Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Women...the giver, nurturer...

Today, International Women's Day is celebrated with much fanfare. It is heartening to see that the voice for equality between the sexes has gathered momentum like never before and the achievements of womenfolk lauded and feted world wide.
At my workplace today, women were decked up in all glory celebrating feminism....glasses were raised, self congratulatory notes exchanged and the mood was upbeat. The world looked beautiful!

Looking at the world from a pair of pink (pun intended) tinted glasses is good indeed. But reality is a very obnoxious fun spoiler.

Among many others, I  met the parents of  2 year old twins who had come to seek admission in to playschool. The lady was very docile and extremely gentle while the man of the house or so he liked to believe was the exact opposite. He threw his weight around his spouse and was rude to the extreme. Cutting her short when she spoke, chiding her openly and rather rudely for overwriting on a piece of information in the form and belittling her with his looks, I could sense the apologetic tone of the mother. It is when she filled the form with the annual income of their respective selves, I sensed the disdain the man could have for her. The lady was earning almost double than the man and I wondered if that could be his ego dampener. Or could it be that having grown in a patriarchal set up he couldn't come to terms with seeing his life partner as an equal and give her the credit for asserting herself.
After they left, I wondered about the quality of life the lady would be living. Supremely independent in all sense of the term but still aching for actual independence, her inner struggles and turmoils made me question the relevance of March 8...

Had I met the couple outside the professional front, I would have surely asked him to come off his pedastal a few notches...but, I just reassured the lady and held her dignified stand.

We the womenfolk have come a long way and while the positive glow of our triumphs far outwit any negativity, our contentment with the importance of the day should go beyond...we should deliberately seek to make each day, woman's day

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Chennai Diaries ~ Trail #1

I have moved to Chennai!!! Five years in Trichy, a city that healed many a wounds and festered a few, the temple city that saw a new ME; it bid me a teary goodbye. With a heavy heart and an even heavier packer & mover ahead of us, we set off to namma ooru singara Chennai. For the past few months, I have been shuttling to & fro between Trichy and Chennai. Hubby got a transfer and I got a headache (hee hee). Well, the city is not new to me. My in-laws are Chennai vaaasees and I have been visiting them regularly. But any move brings its share of woes and I have been privy to many of them for the past few months!

It's been a month since I became a Chennaite. While I have gone back to work within a week of arriving, it's not been all work and no play.

I watched Uttama Villain - yeah the supposedly 'WOW' movie from the factory of "Yes - Kamal, he is still the superstar but needs to do something fast to erase this movie, Hasan". The story, if there was any, was pathetic and I was mighty surprised that the actor could go to such passionate lengths to make this movie. Clearly, the actor needs to introspect and re-position himself. Dancing with PYT's are no longer his cuppa!! But the panache & passion of the actor is spot-on.

To summarize, in the words of my dearest hubby - "Utama Villan - the life story of Kamal Hasan in the form of a docu drama sans the stage 4 brain tumor"

(Photo Source: Google)

It's just 10 days in to the summer vacation and the kids are mightyyyyyyy bored. So, I have them off to a mini summer camp of sorts. A musical, crafty way to while away 3 hours. The camp is gonna be till 15th. So some much needed respite there.

I also watched a movie shooting! The so hot TDH Vishal was in Besant Nagar shooting for some story and I watched ogled at him unabashedly. Pity, I couldn't click a snap, but yeah that few moments brightened my day !!!!

My Trails in Chennai will continue............ (I hope not!!!!)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Hifi in Bollywood - A Book Review

                               “The root of joy is gratefulness”.

Rishi is back with his second book. 

Before I give more insight on this; let me take a minute to say that I am immensely grateful to all those good people around me who understand my long bouts of silence. One such humble soul is Rishi Vohra. Rishi who was kind enough in sending his second book for my review and even more patient enough in waiting for me to post the review… A humble thank you Rishi.

Rishi's debut book  Once Upon The Tracks of Mumbai touched a chord and I instantly knew his latest offering would also have a warm humane connect. Besides, the book also promised to give an insight into the workings of hindi film industry (HiFI for the insiders) as Rishi himself was once part of this larger than life industry and his own struggles in the by lanes of Mumbai city have been etched.

