Chapter 5: Duplicity

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Team : Writers’ Express
Read the Chapters of the story here

Chapter 1: Pawan Hegde

Chapter 2 : Partha Sadhukhan

 Chapter 3 : Sujata Tawde

Chapter 4: Shilpa Halwe

Chapter 6: Shazneen Pathak 

Chapter 7:  Anuradha


 

The diamond danglers shone bright, the wedding trousseau looked stunning and decked up to the full, the bride looked happily intoxicated with joy. The grand hall buzzed with music, chit-chats and laughter. It was a wedding reception hosted by a rich Indian businessman at Le Meridien, Kochi. One man in white felt relieved by looking at his handsome son, who was all happy to lose his bachelorhood to his school time sweetheart. Aside from her exquisite engagement ring from the bridegroom Ravi, the bride Kanchana had ensured that she wore completely traditional look. Every accessory that she adorned looked just perfect for the moment.

From one corner of the hall, there was someone who was loving every bit of it through her DSLR.  She was the only one in the room who had the courage to put on a denim with a cool tee.  The tattoo of the sweet little bird was about her true calling. She wanted to keep  flying here and there. Nothing could make Jennifer happy but photography and Indian weddings were her favorite. She loved the grandness about the North Indian weddings. Jennifer dreamt of two ceremonies for her own wedding, one in the church in the elaborate white gown and the other like Kanchana’s.

Jennifer had thanked her friend and partner in crime ( photography passionate) Maya more than once for cracking this opportunity. She had got bored of the church weddings and were in need of something grand as this. Maya was blessed with persuasive PR skills and her talking had helped them bag this assignment. Not one but five professional photographers were covering the reception party. Five years back when she had started as an amateur, she has shot weddings for free, for friends of friends who couldn’t afford to hire a professional but now she was one among the elite.

Jennifer new 1 copy

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My experience of flying with Malaysian Airlines

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Hi Readers,
 
I am back from Malaysia with beautiful experiences to share with you all. My first international exposure that happened due to blogging was full of great fun, excitement and learning. Remember the Malaysian Familiarization trip that I had won in the first quarter of the year? Yes, so it happened in last week of August as I had opted for this month. I was invited over to be a part of the Merdeka (Independence Day) celebrations and now when I am back, I want to shout out loud and tell everyone that the trip was absolutely amazing.  Malaysia Tourism deserves many thanks because they made it rock beyond words. I thoroughly enjoyed my company with two travel bloggers Ragini and Vaishakhi. The 6 days trip turned out to be an experience that will be savored for a lifetime for sure.
I am gonna share every bit of it right from where it began…
 

Malaysia Airlines, Travel, Kuala Lumpur, Airlines, Flight

Are you flying with Malaysia Airlines?

In the last week of August when I was due to travel to Kuala Lumpur to be a part of the the Merdeka celebrations, every other friend, colleague and acquaintance did not miss the chance to ask – ‘Are you flying with Malaysia Airlines?’ 

I would smile in an affirmation. Each one tried to show concern. Honestly, I felt bothered. To all their queries and suggestions, I had only one thing to say and that was that the carrier had been plain unlucky this year otherwise it had always been the best in Malaysia. I did a reality check too when I questioned myself and others that how often do we check safety records of our own flights and trains when we book them? The answer is we all love to travel cheap and best. Convenient and cost effective is the mantra!!!

And now with my experience on-board MAS, I would say they are doing the best in their hard time.  They aren’t using the tragedies as an excuse to get away with just anything. The cost cuttings if any weren’t visible to me. On the day one, when I was flying from New Delhi, the plane was completely packed and thus this proved that the Indians trusted MA no less.

Inflight Food, Malaysia AirlinesThere were no hassles with the boarding pass, luggage drop in, etc. The announcements were right on time. The aircraft was neat and clean. The inflight entertainment was good. Since my seat was very last one, I missed some legroom space but otherwise things were good.  The food and drinks were served punctually. I would rate it as standard quality of catering. I absolutely enjoyed my non-veg meal. The cabin crew wore their friendly smiles throughout and they acted professional and obliging all along the journey.

 

  The journey to Kaula Lumpur was not at all tiring and I say so even when I took no nap on the way rather I read the in-flight magazine ‘Going Places’, chatted with my friend and fellow blogger and watched some animated movies (my favorite past time on board flights).

Malaysian Airlines, In flight, Boeing

2014 was themed as Visit Malaysia, Truly Asia by the country. The year is aimed to be all about tourism and hospitality. To take the idea forward and enhance travel experiences, Malaysian Airlines has incorporated two new offerings- ‘MH Gourmet’ and ‘On Air Celebration’.  First one enables flyers to enhance their normal economy meals to premium meals and with second passengers can pre-order a special celebratory cake to be served on board to commemorate birthdays, anniversaries, honeymoon or wedding. I also came to know  about Enrich, the frequent flyer programme of Malaysia Airlines.

By the end of the flight, I had developed a liking for their Kelantan kite symbol in red and blue all around. :)

Going Places
The In flight magazine ‘Going Places’

At the Kuala Lumpur Airport

The return flight was hassle free too. However, before I boarded the flight, there was a chance to explore the Platinum and Golden Lounge which was not meant to be missed especially when Malaysia Airlines’ Golden Lounge had won the Asia’s Leading Airline Lounge, 2011 by the World Travel Awards. It was easy to locate the lounge.

The food, drinks, seats, space were all comforting and luxurious.  There were magazines to keep oneself busy, the wifi was working very well and also the computer spaces were available for those who needed to access the internet. I hopped around checking facilities and making the best of my time. More than the words, my pictures will do the talking.

“Malaysian Hospitality”, Plaza Platinum Lounge, Malaysian airlines Read the rest of this entry »

Private India

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Private India, Ashwin Sanghi, James Patterson, book, bookreview

 

In the last few weeks and still going, one book that has created serious buzz among the Indian book lovers/critiques is PRIVATE INDIA. When Blogadda offered copies of the book, we all went grabbing happily. Two things that led to my excitement were, first the book-cover read- ‘It’s the season for murder in Mumbai’ (leading to a high thrill quotient ) and second  the creative piece was a result of labor and love of not one but two popular authors ASHWIN SANGHI and JAMES PATTERSON. 

A thriller usually calls for a quick bite but this one was savored by me in three weeks. Firstly, it was work, then travel and further bad health that prevented me from wrapping it up soon. Finally, the trail of murders and the twisty journey came to its end yesterday and here I come up with the book review.  :)

In one sentence:   A page turner that starts on a high note with exciting series of murders and suspense, however it ends as a disarrayed storyline with messed-up subplots.

Cover Page and the Blurb

An interesting blurb promises chills and thrills. The mention of world’s finest investigation agency, dying people, killer, gang lord, godman, race of time, innocent Mumbai citizens sets the pace perfectly. At the same time, the cover page fails to impress.  The architectural icons from Mumbai at the top and the ‘man running for his life’ in the below left corner do not complement the title well enough. 

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Mind Rocks Youth Summit 2014: Believe in strength of mind and follow your heart

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Last year when I attended Mind Rocks 2013 in New Delhi, a youth summit organized by India Today I was completely floored at the end of the day. In one single day I had got to see and hear from the best of best. The star brigade was absolutely impressive. For days, the inspiring take-away quotes from the event had lingered on in my mind.  Since then I have always been catching up with its live streaming when its held in other cities. However, now was the time for it to return to Delhi and I was anxious to cover the event live. Honestly, I would also confess that being invited to events of such grand stature are perks to bloggers and I love them. There is no doubt about it that the events organized by India Today group are one of the best.

