Road Safety is in Our Hands

Some years ago, T, a 20-something-son of a family friend met with an accident. He was driving his bike when a van hit him. The van driver fled from the scene leaving him bleeding and in intense pain on the road. His head had hit the pavement and he died on his way to the hospital. They say that the bystanders took a long time to take any action. The doctors said that if medical assistance was provided to him a bit earlier, he would have survived and a helmet would have prevented the fatal injuries too. T’s mother took his death to heart and died eight months later. T’s father lives alone and is a sort of recluse.

One accident changed the life and fate of a family!

If only…

The World Health Organization in its first ever Global Status Report on Road Safety revealed that more people die in road accidents in India than anywhere else in the world. At least 13 people die every hour in road accidents in the country. According to the Road Transport ministry report, a total of 4.97 lakh road accident was reported in 2011. A majority of road accident victims – 51.9 %  – are in the 25-65 age group followed by 30.3% in the 15-24 age group.

And they say 80% of road accidents are due to human error! 80% – human error… that’s huge!!

I believe, making our roads safe not only for us but also for motorists and pedestrians is in our hands. Here are are some of the steps that we must follow which incidentally are the road signs by the Border Road Organization that we came across on our road journey from Srinagar to Leh, to make our roads safe:

  • Do not be rash and end in crash: Drive like hell, and you ‘ll be there. Speed thrills but it kills, after all it’s a highway and not a runway.
  • Drive on horse power and not rum power. Drinking and driving should never be mixed.
  • Short cuts may cut short your life : Avoid overtaking from wrong side. Life is short, but don’t make it shorter, because a slip and there might be a hospital trip. Be Mr. Late but not Late Mr.
  • Make road sense as your common sense. Like seat belts and helmets are life saving. And that high beam and low beam lights in a vehicle have a reason and specific purpose. Use them wisely. Use indicators timely!
  • Lane driving is safe driving : In fact, lane driving should be mandatory especially on highways and expressways.
  • Peep-Peep, Don’t Sleep. Always Alert, Avoids Accidents.  Driving with care, make accidents rare.
  • Be a good Samaritan : What goes around, comes around. So help those in need and in distress.
  • Safety on road=safe tea at home. Safety on roads should become a habit. As safety is simple, accidents are not.

The key to road safety is in our hands. Each one us should respect and know traffic regulations and signs and follow them religiously. Each one of us should have a responsible attitude on the road and avoid road accidents and their serious consequences.

Road safety is a state of mind, while accident is an absence of mind. Since, life does not comes with a ‘reset’ button, drive safe, always!  And there should be no place for ‘If only…’ on roads.

This post is written for Indiblogger and Nissan Safety Driving Forum

Rise Above Fear

I am not an outdoors person. Or at least that’s what I thought till some time ago.

Some four years ago, as part of an adventure based training program, I had to do rappelling  Rappelling is a controlled descent down a rock face or a wall using a rope. After the safety and activity brief, we were to climb down a steep wall of 40 feet height.

A lot of participants showed enthusiasm and were lining up on the terrace to rappel down. I was like rooted to the ground. I slipped my hands into my jacket in an attempt to dry them of their clamminess. I had never done anything of this sort earlier. People were oohing and aahing with excitement while I was paralysed with fear. ‘I cant do it’… ‘I can’t…’ kept reverberating in my head. The brief said that we were safe on every millimetre of the rope but the panicky alarm bells in my head were ringing wildly.

The trainer could see through me and gave me a little pep talk. He suggested that I watch the other participants from the terrace. I pushed myself to at least go to the terrace, though I was convinced that I wouldn’t be doing this activity. Even after seeing so many people go down so easily on the rope system, my head and heart were not giving me the ‘Go for it’ sign.

And finally, I was the only person left on the terrace along with the adventure coordinators. They signalled me to wear the safety harness. Fear was writ all over me.

I looked at my instructor and asked him: “Do I really need to do this?” He said: “Not if you do not wish to. But I suggest that you do it. This experience will change you”.

