A’Famosa-- Portuguese Fortress, most photographed hallmark of Melaka.
It was built by the Portuguese in 1511.
I am back from my awesome trips of Oman and Singapore which I won through blogging contests. Both the experiences were absolutely delightful and for the next 6 months I have enough to blog about. :)
in August happened the Malayisa trip and I have already written a couple of posts about my visit to MALAYSIA which was superbly hosted by Malaysia Tourism. Do check out my Malaysia series. With this post I wanna travel back in time, when the Malaysian sojourn took me to Melaka for 2 days.
MELAKA: Historic City on the Straits of Malacca
Bandaraya Melaka is strategically located with its coastline into the Straits of Melaka. The Malaccan history, multicultural heritage and its majestic past is absolutely impressive.600-year-old, Melaka town is uniquely charming with no lofty mountains or the best beaches. It is situated two hours south of Kuala Lumpur and four hours northwest of Singapore. Our road journey started at Seri Pacific Hotel in Kuala Lumpur and in next two hours we were at our next destination, Equatorial Hotel in Melaka.
Jeevan, our guide told us enough all through the road trip and made me absolutely curious about it. He told us abut the cultural cross-road of Melaka, its architecture, cuisine and how it happens to be a melting pot of cultures. The town gets its richness and architectural uniqueness from its colonization by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British as well as Chinese. The city has it all from the remnants of Portuguese fort to Dutch buildings to Chinese houses and Malay culture. Thus it was declared the Unesco World Heritage Site in 2008.
The quaintness of the place is attractive. My last post talked about Jonker Street and Harmony Street which houses the beautiful Cheng Hoon Teng Chinese temple built in the 1600s. Apart from that the Melaka city has churches, Hindu temple and mosques too. Cendol with durian, shark fin soup, nyonya laksa and pineapple tarts are a must eat. And one can’t return without hearing the historic tales of Malaccan warrior, Hang Tuah who hails from this place.
The view of Melaka buildings and the the sea beyond it from my hotel room.
I stayed at 17th floor in Equatorial Hotel.
View of Melaka taken from Menara Taming Sari- ‘First Revolving Gyro Tower’ of Malaysia.
It provides panoramic 360 degree view of Melaka.
Another beautiful capture of Melaka
The Rich Trading History
The trading post of Melaka bustled with energy when ships from West and East Asia arrived all through the busy months of December and March. Spice islands traded with Melaka between May and September. Its trading entrepot led to a lucrative spice trade. Thousands of Arabs, Persians, Gujratis, and many others traded at Melaka port.
Can you beat this? At one time, a total of 84 languages were spoken in Melaka.
The models of Chinese traders that I captured in the Sultanate Palace Musuem
Melaka has lots to enrich you with history. The Malaysian independence came in 1957. Before that it was the Portuguese, then the Dutch and the British who came and left their marks in the city. If someone says Melaka is about one day, I would contradict. To get into the skin of its historical significance, one must spend 2 days to explore around. Walking around on foot is most advisable and in between, one may go for the Duck tour, the Trishaw ride and the Melaka River cruise. They all help to look around the city and absorb its culture better. I experienced all of them and the Trishaw ride remains to be my favorite.
Early morning, after breakfast, you may just get going like we did…
Start from paying a visit to the ‘Replica of Malacca’s Sultanate Palace’- It is situated at the foot of St. Paul ‘s Hill. This Malay palace talks about Malacca’s glorious past. Next to it is the building that is known as ‘Proclamation of Independence Memorial’, it exhibits country’s struggle leading to the independence. Get clicked at the Portuguese Fort, A’Famosa. Further, one can climb up to see the ruins of St.Paul′s Church that was built by the Portuguese in 1521. Next you reach the Stadthuys, the official residence of Dutch Governors. Close to it, we also visited the St. Fancis Xavier’s Church built in 1849.
Menara Taming Sari makes you enjoy the 360 degree view of the city. Even if you do not like museums, Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum and Maritime Museum are a must visit because both are unique. While Baba Nyona requires a prior booking, Maritime can be visited anytime. Baba Nyona is a Chinese museum and the visit is very fruitful because a lady takes you around the house and tells you everything about the Chinese living, culture, heritage. Maritime Museum is built inside a replica of the famous Melaka ship. In the evening, Melaka River cruise is an interesting option. The open cafes, boutique hotels, graffiti on the walls hint on the trendy European influence on the city. Along the Melaka river, one can find old villages, or kampungs, and modern day buildings.
Maritime Museum located at the Portuguese Settlement
Proclamation of Independence Memorial
You will enjoy to read around it as the exhibits talk about the country’s struggle leading to the independence.
Masjid Selat Melaka (Floating Mosque)
At high tide, the mosque appears to be floating. I captured the above shot while enjoying the Melacca Duck Tour ride.
A picture captured while enjoying the Melaka River Cruise in the late evening.
The lights, water, ambiance make it a vibrant, colorful riverside view.
Melacca’s Sultanate Palace
Trendy, Colorful and Vibrant
With colorful buildings, trendy coffee shops and boutique hotels, Melaka is alluring.
Stroll around Jonker street, look around the antique shops, artifacts, collectibles, food hawkers etc. The shops here date back as far to 300 years old. Jonker Street weekend night is sure to check out if you are there around weekend.
Melaka is as vibrant and historically multicolored as these colorful bottles.
The picture was taken while strolling around Jonker street.
