without the immediate presence of his or her parents. In some ways, your child may grow up faster, leading to increased confidence for university and beyond.
  • Networking and reputation: And yet, your child will also form long-lasting friendships at boarding school, which can extend into their careers. The strong alumni community and good reputation of top boarding schools could prove to be a boost for your children as they build their professional lives.

Cons of Boarding School

  • Less time with your child: If you’re a parent who savours every moment you spend with your child, boarding school may be difficult for you, because you will naturally have less time with them. However, it may mean that the time you do spend together will be even more meaningful, and your relationship may become more positive as a result.
  • Conformity may be challenging for your child: Some children do not respond well to a strict environment, as it confines their unique view of the world. A child like this may suffer at first at boarding school, which often stresses conformity. If this is the case, try to find a boarding school which caters to your child’s interests (the arts, for example), and remember: any school (boarding or not) will have some element of conformity to it. There are also plenty of parenting tips available to help you choose an appropriate school.
  • A different social world: Boarding school students may come from a more privileged socioeconomic world than your child is used to. This may be daunting for your child, or may create a sense of envy for him or her. This isn’t any different from the adult world, though, and your child will be learning early on how to behave and succeed among people from different backgrounds.

These parenting tips should give you some food for thought when considering whether or not to send your child to boarding school. Whatever you choose, you want to give your children the best possible education, to prepare them for success and happiness in the future.

The above post is a guest article from Surf Excel Team.

God is a Gamer

Title: God is a GamerGod is a Gamer
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 978-0-143-42139-9
Number of Pages: 310
Price [INR]: 299
Genre: Fiction/Crime

What happens when you cross gamer, banker, politician and terrorist with virtual money?

From the bestselling author of If God was a Banker comes the first ever bitcoin thriller. God Is a Gamer is a world where money means nothing, martyrs are villains, predators are prey, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems.

Moving from Washington’s congress to Delhi’s finance ministry, the beaches of Goa to the Corporate boardrooms of Mumbai, this is Ravi Subramanian’s most gripping novel yet.

I have read Ravi Subramanian’s earlier books, The Bankster and Bankerupt and had enjoyed reading these racy pacy thrillers. So, was looking forward to his new book, God is a Gamer.

God is a Gamer is set across Washington DC, New York, Mumbai, Goa, Rio de Janeiro, New Delhi and keeps moving back and forth between these cities. Multiple characters  are entwined in various plot lines involving banking, online gaming, bitcoins, investigations, BPO operations, love, lust and politics.

With short chapters, the story switches back and forth between these various sub-plots evenly, giving that complexity and tension that readers of a thriller crave for. So, there’s a senator who is assassinated in the US while in Mumbai, many customers become victims of a phishing attack in a large global bank. The CEO of this bank falls from the thirty-fourth floor of a building while another top official is killed in a hit and run accident. An ATM heist is committed in the US and a new online game revives the fortune of a gaming company. And then there’s the FBI, CBI and Mumbai Police working together to solve the murders and scams.

Interweaving all these sub plots is yet another plot (main?) which revolves around bitcoins, the new digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of the banking or financial institutions. This was something new for me and the detailed explanation of the bitcoin transaction process was insightful. However, how can one buy/sell these bitcoins and how is this virtual electronic currency converted into real cash, was not explained in the book. And that’s because, a few murders and crimes were committed to acquire these bitcoins in the story.

Having played FarmVille, the online farming game on Facebook, the discussions and the inside information shared in the book about Townsville, the new online game was both interesting and informative. The Confessions of the Hooker part either could have been explored a bit more or totally avoided, as it seemed a bit forced

God is a Gamer is a tremendously gripping thriller —almost addictive, till the near end. Towards the climax, it just lost its steam. The author avoided the most used axiom in story telling, “Show, don’t tell”, in God is a Gamer. Looks like to tie the loose ends from so many parallel stories, Ravi tells us the various connections and the relationships, pretty hastily! And this was kind of disappointing!

After having read the book and enjoyed it too, I am clueless about the title. I am not able to connect the God angle in this book.

The disappointment in the end is overshadowed simply because of the tight plot which keeps the reader engaged and hooked and impatient to turn the pages like a thriller should. God is a Gamer is an engaging and entertaining read!

Rating : 3.75 Stars

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

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