I had a minute to decide. Slowly, I turned and wore the safety harness and stood on the ledge of the wall. The world looked different when seen while standing on the edge of a 40-ft wall. The cool breeze did nothing to soothe the raging nervous energy inside. The crowd at the bottom was cheering me and I was all set to… chicken out. Their motivating words could not reach the fearful stories my head was busy concocting.

And then the instructor asked everybody to keep quiet and looked at me and said, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

Something connected somewhere and I ssshed my racing nerves. IMG-20101217-00178I focused on the instructions and gingerly took the first step down the perpendicular wall… and then the second… and then the third… And by fourth step, I was like ‘not bad’… and then it was ‘Aha!… and with every step my confidence kept on increasing and a tiny little firefly was buzzing around above my head with excitement.

And when I reached down, the first thought was that wish the wall had more height! This thought amazed me…I mean this was coming form somebody who was chanting the “I can’t’ mantra, moments ago.

I realized that my dread, my fear, had been a huge overreaction. My self limiting beliefs and my fears paralysed me from taking that first step. There is enough strength within us to overcome anything in life… including our worst and biggest fears!! I realized that no fear is unconquerable. All you have to do is TRY and RISE ABOVE FEAR!!

Today, white water rafting, trekking, valley crossing, flying fox/zip line excite me and I can’t wait to explore para-sailing and bungee jumping!

This post is written for Indiblogger and Mountain Dew India #RiseAboveFear

Hygiene is Two-Thirds of Health

Hygiene is two-thirds of health.

2/3rd of our health?! Hard to believe??

It is a true fact.

Hygiene is a basic human need and we know that it is common sense to practice it in our day to day life. But the number of diseases that are spread by the very lack of this ‘common sense’ habit, is staggering!

Sanitation and Hygiene play a big role in our everyday lives. With the kind of health risks that pose a threat to us today, it is more important than ever, for us to maintain good hygienic habits. And it all starts at home!

Hygiene, which is basically practicing certain activities in our life that lead to maintenance of health and prevention of diseases, is divided into three categories:

Personal Hygiene : Studies show that, 80 percent of infections are transmitted by direct and indirect contact, thus, hand washing is the most important thing we can do to protect our self! And others!  Every hand we shake, every hand rail we touch, every door knob, every light switch, every counter top, every dog we pet…simply everything we touch can place dangerous germs on our hands.

The importance of hand washing can be assessed by looking at the spread of germs found on human hands. Given below are a few examples:


Here’s a checklist of times when we need to wash our hands. I know, this may sound so petty and trivial and something that we all know. These are the basics… right! But mostly the basic rituals are the ones that are most often forgotten and ignored! Just check, how many check marks (✓) you get…

    • After using the washroom at home or at any public place. 6 Steps of Washing Hands
    • Before as well as after eating food.
    • After visiting a patient at the hospital.
    • Before and after one starts cooking food.
    • After changing a baby’s diaper.
    • After touching pets or cleaning their faeces.
    • Before touching young infants and children.
    • Before and after touching injured areas and changing the dressing of a wounded person.
    • After collecting and throwing out garbage.
    • After sneezing, coughing and blowing our nose.
    • After cleaning around the house.
    • After being outside (playing, gardening, walking the dog, etc.)
    • After handling dirty laundry.

Also hands should be always washed with a soap. If that is not done then we are actually  smearing the germs all over our hands and giving them a wider surface area to operate and/or if we are not washing well or long enough then we have got live germs on our hands ready to transfer to our foods, friends’ hands we shake or even people we hug…

Home Hygiene : We love keeping our homes clean. But are they really clean? However clean a home looks, the deadly little germs can still be lurking around. The door knobs, the handrails, the upholstery and bedding, the TV remote, computer keyboard, toilet brush, soap dispensers, kitchen napkins, vacuum cleaner are all hotbeds of bacterial and viral activity. Take a moment to check this cleaning time-table. If you are managing your home as per this schedule, you are doing great!