An antique shop in Melaka’s China Town
The flowery decorated, beautifully decked up Trishaw in Melaka.
The stylish drivers are friendly and will entertain you by playing Bollywood songs in the music system.
I lived in Noida in my schooling days and every morning I remember passing through a area that was still under- developed. The area remains in my mind because it used to stink badly. I would stick my handkerchief to my nose tightly as my bus crossed it. One day I passed that part of the land in the early hours of morning, what I saw was sad. Children were defecating in the open. That was the day when I had my first encounter with the truth and my father told me that India has a huge population of people who do not have access to sanitation infrastructure. It was disturbing for me. On my small scale, in standard 10th my friends and I did a small scale project where we visited the nearby villages and educated people of using the toilet vans provided in their areas because many villagers were not using it even if they had access to it.
Everyday in the cities we talk about politicians, black money, scams, cricket, weather, glamor, fashion, kissing in the open but not something as important as sanitation facilities because we aren’t much affected. Coca cola cans, mobile phones, fashion has reached our villages but files sanctioning sanitation facilities are still eating storm and dust in government offices. I wonder why health practices are last in our priorities.
Today’s post will not have me talking but a cute, little girl Babli.
Babli is a girl who lives in a village close to a city across the railway tracks. Her slum area does not have a proper toilet. She is among the many who are most impacted by the lack of sanitation facilities in our country. She is growing up, her teacher in the school is tecahing her many good things and she is learning to question things around her. The bubbly girl is here to talk about the problem of open defecation and Domex drive. Please read her mind because she is representing 597 million people of India who defecate in the open.
I am Babli. My age is twelve years old.
Few months back, one day a teacher had come to my village. She insisted my parents to send me to school. On enough coaxing, they agreed. Thus I started going to school. I like going to school. My school has classrooms, blackboards, play-area and a toilet too. It feels so safe to pee in the closed area. My teacher has taught us that one should use toilets for peeing and defecation. She often tells us that we must teach our parents too about sanitation, hygiene, health but I do not know what is proper sanitation infrastructure as we do not have one in our area. Everyday we have to look for fields, forests, bushes, bodies of water, hole in the ground, river, stream or other open spaces to attend our nature’s call. It feels so unsafe and shameful when others are sitting around us. The girls and boys of our area all use the open. My teacher has told me this is called open defecation. She says it is not healthy and we must use toilets. Many young children die because of these dirty habits. Now, I know why my brother had died after six days of his birth. The village doctor had diagnosed diarrhea and my teacher says unclean habits around us lead to untimely deaths of just born children.
Traveling is Awesome!!!
I am back from my trip to SULTANATE OF OMAN and it has been a soulful treat. I was there when the cyclone Nilofar was deciding on its directions and was zeroing in Oman too, however later it decided to change its course. The adventure did not die down because on the last day of our trip (29th October), the deserts were lashed by heavy rainfall while we traced the roads from Wahiba Sands to Sur to Muscat. It was all so surreal.
My senses have come back rejuvenated and a happy chapter has been added in my travel experiences. The 5 day all-expenses paid trip came through a blogging contest win and it was absolutely well planned. The visa was hassle free, flying experience through Oman Air was comfortable and once I landed at Muscat International Airport, I was well looked after by Ministry of Tourism, Oman.
Oman, the land of spectacular landscape on the Arabian peninsula is impressive. Its blended uniquely with nature at its best. It not just boasts of rugged mountains, soft sand beaches, blue-green coastline, wild dolphins, ornate Mosques, fascinating forts, deep canyons, traditional Bedouins, limestone caves, Omani falaj, Frankincense, Jabel Shams, ancient forts, vibrating Souqs, Eastern Hajar Mountains, Wahiba Sands , Museums, Royal Opera House but they were all part of my itinerary.
With no second thoughts, I would say Oman is exotic and beautiful and I had a time of my life in exploring its deserts, mountains, peaks , gorges, wadis and seaside.
Jewel of Arabia
If you have a view of the gulf countries and Dubai seemed all man made glitter to you on your last holiday, Oman’s beauty isn’t in competition. It falls in a completely different league. I was both surprised and amazed with his awesome combination of browns, greens and blue. I loved the spectacular desert mountains that followed me everywhere I went. The emerald blue water appeared so relaxing and soothing to the eyes that I wanted to dive in deep.
Oman’s amazing diversity of landscape adds to the traveler’s delight . The forts, citadels and watchtowers are in plenty to tell you much about Oman’s heritage and culture. The golden sand dunes stand huge and unmoving. The Wadi bashing using a 4×4 called for adrenalin rush and ultimate fun. The Desert Night camp experience was one of its kinds.
My impression of Muscat was that it is a blend of both, modern and traditional. The souqs are liberating and the Grand Mosque is gorgeous. Our search for dolphins in the sea at the Marina Bander was met with lovely scenic views and hundreds of dolphins playing around our speed boat. We were told it was one of the days when we were absolutely lucky to spot so many of them together. Our upwards drive to the heights of Al Hajar mountain region was no less than breath taking. A night spent each in Jebel Shams and Wahiba Sands were both humbling and adventurous experience for me.
The cricketing legends of the world Clive Lloyd, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Allan Border, Arjuna Ranatunga, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Saurav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Aamer Sohail, Inzamam-ul-Haq came together under one roof at the event ‘Salaam Cricket’, a cricket conclave organized in New Delhi on 18th October, 2014.