If I was asked to describe Mind Rocks in one sentence, I would say it is a great programme that has been designed to help the youth realize their own potential after hearing from the youth icons in real. Inspiring talks provide great fuel to both mind and heart and the school-college children must attend such sessions. I wish things like this happened ten years back when I had joined college. When I hear the icons talk now, the realization that descends on me is that success is not about a day’s work and passion needs to be complemented with utmost perseverance.

Let me take you around the event that rocked this Saturday in New Delhi at Siri Fort Auditorium. The below stage was set afire by ideas, interactions, politics music, fashion, dance and performances.

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The guest list was power packed. To begin with India’s  power and coal minister, Mr. Piyush Goyal charged up the audience by assuring that the power crisis would have a solution soon. His outspoken nature and confident attitude was amazing. His image revamp advises to Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal were on the mark absolutely. His consulting background made him sound an intellectual politician. Taking forward the government’s thought process he urged the youth to join http://www.mygov.in to be a part of nation’s growth. Personally I liked this well-read, energetic and inspiring minister. Honestly, I am not very fond of politics but I am sure smart and promising ministers of such kinds will very soon get the nation’s youth take interest in politics.

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Soon walked in the Ishqzaada boy Arjun Kapoor. He looked charming and handsome. It sounded unbelievable when he said that he was 140 kg a few years ago. And he said that now flaunting his six packs on a magazine cover page was no less than a proud moment for him. Keeping his talk full of enthusiasm and entertainment he talked out his new film ‘Finding Fanny’.

 

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UNICEF: Let’s unite for children

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“At 33, I wanna go back to school.”

“The girls in school in Rajasthan said they loved coming here every morning and were happy in their school. They also said they felt protected. I was happy to know that the school had a girls toilet too.”

“When I was young, I was not keen on school because I did not like going there. Being an average student, the teachers did not pamper me and thus school did not attract me. It is important to be heard and feel loved in school”

“There is nothing to do with bollywood here, I am associated with UNICEF because as a girl I connect and feel for the cause from my heart.”

All the above were said by Bollywood heartthrob and UNICEF celebrity advocate Kareena Kapoor at the launch of CFSS at India Habitat Center, New Delhi.

 

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Child-friendly Schools and Systems (CFSS), a new package (guidelines) was launched by UNICEF on 4th September 2014 in New Delhi by celebrity advocate Kareena Kapoor. On the eve of teacher’s day it was a well chosen day to commence a new effort for bringing a positive transformation in the school environment. This one not just talks about education in schools but about its quality. The proposal is beautiful because it aims to bring a dynamic change in the teaching pattern as well as school environment so that a child makes the most of its time when he or she is there. Its time the government schools build up a reputation.

 

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The RTE Act was passed in 2009 and it has been a wonderful initiative which entitles children aged between 6-14 years to learning and education. The enrollments did increase but the quality of education taken in by children is still poor. Parents were not keen on sending their children to schools because they were not learning. Children do no like schools because they are not happy there, the learning environment is not cheerful. Thus, we take a lesson that education is not just about enrolling to schools but also getting groomed positively. The new concept of CFSS is about child-friendly schools and systems which has some successful stories as to how the focus of schools and teachers should be on the overall personality development of the children. A perceived average student is not always average but he has to be heard. The teachers have to be trained methodically and they should know how to encourage such students to perform better in other things.

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Here is the fun of having a Tablet!

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Book, Tablet, Dell, Venue 7
I love the combo… A thriller Book and my DELL VENUE 7

 

 

Tablet!

 

I aren’t talking about the colorful pills that are our saving grace in times of immunity fights but the device that has come to add power to the gizmo world. The discussions are on and people are debating where does it fall and what will it replace. But I have a whole new perspective to add, a tablet is born to provide convenience to our eyes and our arms. I say eyes because for reading and writing, tablet is absolutely comforting in comparison to our phones and in case of bulkiness its a relief over the laptop which cannot be carried everywhere. Moreover, a tablet is empowered to do most of the things that a phone and a laptop do for us. However, its not about having one and not the other, its the age of having all the devices.. watsay!!!

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Reading and Flaunting some Awesome BOOKS this month!

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Some LOVELY Books have arrive this Week..
Some LOVELY Books have arrived this Week..
A Song For The Dying by Stuart MacBride
A Song For The Dying by Stuart MacBride
Ashwin Sanghi, James Patterson, Thriller, Private India
Private India by ASHWIN SANGHI & JAMES PATTERSON
Jpeg
FASTER Than LIGHTNING USAIN BOLT
INVISIBLE by James Patterson
INVISIBLE by James Patterson

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Sweet Little Room for the Cute one

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2nd September is my niece’s first birthday and we are all very excited. She has been a bundle of joy for all these months. We love to kiss her, cuddle her, pamper her and more and now its time when she will move from the club set of months to an ‘Year old Gurl’. Wow!  We are all so anxious to see her crawl, walk and then run around but there is time to all of it. I am just rushing into things..

Her birthday is a big day for all for us. We have been planning a number of things for her, the birthday dress, the party theme, gifts, guests and lots more. Of course she is the apple of the eye of her parents but she isn’t less for me. She is adorable. I so love to play with her and watch her antics.

When everyone is planning to buy lavish gifts for her, I wish to do something different. I want to decorate her room in the most adorable fashion. Now that the little one is growing, there is so much that catches her fancy. She looks here and there all the time and is attracted to bright colors more than others. How about giving her a beautiful palette of colors and patterns all around her?

I want to decorate a beautiful thematic room for her and I have come to know about Make my Home, a decor website just at the right time.  I have delicately selected three items which symbolize Fun, Family and Femininity for my girl of one!

 

Smiley Clock , Baby Room,
Smiley Clock that inspires her to SMILE always.

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I was wowed by the Iron Lady, The Eiffel Tower

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Paris for me had always been about two beautiful things- ‘Eiffel Tower and Romantic City’.

I was introduced to it for the first time by my G.K. teacher in school when she had asked the class to do a project on 7 wonders of the world. I remember we asked her if she had been to any of these places and she had proudly said Taj Mahal in India and Eiffel Tower in France.  Gradually when I grew up and learnt more about the fascinating things to see around the world, I often heard about Eiffel Tower. This architectural icon has always had a global admiration and has stood the test of time.

In Sweden, when hubby said he wanted to take me to Paris, I couldn’t believe my ears. I double checked and soon realized he was serious. Of course I was jumping with joy, my happiness knew no bounds!!!!  Some very beautiful things in life happen when you have never schemed them. They drop in your lap as God’s blessing. My visit to Europe, Paris and many other places is one such thing.

In Paris, there is no escape from Eiffel Tower and I was totally excited about seeing it real. Eiffel was my first tryst with something really superlative tall and one that had been known as the tallest monument till 1930. For four decades it ruled as the tallest.

Even now when I have visited the top of Kingdom Centre (100 Floor building in Riyadh) and Burj Khalifa in Dubai, my fascination for Eiffel hasn’t reduced.

As Eiffel Tower turned 125 years old this year, I am dedicating this blogpost about my date with it.

Eiffel Tower, Iron Lady, Paris, Farnce, Travel, Europe
My First and Closest Encounter with Eiffel Tower
Paris has one of the world’s best rail network and connects the city end to end. There are two close metro stations to Eiffel Tower. In my 4 days stay in Paris, I dedicated two evenings to Eiffel  tower. The two metro stations closest to it are Champ de Mars / Tour Eiffel on line RER C and other closest metro station is Bir-Hakeim.  And then there is a 500 meter walk that separates you from the stunning iron clad lady.

