Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Some days are just blah!

It starts with a small itchy sensation in your nose and a scratchy feeling in your throat. You sneeze a few times and blame it on the dust and pollution and carry on with your day. You sniffle a few times and think that it will go away on its own. Such dumb thoughts lull you into a sense of security and you sleep off thinking tomorrow is a new day.

Next day dawns and the scratchy feeling that you happily ignored is making your throat hurt like hell. The only consolation is that you now have a voice that is a cross between a squeak and a roar, which you plan to call husky. Your friends ask you to verify your identity because you sound "kind off weird","like Marlon Brando in Godfather". Any man would have given his left arm for such a compliment, but you just fume. You tell them they are jealous because your voice sounds sexy.

You hear raucous laughter when you say that and even though you angrily want to bang the phone down, you stop yourself. You look at the delicate instrument in your hand and realize that you are still paying off the EMI's for the cell phone in your hand. You use a few cuss words and go to your Yoga class thinking that it will miraculously stop that dreaded itch and turn you into a normal sounding person. Yoginis in the class shower you with all types of home remedies to counter your cough. People who have never smiled at you in class, proffer recipes of concoctions at warp speed. Giving advice is our number one hobby, kya karein, we are like this only. Recipes in hand you march home to kick the cough in its crotch.

By the time you come back, your nose has developed a mind of its own and has started leaking at the rate of 4 droplets per second. Handkerchiefs and you have never had an amicable relationship, considering that you left those suckers at all sorts of places or dropped them unceremoniously from your hand on countless occasions. You run back and forth to the bathroom begging your nose to have mercy on you. In one of the trips a bulb literally lights up in your brain and you remember that pack of tissues that have been languishing at the bottom of your purse from "Baba Adam ka zamana". You tear open the packet and thank "Fresh Ones" for saving you from drowning in your own snot.

Before something else happens, you frantically check your kitchen cupboards for  all the ingredients for the home remedies like  Honey, Turmeric, Black Pepper, Ajwain, Tulsi etc. You have most of the stuff at hand but now realize that because of infomation overload, you have forgotten the exact combinations in which ingredients are to be used. You take a bowl, dump all the ingredients one by one, stir it and gulp all of it together, thinking that some days are just blah!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Winner of Caption Contest 27 "You think you are funny?"

Here are the winners of the Caption Contest 27  ‘You think you are funny?’

This time I have received a lot of interesting captions for the picture and it was quite difficult to choose the right one. But choose I had to and here are the winners....

A Walk into the Woods A moment please, let me finish the 'Bhakt Count Update' report.

Jairam Mohan : "Presenting "Online Wealth Management Options by Goddess Lakshmi"

Picture Courtesy :


Drop me a mail at and I will mail you the trophy.

Hope to see you in another round of Caption Contest SOON.

Friday, 6 September 2013

A woman of many hues

She was my first friend on foreign soil. She held my hand and was a strong support for me, when I moved to the UK and settled in a new job. Her name is Nirali Pandya and she plays many roles every day, that of a friend, a wife, a mother and an entrepreneur. I know her since the past 6 years and each day I see her achieving new milestones in her life. 

Nirali at her desk

When you meet Nirali, you can see the effervescence and the enthusiasm bubbling from her personality. Set within her small frame is the determination and drive to achieve her dreams. Coming from a Gujarati family, entrepreneurship was always in Nirali's blood. She worked for a SEO firm while in UK and so starting her own Web design and SEO company when she moved to India was a natural progression. Also it was important for her to maintain flexible work hours as she was juggling pregnancy, her business and home all at the same time.

Nhance Web solutions Pvt. Ltd. started its operations in June 2009 from a 400 sq ft rented space in Ahmedabad with a staff of just 5 people. The company provides Website design and development, SEO and customized software development services. It has now grown and employs 28 people and has a turnover of nearly Rupees 1.2 crores per year.

Nirali says she could make this possible only because of the support of her family. Her husband Nishit has been her pillar of strength, her father-in-law has also been very co-operative and so have her twin boys aged 4. Nirali's mother has a significant role to play in her success. Bhavnaben supports Nirali by taking care of the boys everyday and is especially helpful when she works UK shifts that go on till 11 in the night during Winter days. 