Yes, I heard them , saw them, experienced the thrill of having them around in real, outside the stadium or the television box. Its been more than twenty days that I attended the event but due to my travel sprees was not able to blog about it. But Cricket needs no special reason to be talked about. We Indians are obsessed about the game in all its avatars, be it One-day, Test match or IPL.
India Today thoughtfully conceived this idea of discussing cricket right before World Cup 2015. The event was themed around analyzing the favorite teams before the World Cup. Would it be India or Australia or Sril Lanka or Pakistan? No doubt the room thought Australia was one of the top contenders. India had good chances and at present Pakistan did not have game changing players. However, they all agreed that the other teams that were strong and could change equations of the game were Sri Lanka, West Indies and Africa. New Zealand might be the dark horse.
I was impressed with Clive Lloyd. Not only did he apologize for West Indies calling off India tour midway but he appeared thorough gentleman in many aspects. Best of all, he did not even shy from shaking a leg on the Punjabi dhol. He displayed perfect sportsmanship.
Halloween is upon us and a host of supernatural creatures is ready to appear on our doorsteps. Fortunately, most of these monsters are easily turned away with the help of chocolate and jelly beans.
But if you’d like to return the favor and pay the phantoms a visit on their own turf, dig out your trekking boots and head for the nearest big forest: supernatural beings are known to make their home in great woods, and it’s (probably) safe to drop by and say hello.
Do I sound spooky, read on!!
Erik Boman of Holidaylettings (a service from TripAdvisor) discovers five of the scariest woodlands on the planet…….
Essex, England, UK
Photo by martin_vmorris (edited) (license) via Flickr
Epping Forest has earned its ghastly reputation from being a notorious crime scene. Several of the victims rumored to be buried here are believed to be restless in their graves.
Strange reported happenings include the sound of drums, eerie lights, strange mists and phantoms, including the ghost of highwayman Dick Turpin, whose soul is said to linger near the cave where he lived.
The forest’s most peculiar feature is the so-called Hangman’s Hill, located near High Beach. This spot is known to have a strange pull strong enough to tug a car uphill. Legends say this pull is an unseen hangman’s noose that draws its victims closer.
India has been called the golden bird in history. In the past like it enamored the traders with its gold and richness, today its expanding economy seems a lucrative market to investors world over. Not only the Indian talent is being invited world over but also the country itself is becoming a magnet for foreigners. Our distinctive and varied culture attracts huge number of foreign tourists every year . No doubt we have a huge population, but the talent and education in India is well appreciated. Creative and strong headed people are proving their prowess on the global map.
If you have a passion for peace and commitment to practice non-violence, I am sure you know the honored man from India, the Father of the Nation, Mahatama Gandhi. He has been a figure of inspiration for countries that have undergone suppression and more. He was the man who stood for each one and he preached the same to every one. While in Oslo I loved his poster hanging outside the Nobel Peace Prize Center, I equally felt proud to see his statue in Bali next to the World Peace Gong. From London to America his memorials, paintings, sculptures, and statues are hosted world over. Through his principles, globally people are more Indian than we think.
Did you know UK’s town Leicester in East Midlands celebrates Diwali grandly? It was the place where Indians were openly unwelcome years ago and today the people there celebrate grandest Diwali outside India. People from different communities enjoy the spirit of Diwali together. When I was in Oslo on one of the Diwali night and with limited resources, I celebrated it in my own unique Indian way.
Read the rest of this entry »
If you did not notice my last travel posts, I must tell you that you have been missing a series on MALAYSIA. I am writing posts after posts because I have so much to talk about my recent trip there. Oh yes!!! I won the MalaysiaJao blogging contest and my trip was hosted superbly by Malaysia Tourism.
CAPITAL of MALAYSIA is KUALA LUMPUR.
Lets photo-walk it through my lenses…
Kuala Lumpur’s history proudly talks about its ‘evolution from the Mud where two of its rivers met. The name Kuala Lumpur means ‘muddy confluence’ in Malay. The two rivers Klang and Gombak which flow through Kuala Lumpur led the clumsy village to its course of urban civilization. A leader of the chinese community, Yap ah Loy came to be known as the founder of KL. After several outbursts, Chinese and British interventions, racial riots and its own set of struggle, KL became the capital of the independent Federation of Malaya in 1957 and of Malaysia in 1963.
I was awed to learn about the wonderful transformation the capital city has undergone! The skyscrapers and the gleaming buildings shine like jewels in the night in Asia’s richest capitals. After it became a federal territory, the city has undergone phenomenal growth in terms of population and architecture. The mere tin-mining village in 1857 which was discovered by a group of 87 Chinese miners has come to be one of the sought-after travel destination. Earlier when the Chinese, English and others came here in search of tin, today it is known world over because of its iconic buildings , the Petronas Towers and KL Tower.
I thoroughly enjoyed my three days of stay in KL. Apart from visiting the ‘Must-Visit’ places- KL Tower, Batu Caves, National Monument, National Museum, Petronas Twin Towers , Merdeka Square, Chinatown, National Monument, Fascinating malls etc, I did not miss to capture many fascinating things about the city. They give us a peek into its taste for history, art and culture.
1. Petronas Twin Towers, National Monument, Batu Caves, The Revolving Restaurant in KL Tower
No, I never saw an ANGEL,
but it is irrelevant whether I saw one or not.