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My heart goes to Oslo again and again

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Oslo, Norway
Vigeland Park
Oslo city, shopping centre, Norway, Travel
I spent a lot of Norwegian Kronas shopping around in here

The memories are still fresh. I was seriously unhappy as I couldn’t be with my hubby on our first anniversary. He was far away in Norway, the beautiful one, the land of Midnight sun and I was in India.

The Norwegian Embassy had put my visa application on hold (even though I had had a Schenegan stamp before). I was mad at everyone but I continued to pray. The people at the embassy invited me face to face to know my story. From their side the reason of hold was that  I had no marriage registration certificate to prove that I was actually going to join my hubby there. Since I had all other details, I requested them on this part. A lady heard me attentively in the small room at the embassy. It seemed she wanted to help me.

But I was surprised when she also said, Oslo isn’t like Zurich, it isn’t a tourist place, why do you want to go for 25 days. Its too long a period.

I replied back, ‘I want to be with my husband and by the way the Google shows Oslo is amazingly beautiful.’ Let me go and see myself.

She smiled.  I waited with fingers crossed.

Next thing that I had read about Oslo was…. ‘Its drains your wallet.’  Expensive it is !!!!

After three days, the passport returned to me with the approved stamp. The lonely anniversary was done away with, good times were ahead. Very next day I was on the flight, flying to Oslo by Finnair. The stopover at Finland came to be familiar and easy going since it was my second time there in five months.

Thereafter, the next twenty five days I lived in a dreamland…It was close to meditation.

The glorious landscapes of the Oslo Fjord,  sprawling northern forests, architectural fantasies, unique Frogner Park, Museums, Scream painting and Holmenkollen amazed me thoroughly.

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Book Review: Catching The Departed

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wpid-p_20140803_235533.jpg

 

I finished the book in 3 days snuggling with it everyday after office hours and house chores.  It is a brave man’s story.  The storyline is spaced out with thrilling twists and turns every now and then.  You would want to read it till the end to put the bits together. The first murder knocks right in the first two pages.

 

STORY from my eyes…

The cold blooded murder of the lawyer at Rewari, a hamlet close to New Delhi gripped me right at the outset. Next I took an immediate fondness for Andy Karan, an investigative journalist who is bold, courageous and absolutely sincere about his work. When Andy visits  Delhi-Haryana border and is brushed aside violently, one can sense that  the ploy around the place isn’t just a newspaper story but a dangerous play of minds. Soon it all comes tumbling out. The Army Intelligence Bureau, the terrorists, the magazine that he works for and the government all have been eying it. There is a foul play  in Tilkapur for sure!

Gulabo, the wife of the lawyer and the undercover officer Dewanchand come to be of help to Andy but soon the plot thickens as the miscreants go packing from Rewari. Yes, the big plan shifts its base to Mumbai and it becomes violently dangerous. By this time, Andy realizes his love for his boss Monica and thus wishes for a settled and safe life. For one moment he does decide to re-track from the case (working as a special agent since he is an ex army man) but something in him holds him back.

South Block, Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi and Murud Janjira in Mumbai were words picked from Tilakpur and when all put together meant something big and creepy.  The run of things and his patriotic feelings soon take Andy Karan to Mumbai where he is attacked at every nook and corner till he has a narrow escape with death and is declared dead in the eyes of the world.  The bad man happily rejoices and laughs at the culmination of the worst in his mind. He thinks he would have his way and there is no stopping.

Things becomes murkier at the enemy front. One by one, everyone is put to death…even Andy’s love life goes for a toss forever.  Andy gears up to unmask the miscreants but the enemy is unstoppable.  Read to know who wins and how.

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Beautiful Food traverses from Eyes to Mouth to Stomach

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                     Temptations… Tantalization… Tasty… Taste Buds..

Cake in Borosil Serving bowls

 

 

Kachoris, Jackfruit, Katahal

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Love Kills

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A hardcore romantic person like me absolutely agrees that ‘Love does Kill’ but then it isn’t my story yet. This one is a crime thriller written by ISMITA TANDON

I have read and stood by Ismita’s work right from her first offering ‘Love on the Rocks’.  I remember meeting her in the first book launch at IHC, New Delhi. In person she came out to be absolutely warm and friendly and so she has been forever.  Her first work was naive, unique and promising. When the second one ‘Jacob Hills’  happened,  she emerged as a writer to be taken seriously. Her uniqueness stands out in her work as she always provides unique voices to her characters in the story and glorifies them with caricatures. And amidst the thrillers that she writes, she never misses to touch upon many aspects of life between the lines.

Her third book and the most recent one from her creative bag is ‘Love Kills’. This one is the best from her till date. It elevates her to a new pedestal for sure.

Love Kills, Book review, Ismita Tandon

COVER PAGE and the BLURB

The sketch of the girl who has been murdered aptly qualifies as an eye-catching cover page. Dominance of red color makes for love, passion and murder.  I bet the taut blurb will get you going almost instantly. Lets move on…

GIST

It all happens in the place called Monele, in proximity to Ooty.  The protagonist, Johnny Will has a lethal combination of  a master’s degree in psychiatry and a high IQ.  He runs a de-addiction center called Thy Will. The rehab is in the being so that he can help the people get over their lust for alcohol. He desires to revive their senses to judge right and wrong. Johnny knows how alcohol can be dangerous, he had seen his alcoholic father die mysteriously.  He has a girlfriend Mira Kermani, who is a woman of not just games and sex. And more she is a character no less as she happens to be the daughter of the richest man in the town.  More than one in the hill station is not happy with the love birds. Johnny has a family too in the form of Aunt Adele Will and his cousin Zac.  They have been family but Johnny isn’t close to them. Are they happy with their share in the ancestral property or they want more…?

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#WhattheBlack Day 2+Day 3 thrill and the solution of the Mysterious case

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Day 2 of #WhattheBlack was hugely exciting… An interesting black colored newspaper was delivered at our doorstep with clues all over.  Black sheets of paper had prints in white…It was fun and intriguing to the core and nonetheless we all donned our Sherlock Homles hats looking for friends in the form of Watson on twiiter and facebooks.

There was news about black balls…

The White tissue papers having turned black…

The poultry farmers spotting black egg

Day 6 of test match was a black day…

 

Reading the newspaper came out to be exciting and fun. My guesses were based on the fact that everything that usually exists as white was turning black…

It had to be something that we had always seen as white…. Was it Milk? No it wasn’t possible until it was some black coffee or  a black drink…

 

#WHATTHEBLACK Day 2

 

What the Black Day 2

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The Skyscanning adventure of Uncle Scrooge McDuck and I (his nephew)

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Uncle Scrooge, Mc duck, Money
STINGY UNCLE SCROOGE

My brothers and I started living with Uncle Scrooge when Papa joined the Navy and Mumma went along with him. 

Our Uncle happens to be a very rich duck and extremely particular of the ways that he spends his money.  Though he is the richest member of The Billionaires Club of Duckburg, he often says that his money is “just petty cash” so that we wouldn’t assume that his money is for mere enjoyment and fun. There are many stories about Uncle McDuck that he loves diving, swimming, resting over the coins accumulated by him over the years and I can vouch for them.

 

Nephews
Huey (I) , Dewey, Louie

 

 

 

In the picture in the left, its me with my brothers. We leave no stone unturned in driving our dear Uncle mad. Before we go on our next mis-adventure I must introduce you to my brothers.  On the leftmost, I am Huey and I am fond of red.  My brothers Dewey can be seen sporting a blue dress and Louie is all about green.  On the other times, when we love to look identical, we go for black. 

