Tornado Giveaway : The Face At The Window

Name of the Book: The Face At The Window

Author: Kiran Manral 

Read a review:

  1. Vikas Datta
  2. Ava
  3. Sukanya Venkatraghavan

The Story:

What if at the end of one’s life, one realises that one has lived out a lie?
Mrs. McNally, a retired school teacher, living alone in a cottage at the foothills of the Himalayas, has secrets that if revealed could shatter the two people she cares about the most, her daughter Millie and her grand daughter Nina.
Torn by her desire to reveal the truth that could change Millie’s life, and the need to let things continue as they are, Mrs. McNally grapples not just with ghosts from her past, but also a strange, vicious presence in her house that seems to want something from her. Will she ever find the peace that eludes her, will she be rid of this entity haunting her house and, more importantly, will she find closure? A gently nuanced, layered story that deals with the lack of identity and an eternal finding of self, The Face at the Window holds a mirror to the fears we are all afraid to voice, the fear of ageing, the fear of not belonging, and above all, the fear of having no one to love you at the end of your life.

You can buy the book @

amazon.in | amazon.com| amazon.co.uk

Check out all the books of Tornado here

About The Author : I went from full time journalist to full time mommy to blogger to author. My blogs, www.thirtysixandcounting.wordpress.com and www.karmickids.blogspot.com, are both in Labnol’s list of India’s top blogs, but are sadly languishing neglected now. I was a blogger columnist with Tehelka Blogs on gender issues. 

I was also, professionally, India Cultural Lead and Trendspotter with CEB Iconoculture US and am currently Senior consultant with Vector Insights LLP. 

Because I spend more time than is healthy on twitter, I got listed a non celebrity ‘social media star’ on twitter by the Times of India and IBN Live named me as among the 30 interesting Indian women to follow on twitter and among the top 10 Indian moms to follow on twitter for 2013. Sheroes also listed me as among the top 20 women influencers on twitter in 2014. (http://sheroes.in/articles/must-follo…) I am on the Planning Board of the Kumaon Literary Festival, Chair of the Women Unlimited Series of the Taj Colloquium, Mentor with Sheroes.in and Qween and on the Advisory Board of Literature Studio.

My debut novel, The Reluctant Detective, was published by Westland in 2011. My second novel, Once Upon A Crush,published by Leadstart, was released in May 2014. My third book, All Aboard, was published by Penguin in 2015, as was Karmic Kids, my first non fiction book, published by Hay House in 2015 as well. My fourth fiction work, The Face At the Window, was published by Amaryllis in March 2016. 

Most importantly, I have recently declared my body a 100% Nutella free zone. 

Stalk her @
Facebook | Twitter

#TornadoGiveaway is an initiative of The Book Club. Click on the icon to go to the event page of the Tornado .. Lots of fun awaits you 🙂

In Association With our Media Partners

Little Happy Things

Happiness in life is one thing that everyone aspires to have. It is seen that most of us, in our restless search for happiness through something significant to happen, continuously miss the insignificant, which may not be insignificant at all.  Over the years, it has been observed that true happiness is found in simple and seemingly unremarkable things. It’s the small and simple pleasures throughout the day that give us more  happiness than that one big achievement. And it is the sum total of all these little things that make life more enriching, and beautiful.

Here’s my list of little things that fill me with happiness and bliss. littlehappythings

  • Reading a well told story. It is sheer happiness to be transported into the magical worlds the written word takes me to, the experiences that it leaves me with, the feelings it evokes me with, the beauty that stays with me long after the last page is turned.
  • Baking a perfect cake and seeing it wolfed down with appreciative ‘Oohs and Ahas!’
  • Learning is happiness. The excitement of learning a new skill is incomparable. Yesterday was a happy day when I got to attend a food photography workshop, which was on my bucket list. Aah! The joy of growing, learning and changing!
  • Happiness is getting-together at home with family and friends. Ooh! The fun and banter that comes with laughing and sharing stories over food and wine, with friends.
  • The other day, I was standing in a queue at the airport shop and buying a box of Karachi biscuits. A stranger (a foreigner) holding a similar box but a large one of the same brand was standing just ahead of me. What a happy coincidence! Seeing me hold a medium sized box, he turned back, smiled and in a mischievous conspiratorial tone while pointing towards my box, said, “There’s a big box too.” Without batting an eye, I matched his conspiratorial tone and said, “I have a small family” and we both burst out laughing! Happiness is a fun conversation with a stranger.
  • The theatre lights go down, the salt and butter dusted popcorn is waiting to be devoured and the opening credits roll in. Aah! The joy and happiness of watching the much awaited movie of your favourite actor in the cinema hall.
  • Happiness is getting that comforting and solution driven message from a friend in the middle of the night when I was panicking on seeing my laptop infected with malware!
  • Last week, as I turned in the key to open the door of our home, the aroma of food wafted through the air! The bliss of being treated to a delicious dinner  cooked by the husband after a long day at work!!