I feel their presence around me.
My faith in the meaning of the words is unquestionable. From the time we are born, we are carefully handed over to two special people who never fear from their angelic deeds when it comes to preventing us from all harms. And gradually we find our own people in life who cross us on roads, in the trains, flights, offices, adverse situations and extend a helping hand. Through this post I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of them who have saved me from the toughest times and brought a smile back on my face. I am thankful to God that I have been blessed with wonderful people around me.
Great deeds have long lives and one should never let them die. Once there was a man who pulled me back from the speeding car on the road and in my state of shock I didn’t even realize that I missed saying a thank you to him. In a crucial phase of life, I was too lucky to meet a friend who took absolute care of me when I was severely ill. And now there is a guy in my life who stands for me always and bails me out from peering questions of others. So for me, my Crisis Angels have had many faces. But there is one person who deserves the biggest gratitude and he is my Dad. From the smallest troubles to the biggest goof ups of life, I have never feared to confess to my Dad and he, being my super angel has heard me lovingly and pulled me unaffected from all. Unlike Mum who prefers to give her lectures first before soothing the wounds (ofcourse she loves me too), Daddy prefers to hold hands till the hard times are gone. I see my biggest Crisis Angel in him.
HEALTH IS WEALTH
I am sure each one of us has heard this time and again. My Dad would often reiterate it every time when I fell ill as a kid and even today he sounds the same when he hears me talk low. I believe this oldest cliché can never be called old and it holds key to a pot of gold. We all dread illness and those are the days when we wish for a magical wand to set things right for us. You may possess the world’s glorious things in your closet but until you are fit and healthy, it holds no good for you. When we are ill, do we ever think of money? No we don’t. This is what it means that Health is wealth because money can’t buy it. It took me more than twenty years to understand this but I want my next generation to realize it soon.
Health and Kids
Lets compare the two days, a day when the kids are running around the house all happy, chirpy and active with no ailments in the body and the other day when they come back home from school with a throbbing head and hurting stomach. No wonder we pray for former days always because we love the kids happy going.
It wasn’t easy for my mum to get me into spinach but she won me over with Popeye’s cartoons. She ensured that I ate fruits and vegetables in my meals. One sneeze meant a huge lecture on the importance of daily intake of nuts and Chyawanprash. Milk was a daily on the menu. I am sure all our parents have done this but now the onus lies on us that how we pass it on to our next generation. Nowadays more than us its the kids who are enticed with junk food. They prefer television and gadgets than cycling and playing in parks. Eventually they are getting more prone to obesity, weak eyes, unhygienic habits etc. The attack of virus and bacteria often attacks the learning and developmental abilities of the kids.
A healthy child makes a happy home
A child is the apple of eye of every family and no one wants them ill. For the parents, their whole life revolves around kids. Their smile makes our day, their hug warms us and their sweet voice keeps us going. When they fall ill, the house comes down to pin drop silence and its tough to see them in pain. I had never seen my brother so worried and sad till the day his kiddo was hospitalized for the first time. The prankster in him was quite, had sullen eyes and not a smile escaped his lips. Kids are absolutely our darling. We love them and we want the best for them, don’t we?
A strong immunity is important for children so that they grow up strong.Thus, its absolutely important to prevent them from falling ill. Lets nurture healthy food habits in ourselves so that the kids follow our steps. Children imitate elders around them therefore they must be shown what we want them to imbibe. As grown ups we must encourage a good living. More we should embrace green, non-toxic, anti oxidant ingredients in our fancy cooking styles to attract them to home made food. Other food products that keep us healthy should be made part of our routine diet. Good eating habits go a long way in keeping the ailments away. A diet that helps to build a strong immunity is a necessity and it should be encouraged in our children. Whatever way possible they must be convinced to eat food items that help fight infections and diseases.
I write all of the above and equally value the beautiful love of my parents that made Mum or Dad run after me everyday to eat a spoon of Chyawanprash and a glass of milk without a miss.
This is my post for Happy Hour via Indiblogger and Dabur
Love for DIARY… (my story)
My fascination for stationery dates back to the times when laptops were in the making and tablets, touchscreens were yet to be manufactured and my Dad proudly owned and loved his typewriter. It was my eighth birthday and Daddy gifted me my first dairy. By that time I was already in love with stationery items like books, notepads, pencils, sketch pens etc. , thus a bundle of crisp pages bound by a spiral with a peacock on the outer hard side looked enamoring. I had seen Daddy writing in his diary every night but had never wanted one for myself yet.
With not a minute to waste I had asked him, Is this Mine?
Yes, he said..
‘ What do I do with this Daddy?’
He had put it gently, its time you put down your thoughts, do some cursive writing and scribble your heart Beta.
By that time I had only used a School diary which was a medium for conversation between parents and teachers and also for noting down homework. Having an all new, thick diary made me giddy with happiness and I did not give up until I had shown it to my friends next day in school. That time I did not know that more than owning a diary, it was important to use it wisely. Gradually Daddy taught me to use the calendar to mark the important dates. He introduced the other uses as well and one thing that I adopted soon was the practice of regularly making diary entries. From spilling ink on myself to the broken toy to maggi noodles that I loved, I wrote everything in there. By the time my next birthday came, he was very happy with my work. And then it became a ritual, a dairy a year is the most precious gift that comes from him to me.