 

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#WHATTHEBLACK: The Mystery begins @Day 1

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Blogadda has come up with a cute, little, mysterious activity thats called #WHATTHEBLACK and it is fondly trending on twitter.

On Day 1, when I reached home in the evening after a long day at work, a small rectangular box with a cute ribbon on the top was waiting for me to be unwrapped.  My Mother-in-law who had received the courier in the day was all curious to know what was it all about. When I explained her the blogging activity, it made her curious too.  She told me that the delivery boy had said it has an egg inside. Together we opened it to pack-unpack and add on to the mystery.

Yes!!! we did find a egg that wasn’t white or yellow but BLACK.. So the mystery remains, whats it thats turning everything black.. Help me decode folks.

When we broke the shell, popped out a brown chocolate.. so now the question is it about Black or Brown? Ofcourse its black because its called #WHATTHEBLACK? Mom in law is equally intrigued and she is also enjoying playing the guessing game with me.

 

PICTURES FROM THE FIRST DAY

 #WHATTHEBLACK

#WHATTHEBLACK

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Beautiful Bits of Goa captured with Dell Venue 7

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My readers are aware of the fact that I have a DELL VENUE 7 given by DELL to use and explore the features.  Since I have never owned a tablet before, this is my first one and it happens to be special.  I love using it for blogging purposes and never forget to tag it along when I go for blogging meets. This time we get to see how it can capture pictures when the phone and camera go sleeping…

The WEEKEND (26-27th July) thats just passed by was nothing less than a MAGICAL one.

 I was invited to a special blogging meet in Goa organized by +Blogadda and +TataMotors.  50 Top bloggers were flown in from different parts of the country to test drive the new car ‘TATA ZEST’.  The experience was splendid and not to mention the place chosen by them by far was the best to celebrate Blogging and Technology. Yes!!! It was GOA. I returned to GOA after 23 years so it was as good as new to me.  With just 30 hours at our disposal and a hectic schedule of ‘power packed exciting things to do’, there wasn’t much time to unite with Nature but we did squeeze in time to be near the waters when the sun changed colors and chose to dive deep in the waters.

As a blogger its a crime to let the moment pass without capturing it safely in the pixels. After all, everything must be flaunted later on the blog.  This time I traveled loaded with technology more than clothes.  I had a laptop, a phone, NIKON D3100 camera as well as my DELL VENUE 7 tablet. Due to constant activities happening in and around and camera working non stop, mobile gone dead already, by the time I reached the beach of the Zuri Resorts, the battery of my camera was exhausted. Thus what came to my rescue was my sweet, adorable Tablet and I must appreciate that it helped me savor the moments tastefully.

The below pictures were captured by my DELL VENUE 7

GOA

Goa, Blogging Meet, Dell Venue 7, Indigo Flight
From inside the Plane

 

Goa, Before the Landing
From the Top, the first look of Goa

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Nationwide Launch of Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight

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On the occasion of ORS day today, I chose to write this article today.

 

Yesterday on 28th July 2014, I attended ‘Nationwide Launch of Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight Programme’, an event that aimed to galvanize a social movement towards Health and it was themed around Diarhhoea. The event took place at Jacaranda, Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi. I am grateful to UNICEF for extending an invitation to me.

The event was flagged off by Honorable Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan.  Other key members were Secretary Shri Lov Verma, Director General Health Services-Dr. Jagdish Prasad, Dr. Rakesh Kumar, Prof. Mahuram Santosham,  Unicef Representative to India- Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault  and WHO representative- Dr. Nata Menabde.

A national campaign has been launched to fight diarrhoea- the third deadliest illness for children.

Diarrhoea, Health, Under Five Children
Diarrhoea, Health, Under Five Children

I learnt some shocking numbers there. Out of 6.6 million children that die globally, 1.36 million children die in India. The number of deaths caused by diarrhoea every year is equally very alarming for the country. 29% deaths are caused due to diarrhoea. Over 2 lakh children under the age of five die due to it. Of the five countries that lose large number of their children due to diarrhoea, India leads before Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Ethiopia.  Basically its 564 diarrhoeal deaths taking place every day, almost like a jumbo jet crashing every day under our nose.

Everyone present in the room had the same thought that the need of the hour is to fight this killer disease on war footing. This Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight is being celebrated from 28th July to 8th August to create mass awareness about most effective and low cost diarrhoea treatment. In the two weeks, home visits will be done by ASHA workers to distribute ORS + Zinc packets. The best practice is to use a combination of Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) solution and Zinc tablets.

Honestly, I was aware of the ORS solution but I came to know about Zinc only yesterday.

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After the ZEST-FUL ride…

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If you have read my last post, you would already know that I am in Goa and what I am upto at this moment… yes I am all set to TALK about the CAR that I have just driven… in the green and brown lanes of GOA… And the credit for this experience goes to TATA MOTORS and Blogadda for organizing a blogging meet of 50 bloggers of India to give them a taste of their product. Yes! this proves that TATA is very sure and confident of their product. They have come out with 29 first in class.

 My piece of the Zestabulous, Zexiting and Zesty experience!!!

 

THE MODEL OF TATA ZEST
THE MODEL OF TATA ZEST

 

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My piece of the Zestabulous, Zexiting and Zesty experience!!!

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  3 Special Things that Happened this Weekend….

 

       I flew to GOA to attend a blogging meet (all expense paid trip)

       Met the fastest Indian, Narain Kartikayen

       Drove the car thats yet to hit the market… TATA ZEST     :) :) :)

 

 

WEEKEND IN GOA, DRIVING ZEST
WEEKEND IN GOA, DRIVING ZEST

 

 

Formula One Racer
Met Narain Kartikayen

 

 

 

TATA ZEST
TATA ZEST

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Manhattan Mango

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Had a great time with this one last week.

Who wouldn’t love to rejoice the nostalgic days of friendship when it’s relived through pacy, spicy and entertaining chapters? The characters and their idiosyncrasies are well etched and believable while the storyline brews fun at every page of the book. The writing style of the author stands witty, stylish and engaging. Madhuri Iyer aptly succeeds in connecting with her readers. I would say the chic-lit packs a punch because it is themed around much loved aspects of life- Fun, Freedom and Friendship.

 

The complete review is published at WRITERSMELON

Book review, Madhuri Iyer, Writersmelon

Happy Reading!!!

For Zest! Be Zest! Live Zest!

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FIVE THINGS THAT ZEST UP MY LIFE!!!

ZEST is not just a gesture,
It is strength of life,
Friends, Peers, Groups, Team acts,
Add to my positivity.
Enjoying at the Cricket stadium or rocking at the bloggers meet,
Be it at the Club or outside the road,
Friendship rocks for me,
And they who make it add ZEST in my life.

Friends, Fun, excitement, Zest

BOOKS are the real source of ZEST in my life,
I extract a joyful energy from reading them,
Not a day without them,
I wish I had the time to read all the wonderful books on the Earth,
And more I want a lavish library of my own,
Yes! I wouldn’t stop to dream and be there one day,
What fun it would be to have in there a book written by me,
ZEST is about aiming to achieve that which seems unattainable.

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Hi5 Black Beauties

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Indeed BLACK is beautiful!

My fascination for ‘Black’ and its prowess isn’t nascent rather it dates back to my childhood days when my Dad gifted me an awesome book called BLACK BEAUTY by Anna Sewell. The horse’s story set in the Victorian England, made an indelible impression on my heart. At the age of nine, I fell in love with a horse that was fictional.  Since then, horse riding classes became my favorite and the desire to own a feisty, handsome, well bred, black horse (similar to the one that was created out of author’s imagination) was never lost.

So the first and fascinating living thing that I desire is a BLACK horse.