Now to the review..

I am a huge Hindi Film Buff. Sneaking in film magazines like cineblitz or filmfare and secretly reading them was one of my favorite pastimes during my school days. Anything remotely revolving around the so called ‘Bollywood’ has me excited. So I looked forward to the second book which has Hindi film industry as its backdrop.
The protagonist of the story, Rayhan is one of those endearing Indian faces who like many other nameless Indians follows his father’s/parent’s ambitions. Despite harboring a raging passion to make it big in the Hindi Film Industry, he ends up pursuing a Finance degree in the US of A. But a few underlying pressures from his dad makes him concoct a lie and come back to Mumbai to follow his dreams.

On his way to living his dream, he encounters a mixed box of colorful characters like his maid’s daughter, Viola, Peter, his gay director and an egoist film star. How he juggles with all these characters while conveniently dodging his father’s calls and how the truth finally emerges solving the jigsaw puzzle of his life is the story.

                                        Now for the Yay's & Nay's
Yay's to

  • Lucid narration and witty dialogues
  • Self introspective mode of writing
  • I loved the character of the cheery spot boy. Wish there were more characters like him in real world
  • Breezy read
  • I could empathize with Rayhan - the patriarchal mindset of the society that stifles him into doing things that his heart is not after is something I could connect with
Nay's to
  • Hindi film industry could have been portrayed with much more depth. Yes, the topics of casting couch, drug abuse and closet gays has been shown but lacks the intensity and layered touch.
  • Predictive twists
Final Word :-

A quote I saw on Pinterest would sum it all up


Author    :   Rishi Vohra
Price       :  INR 299/-
Publisher :  Jaico Publishing House
Category : Fiction
Recommendation : A huge Thumbs Up!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

God is a Gamer - A Book Review

A few months back I got a forward that gave a rather cheeky lesson on understanding Banking ----
funny pics


Well, we have come a long way from what banking was; modern technological advancements have made the realm of banking easy as well as dangerous. While the many merits of online banking cannot be easily explained, there is equally a virtual assault over innocent victims and an increase in cyber crimes.

I still have a set of wary elders who balk at the idea of net banking and prefer to do it the conventional way. Well, the murky world online does intimidate us but that means we have to be extra alert and cautious !

Talking of uber savvy technological advancements,Bitcoins are another milestone in the domain of virtual banking that promises to take the world by storm. Still at an experimental stage the term was first coined by Satoshi Nakomoto whose real identity remains elusive. It is speculated that the brain(s) behind the virtual currency may be one or a group of people and this train of thought has been given a rich and a well imagined identity by Ravi Subramanian in his latest book "God is a Gamer'.

I have read Ravi's The Bankster and loved his style of writing. So this book was immensely anticipated and it did not let me down. From the sandy beaches of Goa to the Congress in Washington, all traversing effortlessly between FBI head quarters and Mumbai's corporate board rooms, the book is a delightful blend of mystery, suspense, lust, love, and a heady mix of murder and heist.

Aditya, the ex-banker's Indiscape, the top Gaming company is in doldrums and when his estranged son returns , his personal and professional front sees an upswing. And then comes a murder and things go awry.

So who is the hunter and who is hunted? Read the book----

Verdict (Yay's & Nay's)

Yay to

  • Juggling many parallel plots all over the globe, the book is well written and has a lucid narrative style. The fact that 99 odd chapters are kept short and crisp adds to the easy understanding. I did not have to constantly go back and remind myself of the characters. 
  • Twists & turns keeps you hooked.
  • Though loaded with technical jargon, it was easy to understand and relate to.
  • Liked the punchlines thrown in the book. Sample these
    • The world around you is changing—either adapt or perish.
    • Shit was happening— but you have got to clean up the mess and move on.
    • Reputation has no insurance.
Nay to
  • The plot became predictable at the end though I liked the rationale behind the perpetrator's decision to wreak havoc.
  • The many hues of gaming industry has been well explored and in that sense the book is strictly not a banking thriller.
  • Sensuous tales weaved in between does not add anything to the story. I thought it was just to titillate the masses and hence totally unwarranted.
  • While the story explains all about bitcoins, the wallet and its working, no mention of how to change them into real life currency.
  • No mention of money recovered from Josh’s apartment being credited back to the customers. The liability of the service render could have been grossly reduced thereby.
  • There was no single hero. Was there a hero or a villain ?
Final Word :-

All in all , a thriller that promises to bare the cloudy waters of life online. 