Yes!!! I love to scribble. When people love to shop for chocolates, dresses, gifts, I am charmed with stationery items. And no less I admit I love the smell of neat, fresh paper. I thoroughly enjoy collecting notebooks and diaries.
The picture below shows some of the diaries that my DAD has gifted me over the years of growing up. I have an amazing collection and I love to flaunt it. So next time when you are thinking of gifting me, as I have always said give me a book or something in paper where I can scribble my heart out.
My Mid Year Collection of Notebook and Diaries
Matrikas Paper Products have sent in more and I am all happy.
The brand hails from SFA print (P) Ltd., and they have come up with refreshing range of products including Notebooks,Journals,Diaries and high quality book making services. Recently, I took a glance at their products and honestly couldn’t stay away from being a part of their “Scribble your heart away….” Campaign!
I am thankful to them that they sent me a gift pack of three different kind of notebooks. How thoughtful of them to give the bloggers/ writers just what they love most. For me, Diary is an important keepsake forever.
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park (Malay: Taman Burung Kuala Lumpur)
If you are in Kuala Lumpur with or without children, the KL bird park is a must visit. From African Grey Parrot, Yellow-billed Stork, Silver Pheasant, Red Lory, Indian Blue Peafowl, Straw-headed Bulbul, Flamingos, Hornbills, Waterhens, Parrots, Cockatoos, Storks, Pheasants, Mynahs, Pigeons, Macaws. Ducks one gets to see them all and many more. I didn’t even know so many unique species of birds existed before visiting this place. It was an awesome learning experience. For me, it was a unique as well as a fulfilling experience. It made me nostalgic about the childhood days when my parents took me around in the zoo. It was similar to spotting animals. Here too some of the birds moved around in the open in their segmented and separated spaces while there were others which were caged.
If you are a bird lover, you will find it a paradise and make the best of the day in the KL Bird Park. At the entrance, one buys a ticket and gets wrist-let. It guarantees your journey inside where you can spot different varieties of birds from the smallest to the tallest. The colorful sight amidst the green spread is all the more heartening when the birds walk down close to you. The Park has been designed in a way that it is covered from the above and many birds move and fly around freely in the semi-natural environment.
“The World’s Largest Covered Bird Park” or “The World’s largest Free Flight Aviary”.
Thank God! Man wrote books and discovered a beautiful way of appeasing humankind.
Reading is bliss. Ya-ya I know I always say that and I can never get over this feeling. After every book, my faith in the world of words and imagination strengthens. Recently I wrapped up two very interesting books- ‘Mango Cheeks Metal Teeth’ by Aruna Nambiar and ‘Fraudster’ by R.V. Raman. Both the books were strikingly different in make and style and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Rom-Com alternatively with the Corporate Thriller.
What keeps me on my toes?
Corporate thrillers have to be churned out skillfully to be able to capture the interest of readers till the end. The storyline has to be strong, the plot has to be the king and the characters have to be well sketched. And to top it all, gritty suspense and racy action make it a winner any day. So when a new book of a similar genre hits the bookshelves, my expectations are no less than above.
I chose FRAUDSTER because I loved its blurb and thrillers are my favorite. I must say this one kept me on my toes. Mr. R.V. Raman has delivered quite a promising debut novel.
Title and Cover Page
FRAUDSTER, as the name stands is about one big financial fraud that entails account books of not one but many companies and banks. To cover up things, cold blooded murders, assaults, database hackings and email deletions follow. The blurb starts it off well with terms like corruption, greed, crime, murder, treachery etc. The title of the book stands with the storyline however I wasn’t impressed with the cover page. It looked quite similar to others that I have read already.
10th October is celebrated as International Girl Child Day. On this day, UNICEF is coming forward with a strong message and mass campaign to end violence against girl child by launching
“yeah hui naa baap wali baat” music video by Ryan Beifus
Here is the video after the launch
The post that I wrote before the event….
I have always been shocked about how a boy child is always loved and wanted over female child. I condemn female foeticide. But the girl child woes are not just it, some shocking stats are as below:
21% of girls in India, 12 million, have been subjected to physical violence since age 15
- 4.5% of girls aged 15 to 19, 2.6 million, have suffered some form of sexual violence.
- 13% of girls aged 15 to 19 married or in union suffered from sexual violence
Recently, a three years old girl child Jhanvi went missing in Delhi. She was kidnapped from India Gate when she was playing with her family friends. Except the parents and the close ones it did not panic anyone because such news are like everyday affairs. Children are forced in to begging, they are hit, abducted and physically abused so often. We know it all but we keep silent. Also imagine for most of them who belong to the underprivileged class, the cruelties done to them do not even find a place in the newspapers.
After three days thankfully the three kid was rescued but in most of the cases children don’t return back home. Most of the times we read such articles as news because we aren’t directly affected but when it happens in the family, thunder strikes. Coming back to Jhanvi’s story, I also read that when the young girl was crying in the market where she was spotted by a 21 yr old boy, there were many people in the buzzing market but none came forward to help her. How shocking is this? Thankfully there was one boy who thought of helping her and thus she was rescued. I wonder how self obsessed we have become in our lives that we don’t even bother to reach out to a crying child. From this incident, I take a lesson myself that next time I see a child in need of help, I will not shy away from doing the needful.
However, severe violence exists in our society. Its shameful but it thrives. Young girls and boys are abused and physically tortured and the numbers are extremely high for females. I wonder what kind of people are those who have the heart to harm children.