Black Beauty, What the Black, Beautiful Black,
I wanna pet this Handsome, fiery Black Horse, inspired by ‘BLACK BEAUTY’

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JIFI is Here, Lets go banking on Twitter and Facebook!

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Yes, we live in the age where many of us just love to talk to the unknown millions in nanoseconds. We are impatient and we want it all fast and hassle free. We live in the Face book and Twitter age.

Its been making rounds now that if you aren’t tweeting, updating status, clicking pictures, reading feeds, following buzz, instagram-ing, sharing blogs, you are just as old and unpopular as the dinosaur.  Who had thought that we would read a statement like this and agree with it some day?  The truth is social media has dug its significant position in our lives and we love it more than we loathe it.

Several brands around different industries have hunted down ways to make the best use of social media. They have learnt the trends, adapted to the change and are doing the best to be in the competition. Financial sector is pulling up its socks too. I spent my Saturday exploring and enjoying a fully-integrated t, an initiative by KOTAK MAHINDRA.

Lets do a questionnaire around BANKING and SOCIAL MEDIA before I talk more on my experience.

  • Do you feel banking is boring and it isn’t customer friendly?
  • How excited will you be if your bank adopted social media and you could go banking with your friends?
  • Will you prefer using a social media channel over a phone call to solve a problem with your bank?
  • Do you mind sharing financial products and services updates through your bank’s face book and twitter accounts?
  • Do you wish to invite friends and followers to have a account in the same bank as yours?

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‘Journey to Zen Life begins’ says ASUS at the India Launch

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Finance Minister presented his budget on 10th July however, Asus gave us a reason to smile a day before, i.e. on 9th July when it launched its performance driven and pocket friendly Zen phones for the Indian consumers.

Asus Indiblogger Meet
Asus Indiblogger Meet

In search of the Incredible…

Yet again, it was an Indiblogger Meet, the get-togethers where we bloggers meet, greet and rejoice.  This time the sponsors/organizers were Asus and the theme was the much awaited India launch of ZenFone Series and Fonepad 7.  In the first half it was the press release and post lunch it was an exclusive bloggers meet.  The  CEO, Product Manager, Design Manager, Vice President of Asustek Computer- better known as Asus along with the Intel  Sales people were available for the D day.  They all rocked with enthusiasm. It was a big day for them, unveiling a new smartphone series before the great Indian market.

 

Asus, Zenphones, Mobile Launch, Pragati maidan
Asus India Launch at Pragati Maidan


I clicked the above picture at the entrance, outside the Halls 7D, 7E at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi where the event was planned.  The tagline ‘journey to Zen life’ looked appealing.  And the gate too was impressive. (below picture)

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World’s first online shop-able fashion week

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Fashion, Talent-hunt, Creativity, Launch Pad, Grooming, Mentor ship, Shopping…. All in one platter.

Wow!

Jabong, the fashion portal along with  Talenthouse India has come up with a totally unique concept of Online Fashion week (IOFW). If you belong to the esteemed list of designers, models, makeup artists, fashion photographers and hair stylists this one is just for you. Yes, its a talent hunt where fashion passionate will get a chance to showcase their creations and come in direct contact with fashion influencers.  In the times when the world is going net crazy and social media is crackling every moment, a complete online  fashion show for the first time comes like a cherry on the cake.

INDIA ONLINE FASHION WEEK   25th- 30th July, 2014

http://iofw.com/

 Jabong, Fashion, Online Fashion Week, Shop-Able

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Not Just an Ordinary Phone but the one with a Healing Camera.

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Superpower

The child on the road was in pain,

She cried,

Her mother was poor to pay for medicines,

I went near her and attracted the baby to my jazzy phone,

The child’s eyes gleamed,

I clicked a picture of her in my phone,

The people around thought I was nuts,

The magical power took its course,

In few minutes,  the child was all happy and healed.

Yes! My phone had a Super Power.

It could check for hidden illness,

And it had a healing camera too.

There is abundance of illness around us. The realization is always there but we are all so stuck up in our everyday mundane lives that we hardly stop to notice until a close one undergoes a suffering. How I wish there was no illness or I had a magical wand to absorb all pains!

Last week our family spent endless hours in hospital. It wasn’t me but my niece who was hospitalized for 7 days. Our ten months old, bundle of joy had suddenly taken ill and was admitted in PICU (pediatric intensive care unit).  It was really tough to see her go through the harsh medications. We all felt helpless and her parents were inconsolable. But now thanks to the doctor that she is back home hale and hearty however, the scary memories of the hospital are not gone from my mind. And my wish for a super-power has become more strong and dire.

Babies are so special. Our little one too is a beautiful sweetheart and we all love to hear her chuckling all day. But in the hospital she lay pale and exhausted under the impact of bacterial infection. Her smiles and laughter were gone. She was in great pain however we couldn’t do anything and the medication took its own sweet course to heal up the child. For the initial three days, her condition was not under control. We cried, we would look at her pictures and videos in the phone to console ourselves that things were fine and would soon be better. It was tough! That was the moment when the idea struck me wish the phone holding the picture could heal up the baby too and make her sit cheerfully upright. And that would be named, The Doctor Phone.

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O dear, Sultanate of Oman!

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When the blogging contest at Indiblogger read that you could have your wish and unique experiences in ‘Sultanate of Oman’ I was evoked with exoticism (the charm of the unfamiliar). Next thing I did I called up my friend Eva Bhargava who had visited Muscat (capital of Oman) last year. I could sense squeaky delight and nostalgic tinkle in her voice when she revisited her experiences. I was awed just at the mention of words like eye-arresting wadis, sands and desert, sapphire blue water, dhow cruise, waterfalls, lakes, mountains, caves, wildlife and lush green vegetation. The conversation was fulfilling and a great learning experience for me. I couldn’t thank her more for sharing lots of information and gorgeous pictures of her trip to Oman.

Oman trip
My friend Eva Bhargava in Muscat
Bhargava Family in Wahiba Sands
Bhargava Family

The idea of hearing about a place, virtually exploring it through experiences of others, reading about it and then lusting to see it in real makes me no less than a passionate traveler. Also, having been enamored by the opulence and rustic beauty of Middle East in my visits to Dubai and Riyadh, I hear this one is unique and different. Its king and religion practice tolerance and thus what impresses me is that Muscat has a Shiva temple, Krishna temple and Paul Catholic Church along with the majestic Grand Mosque (quite interesting indeed). Unlike Riyadh, women here drive cars and one third of civil servants are women.  (Applaud)

More, the pictures and video below do shout out loud that Oman is outrageously spectacular and stupendously beautiful!

Muscat Palace
Muscat Palace

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Shopping time for Madam Ji

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A young foreigner lady married an Indian man and came to India, lived here forever.  In young age, she loved wearing Western outfits – long skirts and dresses, buying shahtoosh shawls and indulging in shopping sprees. But later due to political changes in her surroundings she took to Indian-nized dressing.

So Madamji as she is fondly called has really been busy in controlling, overpowering a party from outside as she puts it, until it all crumbled last month. The clan has been ousted sadly with poor numbers. However, Madamji is not to be blamed entirely, she has been shouldering a great responsibility at the expense of her leisures. The little birdie tells me that now that the plundering and looting is all done and not much is left to do nowadays she has been getting bored. She has not been keeping well too. The doctors have advised her to be happy and leave the political woes. She decides to return to her old love of shopping.

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I Sincerely love Tasty and Beautiful Food

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 “There is no love sincerer than the love of food,”

George Bernard Shaw

 

A year in the country that was not mine,
I had missed both home-cooked and luxurious Indian cuisine.
Aaah!!! The tantalizing aroma and the savoring flavor,
My taste buds wished for morsel of food which had mumma’s spices and labor.
On the way back home, there were thoughts of many,
But what ruled my mind was Family, Friends and Food nothing-less-than yummy.