Several Times in a Day Once Every Day Once -Twice Every Week Once a Month

Wash dishes and cooking utensils after each meal

Sweep the floors

Wash the floors

Clean cupboards, windows and walls

Clean kitchen slab before and after food preparation

Empty the kitchen rubbish bin

Wash the bed linen

Clean refrigerator, gas stove

Clean toilets

Dust the surfaces

Get rid of cobwebs

Food Hygiene : In a survey, 15 per cent of squeaky clean-looking fridges were heavily contaminated with bugs. Hard to believe. Right? But then it’s true. How many of us wash the milk packets and then keep them in the fridge. And what about the vegetables and fruits? Mostly, a refrigerator is used as a cold cabinet. So the vegetables and fruits are kept either without washing or in the carry bags we got from the market. Imagine the dirt and the germs that we are allowing to stay and thrive in our refrigerators.

How about washing the pack of bread or the eggs or a juice tetra pack or a cold drink can or the pack of chips… just about any eatable pack? And is it hygienic to pack food in newspapers or letting the newspaper soak the oil as we fry hot yummies?


Sanitation and hygiene begins at Home! Implementing good hygiene practices, personally and at home has both health and social benefits. What is your take on this?

Swachh IndiaThis post is written for Indiblogger and Banega Swachh India #SwachhIndia

On My Mind Now

I saw this prompt from Blogadda and thought of writing a blog post around it!

  • On my mind now is the time travel that I undertook this afternoon. I wanted to check a picture which I had uploaded on an old blog post! And guess what, one thing led to another, and I ended up reading so many of my old posts! It bought back so many memories which were accompanied with smiles. I am still thinking about the nearly forgotten snippets of life that I have been sharing on my blog since the last 5 years! I am so glad that I started writing on my blog and that I am recording the journey of our life and times. Thank you M for inspiring and pushing too!
  • On my mind now is the anger and the frustration over rapes in our country! When will this sort of depravity vanish from our society? When will the mind-set of men in our country change? Truly sickened and disgusted by the state of affairs.
  • On my mind now is my new house-help! After working for 5 days at a stretch, she goes missing for 3 consecutive days. This is her third week at work and she has already taken 6 leaves. The weekend is just around the corner and we are expecting some guests at home, I am truly dreading her vanishing act! Her creative reasons for taking leaves are simply amazing. The only reason I don’t feel like finding a replacement for her is that she does the work efficiently. But in my heart, I know that I may have to let go of her if she continues on her leaves taking spree.
  • On my mind is the book that I have to read and review. The initial pages are unable to hold my interest. Will try again, tonight!
  • On my mind is the dinner which should have been warmed and served, some thirty minutes ago!

What’s on your mind now?

Rescued by Love

Title: Rescued by LoveRescued by Love
Author: Shilpa Suraj
Publisher: Harlequin India
ISBN: 978-93-5106-495-4
Number of Pages: 184
Price [INR]: 150
Genre: Romance

Naina, the only child of a Supreme Court Chief Justice, runs away from home to Leh, to avoid getting married to ‘Fatty’. Fatty is chosen by her father to advance his political career.

She is kidnapped by terrorists and kept as a hostage, days before her father must sentence the leader of the terrorist group. Lt Col Arjun Rathore and his team  are sent on a mission to rescue Naina and bring her back to safety. And they do it with skill and tact.

As they trek back through the hostile terrain of Ladakh, Naina loses her heart to him. He is smitten by her too but turns her away for he believes that she is mistaking gratitude for attraction and also that she is way beyond his league.

Back in safety, the real world and its very real problems threaten – as do their own perceptions of the differences between them.

They must separate – but will life rescue their love?

Rescued by Love is Shilpa’s second book. I have read her debut novel The Girl He Left Behind and enjoyed reading it! And what do I say about this one! Well, that I was simply blown away! I could not put this book down. My heart was racing through as I turned page after page and joined Naina and Arjun in their tumultuous love and life journey.

Rescued by Love is a heart-warming story of the power of love, parting and re-uniting in love and finding oneself in the process. I simply loved Arjun, he made my heart flutter madly too. Shilpa did a great job with his character! Naina’s character as a strong yet sweet girl despite the odds against her has been etched out beautifully. Excitement, passion, wit and humour are woven in beautifully in the telling of this story. The development of the characters and the plot which is well written with vivid descriptions, pulls you in from the first page.

Shilpa’s writing is amazing, I love the way she has written this story with passion and humour and with enough realism.