Neither pregnancy nor autoimmune illness like Rheumatoid Arthritis have stopped Nirali from doing what she wanted. She has never missed a single day of work because of her illness, such is her willpower. From decision making, guiding employees to handling clients, she does it all. She believes in having a very friendly environment at work and is open to suggestions from her employees. Her kind nature and friendly demeanor automatically makes people listen to her.  

For Nirali, weekends are sacred, that is when she spends time with her twin boys Swar and Swarit. She unwinds by going shopping or watches a movie.  She tells me that weekends keep her sane as other days are filled with activities right from the moment she opens her eyes. 

Nirali with Nishit and twins Swar and Swarit

Nhance Web solutions Pvt. Ltd. now caters to clients in the UK and USA. Nirali's vision for the future of her company is to explore and work for clients in the Middle East and Australia. She wants to concentrate mainly on providing customized software development services with speed and precision.

When I ask Nirali "What advice will you give budding women entrepreneurs?", She replies 

"Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. Women have immense courage and determination. Don't doubt yourself, take that decision and just start your business and success will automatically follow".

When I ask her "What does independence mean to you?"

She says "Financial security and standing on my own feet is what  independence means to me. The ability and the right to take my own decisions is what I call as being independent". 

With this I wrap the interview and realize that don't most women crave Independence...being able to make their own decisions and at the same time have the support of their loved ones. 

Nirali has played a significant role in my life. She is the one who helped me make the career change from a 9-5 job to that of a writer.  I will always be thankful to her for believing in me and giving me a chance to write for her company. Because of her encouragement I was able to make a jump into the totally new world of content writing. 

Written for the Indiblogeshwaris Ladies Independence Special Contest in association with 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Caption Contest 27 "You think you are funny?"

This is Caption Contest 27 'You think you are funny?

Please give a caption to the picture below:

Image Courtesy:

All the Best. 

P.S: For those people who would like to know the rules, please check here

Friday, 30 August 2013

The Split 3

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 before you read this:

Shruti walks briskly avoiding the traffic in the bustling market place. She is out to buy Lotus flowers, Tulsi leaves and Coconuts for the Ganesh Pooja next day. The Ganesh Mandal in the market is practicing their Dhol and Tasha routine with full fervor and Shruti can feel the vibrations of the pounding Dhol. She quickly finishes her shopping and hails an autorickshaw to take her home. At the traffic light the autorickshaw comes to a halt. As the driver waits for the light to turn Green, Shruti spots a familiar figure in the adjacent car. She does not recognize the car or the woman sitting next to Vikas. Shruti watches the woman talk animatedly and the way Vikas smiles at her as he replies. They are both engrossed in their conversation and don't see her. 

Shruti leans back in her seat quickly so that Vikas does not spot her. Her heart is pounding and her mind is in a whirl. "Who is that woman?" and "Why is Vikas with her?" are the two questions that keep hounding her. She wonders of the relationship the two share, are they friends or something more than friends? Is Vikas having an affair with the strange woman, she wonders. 

The past few months have been exceptionally difficult for Shruti and Vikas. The miscarriage has put a strain on their marriage to such an extent, that she is not sure whether Vikas even loves her now. They do share a bed but were more like strangers travelling together in the same train compartment. 

Shruti quickly wipes the tears that have sprung up, as the autorickshaw comes to a halt in front of her apartment complex. She enters an empty flat carrying the bags, Radhabai has gone to her hometown for Ganesh Chaturthi. Shruti's mind does not stop wondering about the woman and Vikas. She can clearly remember his smile and the way he had looked at the strange woman. She is not able to remember the last time Vikas had made her laugh like that. The now familiar sense of depression blankets her emotions and Shruti starts crying in despair. As the evening draws near, Shruti curls up into a ball on the kitchen floor sobbing uncontrollably. The darkness envelopes her and she is sucked deeper into the void. 

When Shruti opens her eyes, the harsh lights make her wince. The antiseptic smell pervades her nose. Her whole body is throbbing and her left hand feels as if it is on fire.  She looks towards it and slowly comes to the realization that she is lying in a hospital bed with a saline drip and a bandaged hand. She can see Vikas sitting with his head in his hands and then with a jolt she remembers the kitchen knife and the blood dripping from her hand.

She calls out to Vikas, he looks up to her with tears in his eyes. He comes to her and holds her hand. She looks into his eyes and can see his pain and sorrow. They both start weeping together for their stillborn child. They weep for what they had lost and for the life they had wanted together.