 

Happy, cheerful faces greeted me delectably, delightfully,
I was elated, dog-tired and hungry, yours truly.
The aroma from the dining table was mesmerizing, overpowering and apparent,
Real Indian food, assorted delicacies lay there in serving bowls crystal clear, pristine and transparent.
Tomatoes, olives, onions, cucumber, carrots made an interesting salad mixture,
Boiled corns shone bright and yellow through transparent vessel in lashings of buttery texture.

 

My favorite Kadhai Paneer adorned with cottage cheese and green peas,
And spicy Chicken Curry with the rising aroma looked like a feast to my eyes.
The tamarind, chili, mint chutney got my nose running even before it reached my lip,
Boiled eggs arranged atop fragrant fried rice called to be mopped with the last bit of curry on plate tip,
To put my storming hunger pangs at rest,
Mom had spread a neat and beautiful dinnerware which complemented her culinary skills at best.

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Friday PARTY and its Deck Up Plans

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Decor, Friday, Blogging contest, Winner, Fun

 

 

Party, Invitations, Fabfurnish, CupHey come again M!   (Noops couldn’t control her excitement, I could feel the vibes coming from kilometers away.)

What?

I heard something like Parttyyyy@House. I wanna freeze the deal now over the phone…. said Noops

Oh yes! Dear I did say that. Keep yourself free next Friday when you are in the capital and tell the ‘Hyper Gang’ too. I leave it on you to bring them all.

Really? Freaking fun it would be. We have been waiting for this invitation darling, I will spread the word sweets. None would want to miss this one. Its been ages since we have shared cuppas.

Yes, it had been due long time though 3 of us from the college gang lived in NCR yet the get-togethers had become forgotten. I felt heavy as I disconnected the call. But I was happy too, it would happen soon.

Marriage, new role, new people in the house, demanding job, writing and the rut of everyday life hardly gives us time to catch up with school and college friends. I miss them, the lovely souls for sure. The feeling never dies that they are a call away but meeting them personally hardly happens. So this time since Rays is coming to Delhi from Bangalore, I have planned a party at my house, the first one ever where I will be proudly donning the Host’s hat. I just can’t wait to see them. Gossips, laughs and the lengthy conversations would simply follow. There is plenty to be done and I am truly excited.

The word ‘Party’ tags along three additional P’s Preparation, Planning and Pleasures. The gang of five of us is to meet after years and the chit-chat over the table is bound to go on for hours. From the food-spread to stylish touch to the house to the flower arrangement there are many creative tunes playing in my mind. I wish I could implement it all with a magical spell.

I know its gonna be tedious but soon a smug smile returns on my face. This gives me the right reason to restyle the house that needs a makeover big time. There is a week to go and thus I can plan it all meticulously and buy some oh- la- la decorative furnishings. Giving a beautiful feel to the house and adding a dash of style is my idea of the evening.  I want to please my friends, make them comfortable, make them gorge to the full and of course surprise them that a tomboy like me has turned into a  glorious home maker.

So here I begin to collate my selective choices, wish-list and key things to consider before the D day.

WALLS

I want to cheer up the sad walls of my house with wall stickers which are in vogue. These floral or wordy themes look damn pretty and will definitely enhance the look of the room perfectly. A design chosen in complement with the color of the wall paint would be a great choice. I love them all, will pick two of them.

Wall, stickers, Themes, Floral decorations
Peppy and Vibrant Wall Decor

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Flaunting my DELL VENUE 7

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TABLET

In this showbiz world, who doesn’t love to flaunt. Till its harmless, I just don’t mind.

So until now it was juts new clothes, books, accessories but now the  smartphones, tablets, laptops have added a zing to the fashion world. The slimest phone you carry or the cutting edge technology thats on your gizmo is the new X-factor. What have you been downloading or sharing is the new  conversation of gen C. So, I must declare I am cool too. Certainly, it isn’t about vanity but joy and happiness that makes me want to talk about my newly acquired gadget. Yes, in my last post I did tell you the story of my old mobile phone and new tablet.  Smartphone or Tablet? Confused…

See above, isn’t it beautiful? I love its big screen where I can arrange all my favorite apps at one place.  It boasts of Android 4.2.2 operating system and I am having a time of life exploring it, playing around with it.  The play-store is one point to get everything on the floor. So now my days are quite busy and technologically rich too. Indeed, its full doze of entertainment on-the-go. Its been acting as my perfect travel companion occupying a small space in my handy bag.

 

Peep into my applications and games. A 16GB of inbuilt storage is enough as of now.

INSTAGRAM  is the new thing for me. I am yet exploring it but BUZZFEED is cool.

Applications on myTablet

                       WordPress notifications are just a tap away and I can blog, keep an update on the reader, comment just any where.

As a blogger, what do I need more? Its so convenient to make notes, list down ideas and come back to them later. QWERTY keypad definitely makes it all lot easier and comfortable.

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My Favorite clicks of The Dubai Mall

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I love writing about Dubai, the reason is since my trip there I have developed an affinity for the place. I felt it was clean, friendly, safe and buzzed with positive energy. Also, what I liked about it is its newness, the youthfulness in its looks and the luxury that it proudly offers. The Arabs have always been there and the deserts have had their own enigma but this city has not been satiated just with what it had. It has made its presence felt on the global map by bringing in all that it could from the countries round the world and has been reborn to shine brightly. In Dubai, right from the airport, the metro, the roads, malls in there, everything boasts of state-of-the-art technology.

Its just been six months that I had a 8 days lovely trip exploring its beauty and magnificence and now I wanna go back again. The Malls, Desert Safari, Jumeriah Beach, Burj Khalifa, Ski Dubai, Palms, Ibn Battuta are still afresh in my mind. If given a chance I would want to go there to write, find work or just explore more about it. Old parts of it, creek, fishing and the souks are some of the things that have a deep history and must be explored intricately in detail. In my first visit I couldn’t do much except read a few books about Dubai’s growth.

However, I also felt that Dubai is hugely expensive and is doing more and more to attract the rich.  I am sure the expats there are working hard and making the most of it. Its a place which has only 18% Emiratis and rest people from other countries as its citizens.  A positive implication of it is conglomeration of cultures

Dubai is on a spree of expanding and growing. I am sure when I visit it again, there would be many more accomplishments added to its cap.  Of course the EXPO 20 20 is the big thing thats coming up. For now, I just wanna relive the memories and the pictures that I carried back home.

If you wanna explore the real luxury of Dubai, start from The DUBAI MALL, the largest mall ( someone estimated it as 50 football pitches) in the city which gets a huge footfall in the year  falling in the league of Niagara Falls. It houses more than 1200 outlets and has lavishness inscribed to its name. Its easy to reach via Metro. Its just endless with stairs, escalators, lifts, passage, alleys, souks, shops, lanes etc. You have absolutely lots to do in there. All great brands can be explored at one place and when you see people shopping, it gives an idea about the fondness they have towards filling shopping bags. The Aquarium and the Ice skating add to its charm. And the best its the closest to the tallest building in the world. Yes, Burj Khalifa is just there connected to the mall. The Fountain Dance in the evening is a beauty and one of the things not to be missed in any case.  One can also plan a visit to the top of the Burj Khalifa and it happens via lowest floor in the mall.

And now its time to showcase my clicks that I did on my first visit to the Dubai Mall.