This is one book that you will keep reading way into the night and I am re-reading it again soon! And did I tell you that the first half of the book is my absolute favourite! The ending is a bit melodramatic for my taste but that’s ok.

Rescued by Love is highly recommend for anyone looking for a refreshingly beautiful story with and some realistic romance and action!

Well done, Shilpa. I’ll be keeping an eye out for your next book!

Rating : 4 Stars

Buy Rescued By Love @ and Flipkart

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The Mouse Charmers

Title: The Mouse Charmers – Digital Pioneers of IndiaThe Mouse Charmers
Author: Anuradha Goyal
Publisher: Random House India
ISBN: 978-8-184-00492-2
Number of Pages: 299
Price [INR]: 334
Genre: Non Fiction

The advent of Internet has been a significant game changer for our generation. Mouse Charmers are a new breed of entrepreneurs in emerging India powered by the Internet and the opportunities that it offers to create new markets and to cater to old markets in new ways. Some of them have already achieved success where they can be called iconic and inspiring while others have powerful ideas that put them on the same path.

Anuradha Goyal tells the stories of digital entrepreneurs like Flipkart, Zomato, ImagesBazaar, IndiBlogger; how they started out, the innovations and technologies involved, their business models, and unique marketing strategies. Inspiring and useful, The Mouse Charmers is an essential guide for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Internet has changed our life enormously. It has influenced all spheres of our life and has changed the way we live, interact, work and do business. Today, life without our multiple communication devices is unthinkable. Websites like Flipkart, Make My, Zomato have become an integral part of our lives.

Thanks to the internet we have a new breed of entrepreneurs in India who have used the power of internet and have created new markets and also cater to the old markets in a new way. These young entrepreneurs have changed our image in the world from that of Snake Charmers to Mouse Charmers.

In her book, The Mouse Charmers, the author profiles the success stories of 12 companies which are the digital pioneers of India. These 12 companies are categorized under :

  • Commerce : Flipkart, Make My Trip, BigBasket, CaratLane
  • Content : Zomato, Games2Win, ImagesBazaar, Chai with Lakshmi
  • Connectors :, Rang De, CommonFloor, IndiBlogger

The book gives some detailed insights on the business models of these companies, the innovation they brought about in their field, the differentiating factors, the journey so far and their future plans. It also shares the challenges and opportunities these first generation entrepreneurs faced during the course of time.

Reading The Mouse Charmers was an enlightening experience. The success stories, the strategies these young entrepreneurs used, what worked for them and what didn’t made for a fascinating and an inspiring read. Anuradha’s voice in the book is clear, concise, organized, and jargon-free. The book has facts and figures, tables and charts, graphs and infographics along with content that is taken from company websites, news articles, and in a few cases, conversations with key personnel of the companies.

The Mouse Charmers will not only charm and inspire the budding entrepreneurs but is a must read for all cybernauts out there!!

The review is part of IndiBlogger Book Review initiative.

Cover Reveal of Sundari Venkatraman’s New Book

Cover Reveal
Romantic Short Stories by
Sundari Venkatraman
Sneak Peak

Swayamwar on TV reality show; Dating Clubs; Matchmaking websites; parents setting up their children with one another; friends getting married and more – there are many ways that couples get together for hopefully a “Happily Ever After” experience. MATCHES MADE IN HEAVEN explores the various premises in the form of short stories that one can relate to in everyday life. There is even one based on Gods falling in love. Shh! I am not going to say anything further. It’s for you to find out.

And there are thirteen of them. While many insist that “13” is an unlucky number, I am quite fascinated by it. I absolutely believe that it’s a lucky number for me. That’s why I decided to publish this anthology with 13 romantic stories. 

About the Author

Sundari Venkatraman has authored four novels and a short story anthology till now, Matches Made In Heaven (anthology) being the latest. The Malhotra Bride; Meghna; The Runaway Bridegroom; Flaming Sun Collection 1: Happily Ever Afters From India (Box Set) and Matches Made In Heaven have all been self-published on Amazon under the banner of Flaming Sun. The three novels are regularly seen on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers’ Contemporary Romances list. The Box Set and Anthology are bound to catch up soon. 