Author    :   Ravi Subramanian
ISBN        :  9780143421399
Price       :  INR 299/-
Publisher :  Penguin
Category  : Fiction 
Recommendation : Thumbs Up !

Thankyou Blogadda for the autographed book.

This review is a part of the Book Review by Bloggers at blogadda. Participate now to get free books!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Postcards from Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkady

Want to experience an up, close and personal affair with wild life? Well, Thekkady is the place you gotta be. We went for a 2 day trip (+ of course the commute to & fro) in the first week of March; just when the exam fever was at its peak. This meant the place was relatively uncluttered. All we spotted was a bevy of newly married couples busy locking eyes with each other. They sure need to come back again to enjoy the sanctary :P :D
Thekkady is the home to a sprawling wild life sanctuary named after the Periyar river. This perennial river has its source in this sanctuary and hence the name to the sanctuary. The sanctuary is a rich repository of flora life and is abounded by evergreen and moist deciduous forests and grass lands. Herds of elephants, sambar deer, gaurs, nilgiri langurs, Indian giant squirrels, sloth bears among others grace this forest and cavort with ease in this natural habitat. Besides many winged beauties including Cormorants, sun birds, kingfishers, thrush, mynas go about their life with a chirrup & flourish. Spread over Patthanamithra and Idukkki, the sanctuary along the western ghats is nature at its very best. A massive portion of the sanctuary had been converted in to a national park since 1982 and hence visiting tourist can enjoy wild life at close quarters.

The sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve in 1978. But it is a matter of sheer luck if you happen to spot the striped majestic beast as they generally don't appear during the day. However sighting other animals keeps us enthralled.

We stayed in Aranya Nivas, a  Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) property . A lovely resort situated inside the wild life sanctuary, the hotel offers a variety of eco tourism programmes like wildlife boat crusies on the periyar lake, nature walk, hiking and rafting, Jungle safari, elephant ride and plantation tours so that the visiting tourists can go back satiated and soul happy. Except for the rafting and plantation tour, we managed to explore quite a bit of the options. However the 2 day trip was just not enough and left us completely hungry for more.

Boating on the Periyar lake gave us a peek into the wildlife. The tickets were arranged by the hotel on our intimation to them saving us from standing in a mile long queue.

We saw herds of bison, sambar and elephants leisurely trotting along the banks of the lake.

 Besides, the boat ride gave us a glimpse of many birds happily perched on the tree stumps. It was a pleasure clicking these birds and my hard disk is full of the various nuances of these birds.

Just before we left for the boating the monkeys on the pavement leading towards the lake had us mightily amused.

While in the sanctuary, we also explored Gavi Ecotourism..... Gavi as the pamphlet let us on is situated along the fringes of the tiger reserve.We went by a jeep arranged by the hotel after getting the permit a day before. The 20 km or so ride through the jungle early in the morning was a refreshing journey.

Gavi simply did not warrant a few hours stay. With its lush grass lands and dense forest, the place spells P.R.O.M.I.S.E to keep us enchanted. But we contented in staying on just to enjoy a boat ride and a nature walk. 

We were accompanied by a guide, a local fella named Kasinath. He was a treasure trove of information. The nature walk accompanied by him saw us climbing highs and lows of the forest. He so expertly guided us and also showed us the cardamom plantations explaining us how it sustains the livelihood of localites

The highlight of the 2 day trip in Thekkady was a mommy & baby elephant that had come down to play in the lake and after having a thoroughly refreshing bath went ahead and has all the fun in the sand.

All in all a trip etched with tranquil and sweet memories....