 

Dubai Mall, The first Click of the Lampshade which changed colors.
Dubai Mall, The first Click of the Huge Lampshade which changed colors.

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My love for Switzerland

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Zurich Airport

I can bet on this that every Indian girl who has seen Bollywood blockbuster Dilwala Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and has romanced, has definitely lusted to go to Zurich with the loved one.  In fact huge hugs to makers of the movie who made us Indians fall in love with Europe. And thus bollywood rocks at the highest point in Europe. Yes, it does on the top of Europe you have a bollywood restaurant which showcases huge posters of Sharukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Hritik Roshan and others.

Well when I had seen the movie, apart from drooling over King Khan, honestly, I had said a small prayer too and it happened pretty soon for me. It wasn’t even a honeymoon trip but just a travel that happened when I visited my husband in Sweden and he planned a surprise trip for me. I was super excited to be there.  So after exploring Paris, we headed to Zurich.

If you are visiting Europe, Switzerland deserves a place in the itinerary absolutely.  Though everyone has their own things to lust for when it comes to traveling, I can give you reasons too many not to give this one a miss. And believe me its gonna be a memory close to your heart forever. I fell in love with the first view itself. The blue lake,  perfectly cut fields, few houses amidst the lavish and real green environment. The country is blessed with true colors of nature.

From the flight window
The first view of Switzerland

Lets start the countdown to make it irresistible.

The castle shaped buildings, quaint cobblestone streets, rose gardens, lovely lakeside views of Zurich lake, the mountain journey to the snow, world’s steepest modern cogwheel train, Europe’s largest waterfall- Rhine Falls,  ice palace, mountain villages, the breath-taking high Alpine glacier world,  deep glacier crevasses, ultimate snow experience at Top of Europe , glacier chair-lifting at Titlis Glacier, Rotaair and more.

Zurich city in itself is spectacular with classical architecture and natural beauty to surround it.  On the first day we visited the National Museum to discover the history and culture. Later we strolled around Main Railway station, Bahnhofstrasse shopping avenue and Lake Zurich. It was difficult to stop oneself from clicking pictures and at the same time, all around it was magnificently beautiful.

Zurich city
Zurich city

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Sita’s Curse- The Language of Desire

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Most of the books that we read give us a blend of things. Most definitely, they offer us entertainment, pleasure, fun, drama, emotions churned in a story. Those which give us beyond them are not just books but more. Feelings, longings  and learnings from such books stay for long. So the latest one that I have read and has been the talk of book-town has made such impact. It speaks about erotica, sex, temptation, a woman’s desire. You said its a taboo in our society. Yes! we are not supposed to discuss about it, they say girls are not supposed to talk about it at all. Suppression rules in our society. But I love it when its defied.

Having wrapped it last week, I have chosen to review it now.  Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s book ‘Sita’s Curse- The Language of Desire’is the one that has revisited a woman’s sexual journey from a young girl to a fully grown up woman.

sitas-curse

Title:  We have all read and known Sita in the Ramayana’s version, this is a different take entirely but isn’t it the author’s way of questioning the curse that every woman has to live through. Sita’s curse is an intriguing title that leads to lot of curiosity. Quite a thoughtful title. And there is a connection more to it. To start off, the protagonist Meera was always made to play the role of Sita in school.

One Line: It is an attempt to define woman in a new avatar, her sexual being, her form that has always been there but suppressed, ignored, declared dead but now someone decides to break free…

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The Tablet Talk: Touch, Play and Experience

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Smartphone or Tablet? Confused…

Don ‘t be surprised if I tell you that I am one among the rare species who doesn’t own a smart phone. Do you say, ‘I am nuts’ ?

Well, the truth is I am still in love with my Nokia 5800 express music with a symbian interface.  Friends have told me umpteen times that it needs a change and have suggested their  favorites too but I have not given in yet. So probably you would have concluded by now that I don’t belong to the gizmo obsessed clan. However, its not so. I love to explore apps and I am a social media enthusiast. Honestly, as a blogger my needs are more that my present phone can meet. I often crib about the camera pixels, picture quality and the inability to install my favorite apps but then my reasons for not switching to a Samsung or Iphone has been their non-stop race to outdo one another and of course the soaring prices. Every month there is something new popping in the market. No offense to the developers but I kind of find it insane.

Its happened more than once now, by the time I was impressed with a colleague’s phone and was planning to go for it, he or she already declared that a new version of it was just round the corner.  Its not cutting edge technology but technology storm that has been in the air. In some way, its good but then it isn’t easy to shell out a huge sum of money every six months just to match the race of owning the best smart phone in the city.

Thus, I would say I am a laptop person. My work involves a lot of  web browsing, writing, blogging and thus I can’t really do much without it. A smart phone will never meet my requirements. I had been analyzing my needs and had been on a lookout for something that could be lightweight, easy to carry everywhere, have a large screen, could fill for the laptop for few hours and click pictures too. You got it right Tablets, the cute toy/tool in the market has caught my fascination for sometime now. I have been looking for all possible reasons to buy one and the Fairy Godmother had been listening. Lo and behold, one day comes a mail in the inbox which says I could have a DELL TABLET to use, play around and blog about it. Isn’t that cool? I was too elated to ask for more.

What could be better than this that I get a chance to use the product and then go for it.  I would definitely congratulate DELL for being so confident about their product and letting bloggers talk about it. So you can see down below the one that came knocking for me.

 

VENUE 7

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Opinion integrates us on STATE.com

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Yes! I love to speak my mind and I equally enjoy reading what others have to say about things, objects or people.  As humans we can’t really survive without conversations. Don’t we all relish the Likes, Retweets and favorites from friends and followers? We absolutely do. It gives us a high. It keeps us motivated.

Honestly, what led to my birth as a blogger was my love to give my opinions on subjects of my interest. It started with my reviews on books and an urge to connect with people who adored them too. And today, I know a lot of bookworms virtually. They are people from all parts of the country and a few beyond it too. Having a common liking, taste, opinion actually brought us together. STATE.com is ideate d from the same school of thoughts. It aims to build an opinion network for the world.  Through Blogadda, I got a chance to join this international platform, unique in its make.

In school and college it was Orkut for me.  Later orkut died down and the charm for Facebook continued with its new avatars and its ability to help us track lost friends from near and far.  Now, its no more exciting. Its the same people forever, the acquaintances and geographically connected people.  Twitter has been a breath of fresh air indeed.  It comes with no baggages. A hashtag brings people together either for or against the motion. And for the last one year I have been enjoying putting across my opinion in 140 words but there have been times when I have felt tweets restrictive in words. And also more than real connections, twitter has been more for the social media buffs and brand buzz. I  have had a desire to express more. State.com indeed comes to offer us proximity/closeness on the basis of thoughts and opinions.

THE EXPERIENCE SO FAR…

The combination of red and black comes easy and interesting to the eyes.  The interface is pretty and neat, absolutely free from hotch-potch.

My profile on STATE.

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Flipit, a new find!

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Talking about websites is not my core area of interest but I definitely love to share about my experiences that are useful and worth a talk. Just like traveling leads to unexplored paths, reading opens up new avenues, googl-ing on Google always brings up something interesting. I love the random searches on search engines. They never disappoint. In fact I love the abundance of data because it leads to many good thigs. Scouring the web and filtering the needful is all that we need to do.

Online shopping is in vogue absolutely. One escapes the scorching sun, rains and hailstorms too but never misses to shop at the click of the mouse. With the advent of great shopping partnerships and collaborations we all love deals and discounts, don’t we?

Are you sniffing discount? Come my way I have some great news!!!