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 happy endings. 

Matches Made In Heaven is a compilation of thirteen short stories – all romantic – based on many situations anyone can come upon in their day-to-day lives. The stories revolve around the different ways a couple can get to meet and tie the knot in a culture rich country like India. Those reading the stories will definitely be able to connect realizing that one of the situations has definitely been a part of their lives. 

So here you go……..
 Book Launch By

Against All Odds

Title: Against All Oddsgreen lime covers
Author: Jazz Singh
Publisher: Indireads Inc.
Number of Pages: 133 (Estimated)
Price [INR] : 150
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Type : eBook

Sanjana is a small town girl trying to find her feet in Delhi as an Interior Designer. She stumbles on something, loses her footing and slips in front of Abhimanyu’s car. They get off on the wrong foot. He thinks of her as a con artist and she considers him as an arrogant and an insufferable man.

Was it coincidence or destiny but they meet again and again and eventually change their minds about each other. And fall in love too. Abhimanyu’s mother dislikes their association and  points out the social differences between them and how Sanjana is so out of their league. In fact she even accuses her to be a social climber. Understanding her point of view, Sanjana vanishes from Abhimanyu’s life. But will she be able to banish him from her thoughts? Will their paths cross again, someday? Will they ever overcome the odds?

Against All Odds has a classic plot of ‘rich-guy-falls-for-poor-girl’ with a spoilsport mother in tow. Sounds like a typical bollywood melodramatic movie? Right! But that’s where the similarity ends. The characters of Sanjana and Abhimanyu look real. Their dilemmas, their inner conflict portrayed in  the story seems very realistic. In fact their romance develops slowly and gradually.

Against All Odds is a romantic story but has elements of suspense too. The twists and turns in the story make you wonder about will they/won’t they get together. The chemistry between the duo is crafted well by the author and the dialogues are sincere and genuine. The only dampener were the final few pages. I wished that the climax was handled a bit differently. It appeared to be a bit clichéd and a bit abrupt!

A light, breezy romantic read, yes that’s what Against All Odds is! Check it out!

Buy Against All Odds @ and Indireads

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Explore Dream Discover

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. – St. Augustine.

Being a zodiac sign that symbolizes travel, it comes as no surprise that exploring and discovering new places comes naturally to me.  Travel can mean differently at different points of time. Sometimes, travel is to get lost in a new place, explore its heritage, culture and cuisine, meet new people and learn about their lifestyle and traditions.  Sometimes, it is to relax in a serene and quaint little place or to immerse in the lap of luxury.  And sometimes, it is to expect the unexpected.  Whatever is the objective, to me travel is always a thrilling, exciting, inspiring, rejuvenating and an enlightening experience.

I dream of exploring a lot of places and be a real wanderer. Today I’d like to share a few places that are on my wish-list, places where I’d like to spend our holidays…

  • Tranquility in the Rice Fields @ Ubud, Bali, Indonesia : For a quiet and a relaxing vacation and to spend quality time with family, I’d like to go to this beautiful, tranquil home which is far from the madding crowds and away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist destinations. Located at Penestanan, a lovely rice field village, I liked this serene and tranquil haven which also has flora, fauna and wild-life. With full grown coconut and bananas trees… even in the bathroom; with flowers, butterflies and birds around, this is one place, I can’t wait to be there!

Tranquility in the Rice Fields

  • A Fairy-tale Gingerbread House @ Geyserville, CA, United States : We’ve all grown up reading fairy tales with beautiful and magical places. How about living in a house that is straight out of a fairy tale!! I loved this uniquely constructed Gingerbread House at the Isis Oasis Retreat Center which looks so cozy from  inside. Two people can sleep downstairs and one can comfortably sleep in the loft and that is simply perfect for us!!  Earthen trees are wrapped around the hut making it feel as though it were being embraced by the trees. It has a wood-fired oven outside which will be put to good use by KG, with a picnic table. Close access to the pool, sauna and hot tub sounds heavenly! Aah! Would love to be a part of this earthen adventure!