Happiness is not ready made.  It comes from our own actions. It is found in small positive experiences in our day to day life that makes us feel contented and at peace. It is found in being thankful for all the little things which happen around us and to us every day. Happiness is looking for the hope and light even when it seems hidden. All said, the little things matter. Even if they don’t seem like it at the time.

What are the little things that make you happy?

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/

New Year Resolutions

2015… It’s the brand new year. It is that time of the year when we look back at the past and get another chance to get it right. It is that time of the year when we see the change in the year and we yearn to bring some changes in ourselves too.

Of course, no one stops us from acting whenever inspiration strikes, during the year.

But new year is that special time when we promise and plan some goals for ourselves. These goals are to give us a new direction or to attract something in our life. The new year resolutions may help us to accomplish or see growth in different spheres of our life. These resolutions could be big or small and they may help us come closer to our goals.

And yes, for some, new year is the time for a new start on old habits. And for some the new year resolutions can be meaningless, unrealistic and fake promises that break even before any action is taken on them. These goals can just add more misery and guilt too.

Even though most of us may not stick to our resolutions for long, it still implies that we have that hope and belief to change or be who we really want to be.

Whether we make new year resolutions or not, the thing is that we all have 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them.

image

I am opting to turn right.

And  my Word of the Year 2015 is Mindfulness. It is about living in the moment and awakening to experiences. We have such a hectic pace of life. Multi-tasking is the buzz word for us. We fold laundry while keeping one eye on the kids and another on the television. We plan our day while chopping vegetables or making breakfast. But in the rush to accomplish the daily chores, we may miss connecting with the present moment—miss out on what we’re doing and how we’re feeling. Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing our attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment.

Of course, it is not an easy road, but not an impossible one. I am going to take one moment at a time!

Which way are you turning this year and what is your Word of the Year 2015?

Whichever path you choose, may your journey be a pleasant one and may life smile on you, everyday! Cheers! ♥

Linking this to Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge

What Were They Thinking?

They say that choosing the right brand name for a product or service is crucial for its success. It’s not an easy and a simple task. This one decision will have significant branding consequences for years. After all, it’s an organization’s entire story, distilled down to one or two words.

When one is developing a name for a business, a product or a service, there are a number of different branding routes one can take.

  • Use the founder or inventor’s name (Hewlett-Packard)
  • Describe what you do (Southwest Airlines)
  • Describe an experience or image (Sprint)
  • Take a word out of context (Apple)
  • Make up a word (Google)

While traveling last week in train, my co-passenger had this brand of mineral water bottle.

2014-10-17 20.43.30

Water Balls!! Water is ok but why Balls? Let us try to understand this brand name by focusing on how both the words identify with a mineral water brand. Water is not available in pellets or balls. Nor is this is packaged in a ball like container. Water-balls are water toys that are played on the water surface, but then how is it related to packaged drinking water? So, these interpretations don’t make any sense with reference to the brand in focus.

Let us now deconstruct the two words in the brand name separately and understand the rationale of this unique brand name. Water is clear to us. Balls could have different meanings. Let’s try and understand what could it mean with reference to packaged drinking water.

  1. Ball – Spherical object or entity – Nope, water is not a spherical entity so the brand manager could not possibly mean this.
  2. Balls Any of various rounded, movable objects used in various athletic activities and games – Again, a package drinking water and a playing ball are far from related.
  3. Balls –Vulgar slang – I am sure nobody in their right mind would use this for their brand of water.
  4. Balls – Testicles – This is out-rightly ruled out too.
  5. Balls – Courage, especially when reckless – Do we need reckless courage to drink this water?
  6. Balls – An exclamation of strong disagreement, contempt, annoyance, etc – Really?!

How did this company come up with this brand name. Wonder, what would be the story behind this brand name! For the life of me, I can’t figure this branding strategy for a packaged drinking water. Can you?

Test Drive with Zest

Tata Motors’ new car Zest is just about to make its debut in the Indian market.

After seeing the looks and test driving the Tata Zest, I must say that the team @ Tata Motors has done a spectacular job, as the car not only has a grand stylish look but is also a step ahead in technology.

Tata Zest has contemporary youthful design. It has a design that reflects emotions. There’s a power bulge on the bonnet and sculpted and athletic body side with a signature Tata grille. The LED tail-lamps with homogeneous and wrap around looks along with projector headlamps are some new features that give it a distinct look.

Tata Zest

The interiors are modernistic and snazzy with a good leg, shoulder and headroom space. The dual tone look with beige and black color inside the cabin gives it an elegant look. There are accessory power sockets, cup and bottle holders, glove box unit through I feel that the car boot is a bit small.

This new car from Tata Motors is truly made to give a connected driving experience. It comes with an amazing and never seen before infotainment system. Zest comes with a Harman infotainment system which has a 5-inch touchscreen display. DSC_0299The 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 Zest too. There are 8 speakers in car including both woofers and tweeters -installed at different locations throughout the car, each one producing its own sound to give a kind of concert quality of music.