Lets join UNICEF and be catalysts of change within society. For long we have been bystanders, onlookers. We love passing the buck to others, “You should…”, “The Government should…”, this time lets say I can #ENDviolence because #ItStartsWithMe !!!
Yes, we can definitely do our part by ensuring that such acts do not take place in our surroundings and we do not shy away from bringing the culprit to law-book. As parents too sometimes act blind to save a family member or they feel it will impact their image in society, such parents need to change their perspective and act for their own children.
To fortify the importance of providing enabling environment for the Girl Child, UNICEF India is conducting the launch of a music video “Yea Hui Naa Baap walli Baat” by Ryan Beifus as part of #ItStartsWithMe campaign to celebrate International Girl Child Day. The emotive music is composed to inspire men to stand up for the rights of girls, their right to an education, to protection against violence and their right to no early marriage.
Bollywood and the Sports World has come forward to support UNICEF’s Campaign to #ENDviolence against children.
On the Day of the Girl Child, tomorrow is the launch of the Baap Waali Baat song on 10 October.
Kareena Kapoor, Virendra Sehwag, Priyanka Chopra, Rahul Bose, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Farhan Akhtar and Saina Nehwal can be seen and heard standing by the theme.
Watch the video:
I scribbled two lines with respect to the cause.
I may not be your daughter but treat me no different.
You may not be my father but do stand for me because I wish to respect you no different.
I have had a fascination for History since childhood and I am one of those who would love to chose a museum tour over beach walk any-day. Getting into dates and being charmed by intriguing history thrills me. So when Malaysia Tourism took us to Melaka after the three days fun in Kuala Lumpur, I was more than happy. And I would say Melaka is absolutely wonderful. I loved the small and big intricate historical charms of the city.
Melaka is situated one and a half hour away from Kuala Lumpur by car. The UNESCO World Heritage City of Melaka thrives on rich history that dates back to 600 years in the past. Its unique and ancient buildings create a lot of interest for the eyes of the travelers. Different shapes, sizes and architecture speak of tradition and culture of different communities that came here in the past. Since Melaka was an important trading post, along the historic Straits of Malacca, it charmed traders from all over the world. The Portuguese, Dutch, British, Chinese came, conquered, thrived and contributed to its customs and cultures. In its quaint and peaceful roads, one feels an excitement in experiencing the historical Melaka.
Our guide, Jeevan told us more about Melaka. He said that Melaka was first discovered by Parameswara, a young Hindu Prince who later moved to Singapore.
Before my blogpost about the Museums, National Sultanate of Malacca, Dutch Square, Porta Santiago and many more places of interest in Melaka, I wanna write about the Jonker street/Walk that has an interesting influence of colonial rule period on Melaka. Now it has array of antique shops of artifacts and relics.
Jalan Hang Jebat, also known as Jonker Street has colorful houses which date back to 17th century. We also learnt that Jonker Street is popular for getting hand on big bargains and antique collections. I was tempted to go for Souvenir shopping here. The tempting cuisines, the street food and souvenir shopping are the highlights of Jonker Street.
Jonker Walk was turned into a touristy cultural street on 19th June 2000. It was a great step by the Malaccan government as it helped the locals and tourists to know about the multi cultural facets of this place.
Jonker Walk, Jonker Street or Jalan Hang Jebat
The grand gate at the start of the street welcomes one to a colorful and interesting walk. Three girls/bloggers (Ragini, Vaisakhi and I who went together to Malaysia) can never be more excited if left to explore a shopping arena. Of course girls love shopping but for a change I loved it because it wasn’t a mall neither a cluttered street but a artistic market. Unlike the other china towns that I have seen, this one had influence of European culture. The narrow and wide streets, cute small and big shops and side cafes looked very impressive. We were curious and in no time we started walking further.
Also, this Chinatown is renowned for its antique shops, clothing and craft outlets. More, pineapple tarts and durian puffs are famous here. Durian cendol is another delicacy not to be missed if you are here.
‘Malaysia is Truly Asia’ – We hear it quite often but I have returned back from Malaysia nearly convinced to its theme.
28th August to 3rd September– The duration in which I experienced my first and beautiful trip to Malaysia. Yes! it turned out to be enriching, fascinating and truly refreshing one. The theme on Merdeka was fabulous and I felt honored to be a part of 57th Independence Day celebrations of Malaysia. Apart from the big day celebrations, each day of the trip was full of memorable experiences.
My trip to Malaysia!!
It was a FAM trip that I had a won as a prize in the ‘MalaysiaJao 2014′ blogging contest. The badge perched on the right side says it all. Gladly I would like to thank Blogadda and Malaysia Tourism who together made it happen. Its been a month to the rocking trip but since I was sick, I couldn’t write my pieces. I have been lusting to pendown all that happened there, the beautiful pictures I clicked and the experiences I had.
What is a FAM trip?
I had never been on a FAM trip until this one happened. What I only knew was that FAM was an acronym for familiarization. The veteran bloggers did guide and shared their pleasant experiences but honestly I had never thought FAM trip could be so awesome.