Fairy-tale Gingerbread House

  • TRULLO “Black Cherry”, Putignano @ Apulia, Italy : Who doesn’t love history and old houses with a centuries-old history! This old historic house in the heart of Itria Valley, promises just that! The beautiful scenery of the countryside characterized by a succession of trulli and country houses and the paved country roads that allow long walks on foot or by bicycle is so inviting and alluring!

TRULLO Black Cherry Putignano

  • Treehouse at Lush Permaculture Farm Miami, FL, United States : After seeing Treehouse Masters on Discovery Channel TV for so long, we have this dream to make a Treehouse on our farm too. Till our lil sapling grows to a real big tree and until we make our own Treehouse, how about living in a Treehouse that is nestled within the pithocilobium tree! This place is an urban oasis and a permaculture farm.  We can enjoy goats, pigs, emus, chickens and a colorful community of people. and can get fresh veggies, eggs and honey! How wonderful is that!

Treehouse at Lush Permaculture Farm

  • Solar Powered Palapa w/Ocean View @ San Jose Del Cabo, Los Cabos, Mexico : KG always talks of going back to roots! Don’t know when that would happen but in the mean time we can explore this rustic home in this unique setting overlooking the break at Shipwreck’s Beach and check whether we can survive at a place that is simple and basic! This little hut overlooks the sea which has great waves to surf when they’re rolling in…great beaches, swimming and wind surfing when they’re not. The desert meets the sea here so there’s burros and sea turtles on the beach, and cactus, wildflowers and beautiful arroyos to explore. Now that’s the best of all worlds!

Solar Powered Palapa Ocean View

We must take adventures to know where we truly belong. Hope we get to explore and soak in the beauty of all these places soon.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”- Mark Twain

This post is written for and Airbnb #AirbnbWishList

Clean India #AbMontuBolega

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, kick-started the ‘Swach Bharat Abhiyaan’ or ‘Clean India’ campaign on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, this year. The aim of this campaign to clean up India and improve sanitation facilities.

As Gandhiji said, “Change begins from home”. While a lot has to be done by the local civic bodies and government, I believe the real people who can make The Swach Bharat Abhiyaan  a success is the common man. There will be no expected participation unless people’s attitude towards cleanliness and its importance changes. The masses, are the real power and they should be involved in the process of cleaning India.

Each an every citizen of India has to become an active participant in this campaign.

  • A larger percentage of our society still live under unhygienic conditions. A lot of awareness has to be build in that strata of the society. If every Indian inculcates clean hygienic habits we can go a long way in curbing this menace.
  • While people believe in keeping their homes clean but do not hesitate to throw anything outside their homes. The mindset that a small packet of chips or a cigarette butt is miniscule in comparison to the existing garbage around, has to change.
  • Every person should make a habit of throwing garbage only in the dustbins. It is not just the duty of the local municipal workers but we all should be committed to keep our country clean.
  • If somebody is littering around, one should not hesitate to pick that garbage or speak to the person who did it wrong in the first place.
  • Reduce-Reuse-Recycle – should be the mantra that should be followed by one and all.
  • Solid and liquid waste management should be adopted in every housing society.
  • The youth can act as Model Good Citizens and Volunteers. They should be encouraged to take up careers and act as entrepreneurs in fields like Sanitation, City Planning, Waste Management, Water Treatment, Green Infrastructure, Sustainable Development etc.
  • Children need to be educated about cleanliness as early as possible. Personal hygiene and segregation of waste should be subjects taught in preschool and primary schools across the country.

One man has shown us the path, the light, now it is up to the 1.5 billion people of our country to join hands together and help make a cleaner India.

Strepsils, has launched its first digital marketing campaign called #AbMontuBolega. The campaign nudges people to speak up and raise their opinion.It urges people to “Speak your Heart out! Khol Ke Bolo”. #AbMontuBolega campaign wants the youth of India to emerge and bring forth their rightful opinion with Montu because a Montu exists in everyone.

I am raising my voice for a cleaner India. Will you join me in this campaign?

Let’s exercise the power of our voice and work towards a Swach Bharat

brandcoverThis post is written for and Strepsils.  Follow Strepsils on Facebook and Twitter.


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