At any given point of time 5 devices can be connected through Bluetooth in the Zest Infotainment System. The Infotainment System can be operated through voice commands. Through voice commands one can tune to FM stations by just saying, ‘Tune to 98.3 or FM Preset 3’ , play song in the Media by song name or album name or artist name. With voice commands even the contacts in the Phone Book can be dialed by just saying ‘Call Kshitij’ and SMSs can be read aloud too.  Even the Climate Control can be done by just saying ‘Set speed to 4 or set fan speed maximum or set temperature to 24’. The best thing about this voice command feature is that it recognizes Indian accent. The audio-visual driver assistance during reversing is an additional feature.

As a co-passenger during this test drive (Yes, I don’t drive!), I believe that Zest is a spectacular car from Tata Motors which is  a class apart with innovative features, connectivity and comfort.

I Don’t Understand This

The other day, I saw an advertisement for V-Guard Water Heaters on television.

The advertisement shows that a woman is traveling in a crowded bus and a pervert touches her inappropriately and then later she is eve teased by 2 men.  All these troubling issues the woman faced are shown getting ‘washed out’ in a shower of hot water. The voiceover says ‘Dho daliye roz ki parishaniyaan, perfect hot water bath ke saath. V-Guard Water Heaters’.

I found this on the YouTube, which looks like is the complete advertisement and has other issues like colleagues gossiping at work and an abusive boss as well.

What is this advertisement trying to tell us? Or what were the thoughts behind this storyboard?

Is this advertisement trying to tell us that one can wash away such irritating-harrowing-disgusting experiences with a hot water shower?

Does this hot water shower washes away this irritating-harrowing-disgusting experience of somebody harassing you,  from the memory too.

Experience, books, newspapers says that such experiences which outrages your modesty stays with you, haunts you, leaves you with psychological scars, for a long time and sometimes forever. So, I am wondering how can these be washed away by a hot water shower?

Looks like these humiliating experiences which most women go through daily, can be washed away from the thoughts, the memory just like one can wash away the dirt, germs and grime. Of course, it has to be hot water shower and not a regular cold water shower.

Or is this ad saying that the incidents of eve-teasing and molestation are as casual as the dust or grime we come across on our way? Or is it suggesting that this menace of eve-teasing and molestation is an acceptable norm of our society?

V-Guard has had some weirdly funny advertisements for its Inverter/UPS in the past too. Link. But this advertisement for Water Heater is something that I am not able to comprehend or understand the sense or logic behind it. Can you please explain?

The Day, Today

This has been a terribly happy busy Sunday! No, I was not cleaning and scrubbing my home. Thankfully, our home is ready for Diwali and everything in the home is now meeting my standards of cleanliness and orderliness.

We were busy this Sunday because of our friends. Yes, we decided to spend our evening with fun, food and firewater with my friends from MBA days. Incidentally, one is KG’s school mate. How amazing it is, that a friend studies with your husband in school and then he studies later with you for post graduation. And we discovered this only a few months ago. Another interesting thing about our friends is that 2 couples are happily married to their MBA sweethearts!! And that reminds me that 10 guys and girls from our MBA batch of 30, dated then and are now married to each other.

Once the plans for dinner were finalized in the morning, KG and I sat with our cookery books and decided on the recipes to try. Once we got our menu right, after a late breakfast, we went shopping. Came back home and brainstormed whether to rest first and then cook or vice versa. KG decided to cook first. So since 2.30 in the afternoon, we were in the kitchen.

When we have guests who are a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarians, the menu becomes pretty elaborate. With non-vegetarian guests, in the main course, a non-veg dish with salad (most prefer only onions), along with chapati and/or rice is a perfect meal. But with vegetarian friends, we prefer to cook a dal, 2 vegetable dishes (dry and gravy), curd/raita, salad, rice and chapati. And today we have a mix group, so imagine the number of dishes that have been cooked!! And since we are 8 adults and 3 kids, so imagine the quantities too!!  KG did 95% of the cooking and I assisted him with chopping, organizing, in short I was a perfect assistant to the master chef. We tasted the dishes and everything turned out just awesome.

Friends turned up at sharp 8 pm and it was an amazing evening. Laughter and anecdotes, memories and smiles, food and firewater, songs and all that jazz… it was a fun and a memorable evening.

How is it with certain friends that time stands still , even if you meet them after years, the bond, the friendship is still the same and you take it ahead from where you had left years ago

DSC_0382

Friends like PB, SB, SR, NR, AT are like stars, you don’t always see them but you know they are always there and would add brightness to your world, always!

And partner like KG is my greatest blessing! 🙂DSC_0384

A perfect happy day!

How was your Sunday?

Linking this post to the Ultimate Blog Challenge and October’s NaBloPoMo.

Enjoy the Spotlight!

I met a friend after a long time and excitedly told her, "Hey! You have lost weight and 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…

Read the rest of the post on Mrs Usha Menon’s blog as a Guest Post, here.

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