Before the travel I had my set of apprehensions. I was nervous, not sure about many things. The itinerary was all to be taken care by someone else and the thought made me quirky. But now I know when its organized by the tourism of a country, its got to be the best. Malaysia Tourism rocked all the way. They pampered us to the core. (We were three bloggers who traveled from India for the Merdeka theme)
And the ride went this way…
DAY 0: Ragini (fellow blogger) and I flew from New Delhi to Kuala Lumpur. We were super excited. By the time we arrived in Kaula Lumpur it was night. At the exit we were met by a guy holding the placard of my name. He introduced himself as Jeevan and told us that for the next 6 days he was our friend and guide. As we headed to our hotel, he ensured he told us many new things about Malaysia since we both were visiting it for the first time. Later, we were only left to have dinner and settle ourselves in our hotel rooms on the 21st floor. We stayed at Seri Pacific, Kuala Lumpur. It was a comfortable stay with great breakfast buffet.
Its Dusshera Time!!!
I got nostalgic looking at the bow and arrow, the masks and the battle armor toys. As a kid, I wouldn’t return from the Ram Leela ground until my parents bought these for me. On Saturday, I was once again thrilled to be reminded of childhood antics. I couldn’t resist the temptation to buy one for myself at the Lal Quila Maidan (Red Fort Lawns).
In our busy lives, festivals always return to refresh and rejoice us. With the commencement of Navratris, its the beginning of festive season. Planning family time during holidays, returning to homeland to celebrate with family and enjoying delicacies associated with fests are the three things that happen during this time. Since I am a great foodie, what charms me most about festivals is food and exploring new places to eat always thrills me.
I have been living in Delhi for last fifteen years but had never known about Nav Shri Dharmik Lila Committee. And its not just famous because the Ramlila ground has the tallest effigy of Ravan but also because of its display of mouth watering Delhi street food. When we reached there, we were met with colorful pandal which housed a huge Dusshera mela and more the food display boasted that of a big fat Indian wedding. The Saturday turned into a delicious one. Hubby and I had a great evening digging into some amazing Chaat papdri, Golgappas, Chilla, Matar-kulcha, Stuffed mango, Rola icecream and more. The Ice-creams, Kulfi were novelty items available there and simply irresistible. I bet, as you walk down the pictures, you ought to get hungry!!!
Nav Shri Dharmik Lila Committee
25th September- 4 October 2014
Last Thursday on 18th September 2014, it was an insightful experience to attend the launch of INAP, India New Born Action Plan programme. We all know the success story of India’s triumph over polio and learning from the past and following the same lines it was the day designated to start the crusade against newborn deaths. Yes, it was called a great day because it marked the launch of a ambitious plan that aims to save newborn deaths and bring down the number of deaths per 1000 in single digit.
The honorable guests of the event were Bill Gates and Melinda Gates. For this great cause, the chiefs of UNICEF, WHO, USAID came together to extend their utmost support. The other guests of honor who shared the dais were Mr. Louis George Arsenault, UNICEF representative India, Ms. Nata Menabde, WR India, Mr. John Beed, Mission Director, USAID India along with our Health and Welfare Minister, Mr. Harsh Vardhan.
The disturbing numbers…
Preventable newborn deaths account for 44 percent of all deaths among children under the age of five globally.
Four out of five newborn deaths result from three treatable conditions.
In India, 0.76 million newborns die each year mainly due to preventable causes.
Urban NMR is no good, it is also half of Rural NMR. Delhi IMR is also quite high.
There is zero, actually no health structure in cities.
WHAT IS INAP?
The India Newborn Action Plan (INAP) is developed in response to to the Global Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) which was launched at World Health Assembly in June 2014. The programme outlines a targeted strategy for accelerating the reduction of preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths in the country. With this programme and effective interventions, it is a commitment to bring NMR (neonatal mortality rate) and SBR (Still born rate) to single digits by 2020.
Cyrus did not return Jenny’s call.
There was slight disappointment on her face because he hadn’t called her to speak of any progress in Maya’s case. But just then she was quick to console herself that Cyrus was trying his best to hunt down Varun and soon some important lead would definitely help them nab the culprit. The flashbacks of Maya’s body in pool of blood returned and next moment Jenny clenched her fist and teeth. Soon, her body began to shiver too. The killer had not just murdered Maya but her soul sister and it was great loss to her.
Jenny was a strong person and Maya too was no less. Rather it was their adventurous, art land sports love, thinking from the heart attitude which had bonded them together. There was one more thing other than photography which never bored them and that was music. Jenny played their favorite peppy numbers to lift her mood but it did not really help. She felt both restless and helpless. Thoughts of Maya or Cyrus played around in her mind. Since Maya was gone and Cyrus was busy with his freelance case, studies and follow up with police on Maya’s murder, Jenny decided to read his blog.
Eunomia’s Quill, Cyrus blog’s name was too interesting and Jennifer felt a curiosity to read it word to word. Crime and law were not her subjects of interest but with Maya’s shocking death she wanted to read and research things related to murders, mysteries and thrillers. She came across many jargons which were unknown to her. The thoughts and views of Cyrus on some cases were eye opening for her. Soon Jenny was in awe of not only his writing skills but also his investigating ideas. Was Cyrus a law student or a psychologist who could read a criminal’s mind? Boss, this guy could script some real crime series which are sure to get terrific TRP ratings… Jenny thought to herself.
Next day Jenny woke up with the ringing of her mobile phone.
Oh! she realized she had been awake till wee hours in the night and now her head was throbbing hard because maybe she had tried to gulp down excessive doze of crime and law stories the night before.
She missed the call but soon bent down to check the number. It was more than one. First it was her Mum early in the morning which obviously had felt on deaf ears and after two hours now it was Cyrus who had called her.