Before clicking on the  buy button, I definitely hunt for online deals because they help to save more than a few penny here and there. In fact I have been successful in getting the best deals on my travels in different countries too. Earlier, it was tough to find them all but now in the age of social sites, blogs, websites, information all around, we are equipped with power. Before buying things, we must ensure to compare prices and grab the best deals.

Recently, E-commerce is doing rounds and competition is all around. I am sure we all agree it’s fun and easy to shop in the comfort of the cushioned chairs than in the maddening crowd.  And shopping has a wonderful charm to it if it’s accompanied with discounts and offers. Don’t we all love coupon codes and promotional freebies? Ofcourse we do!  As Indians we thrive and ride on money saving experiences.

Here is what I found out recently through random search, a site that lists down too many deals to help us save money. Flipit is the name. Anyone who has heard of it before or used it?

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Thank you Mumma!

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MUMMA… Mumma, U are Mine, Most Adorable one….

Mom, I thank you for giving birth to me, for loving me for what I am, for trusting me for my decisions, for encouraging me through my falls and laughing with me and making all my days so wonderful.

Mom, when I am away, I miss your morning fragrance, your tender touch, the cuddly hugs, fondly pecks, lovely caress, cozy laps and the warm sunshine smile!

Mom, I wish to tell you that you are most beautiful lady, you are the best cook, a wise woman and a great teacher who has played a great role in carving a better part of me.

Mom, I wonder how skillfully you balance us all, Daddy, me, the family, friends, relatives and still you never desire to weigh your sacrifices with anything in return.

Mom, there is not a day I spend without your thought because you are and will always be the sweetest and loveliest person for me on this Earth.

 

This one is for the special day of Mothers Day.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

 

The Exiled Prince

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The BOOK REVIEW was originally published on WRITERSMELON first.

The Exiled PRince

Who was Rama really? What was his real purpose? Is he the real immortal?


“The Exiled Prince,” is the first literary venture of Author, Ravi V. He believes that myths are linked to our evolution as a species and this book is the result of his love, labor and passion to identify the legends and myths that surround the figure of Lord Rama.
The blurb introduces us to a significant and supreme stone, Crystal of Creation (a weapon which has souls of Lord Shiva and Narayana) around which the whole theme of the book is built. The Crystal has gone missing and the reigns of entire cosmos are at stake. Who is the savior?

Ramayana and Mahabharata are our two heroic epics that have never ceased to fascinate us. We have grown on these stories. In fact, I have always loved the larger than life characters, complexity of evolution-creation of humans and Godly connections in our Indian mythology. 

These days’ authors are going great guns with interpreting and revisiting them in new forms. Ravi has also done a great job in his book. He has handled rich and vast story of Rama intelligently and sophisticatedly.As the story commences post the surprising chapter 148, it picks its pace from the outset.  We hear our exiled prince Rama narrating his own story to his sons and in no time he grabs the attention of readers too. I have seen and heard different versions of Ramayana but none where Rama acts as the story teller. The autographical nature of the story is the USP of the book. The Author has played a master stroke by making the God, in his human form sound absolutely down to Earth and raise questions at his own purpose of life.

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Edvard Munch’s ‘SCREAM’ in National Art Museum, Oslo

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If you thought Monalisa is the most expensive and famous painting in Europe, take a Google search to find competitors. The biggest museum of Oslo, National Gallery which houses the largest art work of Norwegian painters has another great art work.

Before visiting Oslo, I did not know that ‘SCREAM’ painting by Edvard Munch is another painting that wins a high position among the famous art work in the world. 

The National Gallery  showcases his work as well as art pieces of French and other European artists. One section of the museum comprising of six to seven rooms gives us a chance to see the work of three generations of artists.  One can actually see the connection as well as the evolution of art from one to another with the progress of years.

Edvard Munch painted four iconic versions of this famous painting. One version of it was stolen from  National Art Museum and recovered and the second one was stolen from Munch Museum too. The thieves had stolen it for ransom but later the police located them safe and sound.

 

Scream
Edvard Munch’s Painting ‘Scream’

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M at Musée du Louvre

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Paris was a dream come true destination for me. And if there are Eiffel, River Siene, Triumph of Arc, Notre Dame, Disneyland not to miss, there is undoubtedly Louvre too. What happened when M, thats me and the immortal painting Monalisa came face to face? She followed me in all directions and I just couldn’t let my eyes off her.

 LE MUSEE DU LOUVRE

Monalisa, we have all read about her smile and the portrait, one of the most talked about paintings of its times and even now. The symmetry of the human figure, the smile, the following eyes and the deeper elements of art have been discussed in many forms. It has many stories connected to it and it usually makes a mention along with Renaissance, French Revolution and the artist Leonardo, da Vinci. Now, the property of government of France,  proudly hangs and attracts everyone in Louvre Museum.

But there’s much more to Musee du Louvre, its absolutely amazing. The huge, beautiful pieces of art made by famous artists of all times, displayed one after the other let not the eyes rest for a minute. I was charmed by the enormity of the collection. Each one outdid the other. Europe has been the talent house of artists, Indeed!!! Since I love to make canvases, that was one time I really wanted to take up arts seriously.

Monalisa

How we Reached?

We used the metro nearest from our hotel to reach the museum and got down at metro station, Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre. Did I tell you that Paris has one of the best intracity rail network and it connects the whole city just perfectly, thus keep the taxis at bay. Just outside the gate, the first thing that catches attention is the lavishness of the facade of the famous museum and the huge footfall enthralling the gates to make to the ticket queue. As you enter, the famous pyramid welcomes you and one can’t let it pass without a click.

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I am a blogger and I love to say it!

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I take pride in my writings and I love to introduce myself as a blogger/short story writer.  The happiness and joy that I extract out of it is much more than introducing myself as a Telecom engineer.  (Last year when I had a chance of interacting with King Khan, Sharukh Khan face to face , I had loved to introduce myself as a blogger over other things and I hadn’t felt small at all and the best part I had got a chance to live my dream because of blogging.)

Blogging gives me my desired freedom wherein I do and write what I want. I love it more because its mine, the feeling of owning it and having complete control over something gives me a high. It a place where I chew in and vent out my creative outbursts. There isn’t someone telling me to do a list of things nor there are deadlines to meet (except the blogging contests).  Today, I have many blogger friends, we write for blogging contests, we meet over events and it has come to be as if we have our own magical world amongst the Muggles.

But nothing happens without a purpose, reason and medium. My tryst with blogging dates back to 2009. I knew only one blogger and he was my school friend. He had moved out of India to study at National University of Singapore (NUS) and there he had taken up blogging. I would read all about his daily routines on his blog and his personal space became a great medium through which we kept in touch. His rants and ramblings were fun to read.  I also enjoyed reading about Singapore and about many things happening differently at foreign campus. It was altogether a new experience for me.  And after an year, I had an urge to make one for my own, but a private space, close to a diary.

But there was more to me. I have always been an avid reader and thus everytime I read a book, I wanted to shout out to the people and tell them to read it. I wanted to spread the joys of reading. Thus four years back, one fine day the thought to register a blog materialized and I made one on totalgadha.com. I commenced writing book reviews with one of the best books, ‘ Love Story’. I wonder what life would have been if I had not done it.

But that time I had few readers, almost negligible networking and I wasn’t aware of the blogging addas at all, but what kept it going was my love for words, love for weaving stories, love for voicing opinions and most important love for Books.

So here comes the answer to the first part of the ongoing prompt at #IndiSpire.

IndiSpire- What inspired you to be a blogger? What is it that still keeps you going?

 Definitely my friend who had introduced me the joy and thrill of it and books which motivated me to write about them.

I love Blogging                                                                                                                     Picture

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