How to reach :-

Cochin International Airport - 5 hrs
Madurai International- 3 1/2 hrs
Nearest Rail Terminal - Kottayam
Drive down from Trichy/Madurai - Around 4 hours.

While the park is open throughout the year, the best time to visit would be after september till march. However nothing to stop you from packing your bags right now and go wild-life seeing!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

You are the architect of your own happiness !

We are the architects of our happiness ! This thought resonated with me throughout the week and I penned a lil something that echoes my mindset.

Exude joy and shed off negativity,
Nurture a dream and make it a reality.

Embrace change and continuously evolve,
Give and take respect, come let's all resolve.

Keep anger in check and let there be no grudge,
Spread warmth and sunshine and believe in 'God' the ultimate judge.

Accept failures in your stride and work towards success,
Remember, you are the architect of your own happiness.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sorting Out Sid - A Book Review

I came across this picture from Google Images a few days back and it sent me into peals of laughter. My hubby's comment "spideman's shaadi ke side effects" further sent me into clutching my tummy and rolling over with laughter. 

Jokes apart, marriage is a huge commitment and it is happily-ever-after only if both the parties work towards it. Like Mignon Mclaughlin says 'A successful marriage requires falling in love many times and always with the same person'. 

I love Yashodhara's style of writing. Her blog and later her debut book Just Married Please Excuse showed us her tongue-in-cheek humour. Her latest offering Sorting Out Sid takes her writing skills a notch higher as she effortlessly blends humour into staid and monotonous situations. She highlights today's relationships with panache.

Sid the hero of the story is a happy-go lucky chap; who at the onset appears to have it all. A flourishing career, a happy marriage and a set of cool friends whom he hangs out with regularly - the world sees him as truly blessed. But all is not well as there are a lot of chinks in his armor. His marriage of 15 long years is going nowhere, his work where he gets promoted as the youngest V.P. offers him no respite as he is surrounded by a boss who appears a moron. His life gets a breather when he meets a charming divorcee named Neha through a close friend, with whom he has a few initial fracas. First impression is surely not the last impression vis-a-vis Neha!

I could relate to Sid as he dons on various masks while dealing with people/situations; so out comes the witty office Sid, party Sid etc. Don't we all, at some point of time in our life, resort to such disguises to get through difficult but unavoidable moments? Sid's conversations with his soul mate Brownie gives a glimpse of the solitariness and emptiness within him. Another character that caught my attention was the cheerful albeit intrusive and overbearing pal Aditi. There is a mention of something more to their relationship but she is a rock of support. 

The book is a breezy refreshing read and is laced with dry humour and self deprecating yet light moments. It never goes into a preachy mode;  rather it is something that we all can relate to or probably know someone like the characters in this story. The message of Work-in –progress was profound, implying that we all have our quirks and idiosyncrasies but as long as there is an urge to learn and unlearn we are sorted for life.

Yays & Nays :-

Yays to :-

  • Lucid narrative and extremely relatable characters.
  • A fun take on the reality of a person's life.
  • Sensitivity rules supreme as the protagonist goes through a variety of situations and emotions with an innate goodness.
  • An over-bearing father, an ever-doting mom, hectic work schedule, faltering relations, personal issues etc are dealt with by a well rounded balance of seriousness, mirth and laughter.
  • Absolutely rocking cover!
Nays to :-

  • Mandira’s character was given a weak deal. The author could have delved more in to what her issues really were; probably some couples are never meant to be but still 15 years is a long period of time to get away without some serious talking over.
  • The book could have done with a more slick editing. While page 71 talks about 15 years of togetherness, page 113 puts it as a 10 year companionship.
Final Word :-

A light n breezy read of real life situations.

Author    :   Yashodhara Lal
ISBN        :  9789350296912
Price       :  INR 250/-
Publisher :  Harper Collins
Category  : Fiction 
Recommendation : Double Thumbs Up !

P.S. - Thank you Yashodara for the book, my Hubby finished the book in 3 days flat with a smirk on his face and compared me with Sid :( especially for the emotional tantrums.