Jenny felt happy to return each of their calls.
Since Jenny was too impressed with Cyrus’s blog, she couldn’t keep this to herself. That day in a casual chat (facebook messenger) with Tara, she mentioned it the first thing. Jennifer disclosed to Tara about the blogs that Cyrus wrote and how fascinated she was with his writing style. Tara was taken for surprise too. Jennifer and Tara had gotten quite friendly over time. Tara’s heart went out to Jennifer for her lose of her closest friend. She did her best to give Jennifer the moral support that she so needed. They had quickly opened up to each other, become friends on Facebook and now chatted with each other quite often.
Love lasts forever By Vikrant Khanna - Is a story of that real world , a world that exists beyond the honey moon period, beyond the rosy promises of love and beyond all admirations of love.
Will the two men be able to conquer those challenges and re gain the love that they always thought lasts forever ?
Read the previous chapter 11 here
After hearing the tale of Maya’s disappearance and then her brutal murder, Tara was done with her distrust for Cyrus. Jennifer had answered it all for her and now she felt guilty for being too harsh with Cyrus since his arrival. At the end of the conversation, she had felt most of it was sorted, even the look on Shekhar’s face said that he was all satisfied. Cyrus looked smug with a sign of relief on his face. No doubt Jennifer’s story did make sense and when she remembered that Shailesh was an eye witness, she gave up her worrying thoughts.
It was all peaceful in the house and Tara happily walked in her kitchen. She began to chop some vegetable just then it flashed to her—
Was a stranger’s call enough to snub off the anxieties related to Roohi’s safety in presence of Cyrus?
Just then Shekhar walked in and handed over the phone. It was Roohi on the other side. She was sounding all happy and chirpy which meant the stay at her friend’s place was turning out enjoyable. In all the fun, she did not miss asking about her Cyrus uncle and Tara for a change answered it to her satisfaction.
Everyone is doing good my baby, you make the most of your night out, have fun and I will come to pick you tomorrow…. said Tara before conveying the customary goodnight, sweet-dreams, take-care and bye.
After retiring to their bedroom, Shekhar and Tara discussed about Maya and expressed both sadness and shock.
Life is just so unpredictable. One never knows whats in store for us. I wonder if Maya ever thought that going for a boy would cost her life.… expressed Tara
I know!!! And I fear the cruel world too.
What makes people so violent that they fear not in taking someone’s life thats so precious? … added Shekhar
Lets forget it all Shekhar and pray to God to keep us all together and happy. We have to be careful about Roohi and her friends always even when she grows up… the God fearing and doting mother in Tara said before dozing off to sleep.
Next day, it all went well. Cyrus felt wanted in the house because Tara asked him for a second helping of sandwich during the breakfast. They all returned to their daily routines and when Roohi returned she brought back giggles and chirpiness in the house.
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
Chapter 8 : Anuradha
Round 1 ended after 8 chapters and now we are through the second round along with other teams.
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 was 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.
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.
There 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).
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. :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
“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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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!
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.
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.
Temptations… Tantalization… Tasty… Taste Buds..
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.
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…
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…?
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 :) :) :)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Fashion, Talent-hunt, Creativity, Launch Pad, Grooming, Mentor ship, Shopping…. All in one platter.
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
The child on the road was in pain,
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.
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.
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!
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.
Come November and its time for the fat Indian weddings, lavish parties of Delhi to return. Thankfully we Indians believe in pomp and show and our weddings cane never be one day affairs. What if they were, we women would have still flaunted 4 dresses in one day, watsay. Ha ha… In the marriages even the guys love to compete and look their best. But what would our weddings be minus the glamorous sherwanis, lehenga-cholis, anarkalis, sarees, jodhpuri suits, halter neck blouses etc. Don’t we all love going overboard with make up? Ofcourse we do!More than the wedding day, the other functions too need dresses to match the occasion/theme and each one wants his or her to be special and unique.
Not a day to stand and stare! I have missed the preparations back home. Before Diwali and post Diwali I have been traveling, yes this year has been all about it. When I returned this Sunday, I realized a huge party time awaited me. My friend Meenu’s engagement, a colleagues house warming party and Kitu di’s and Arun bhaiya’s wedding (Mehndi, Sangeet, Wedding and Reception) were just round the corner. (Yes, not one but my two cousins are getting married in consecutive months). My Mom is already done with buying accessories for her sarees and my aunt’s place is loaded with shopping bags. My cousin’s are through with their discussions over colors and dresses. Each one is all set to look drop-dead gorgeous. This Sunday, I almost felt less. Mom reminded me I had loads of dresses and was not supposed to crib.For sometime her words were comforting.
Honestly, new and untouched Anarkalis and lovely drapes bought during my wedding are all intact in my cupboard and it is right time to bring them out. I cheered myself and felt armed with enough dresses not until the sky came falling. When I tried to put them on, a few did not come to my perfect fitting. I had put on weight in these two years and here I was in need of new Anarkalis. Gosh! Chandi Chowk was closed on Sundays and it was already a half Sunday gone, where would I shop, there wasn’t a weekend before the functions began. I cried as I was not fashionably prepared for the family functions and just not in the right health to go shopping in the choked markets.
My Mom has a super memory and in all this commotion of my office work, travels and clothes cry, she said ‘ Quikr pe quickly dekho’, maybe you can make some quick buy.
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