Image courtesy: Google

Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Split 2

Shruti's reverie was broken as Vikas walked in the kitchen and picked up his cup of tea and sat in front of the television, to watch a Cricket match. She sat at the dining table with her tea wondering when things had changed so much. She had started noticing his long absences just a month back. He was in the shower every morning or getting dressed by the time she got up. Most days he rushed out of the house without eating any breakfast and came late at night, after she was already in bed. On the face of it everything appeared normal and anyone who knew them would not find anything different about them either. 

Shruti knew that something had changed imperceptibly between her and Vikas after the miscarriage. It was as if an invisible barrier had grown between them. Their conversations had become cursory and whenever they did talk, it was about mundane everyday things. Many times the silence between them was so thick that she felt she could cut it with a knife. 

Every morning as Shruti lay in bed watching the sun rays quietly enter the room, she could still smell the distinct scent of Vikas's Old Spice aftershave. The smell that evoked memories of so many mornings of tangled bed covers and lying in bed in his arms. The passion of his touch and his warm breath stroking her cheeks. Shruti looked over at the impression in the bed, where Vikas slept and thought of him longingly. Vikas had moved to sleeping in the guest bedroom so as not to disturb her, when he got up early, to go to work. 

The yawning distance between them had slowly grown over time, as Shruti had withdrawn from everyone after the miscarriage. The loss of the baby had been devastating, especially since she had come to know that she had very little chance of ever getting pregnant again. It was a miracle that she had been pregnant in the first place. Vikas had been like a rock, standing next to her through the ordeal. He had been patient and understanding with her. He tried to cheer her up by making dinner and movie plans so that she would start getting back to her old self. 

Shruti avoided his touch and feigned tiredness every time Vikas tried to become intimate. Not that she had stopped loving Vikas, it was that every time Vikas came close to her, she felt ashamed of her body. Her body, which had deceived her into thinking that she could give life. She felt as if she had cheated him out of becoming a father, something which he had wanted so strongly. The futility of it all, washed over her and made her push him away. And so the distance had grown, both she and Vikas were like two ships passing each other in the storm. As Vikas spent more and more time away from home, Shruti became even more lonely. 

The next part will follow shortly...

Click here to read the first part of "The Split".

Friday, 23 August 2013

The Split

Part 1

I am making the filling for Ukdiche Modak, a sweet made as an offering to Lord Ganesha on Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival celebrated by Maharashtrians all over the world. One needs to use deft fingers to mold the hot rice paste into domes, filling it with the sugar and coconut mixture. My hands are moving with practiced dexterity as my mind moves unfettered to places in the dark recesses of my mind, when my thoughts are broken by the door bell. 

Radha bai opens the door and says 'Tai, saheb aale' (madam, your husband is home). Vikas walks in with his laptop bag and picks up the mail lying on the coffee table. He looks tired and had hardly been home these days. His excuse is "there is too much work at the office". Without giving a glance in my direction, he drops his bag on the sofa and goes to the bathroom to wash his face. Radha bai puts a vessel on the gas stove to make tea for us. 

I had hired Radha bai to work with us full time, six months back, in anticipation of the baby's arrival. What with keeping awake late nights for feeds and diaper changes, I knew I would not be able to handle the baby and the house all alone.  My mother had passed away when I was in college and I was the only child. I had no one from my family to help me take care of the baby. Vikas's father did not keep good health so my mother in law already had her hands full. Radhabai had taken care of many small babies in other houses. She knew how to bathe and give oil massage to the baby. 

As I smell the tea and the ginger, I touch my flat belly and remember that unfortunate day, when my world came crashing down. The unnatural cramps in my abdomen and a visit to the bathroom was all it took for me to realize something was terribly wrong. As Ritu, my next door neighbor took me to the Gynecologist, I knew deep in my heart that I had lost the baby. The days after the miscarriage are so hazy in my mind. They seem distant and at the same time so close..the memory of those days still leaves me breathless. 

Both Vikas and I had been ecstatic when we got to know that I was pregnant. Ours was a love marriage and even before we were married we knew we wanted children. There was the usual flurry of doctor's appointments and reading baby books in the first few months. Friends who were parents chipped in with their own advice. We started decorating the guest bedroom and turned it into a nursery. Tiny baby clothes and booties made my heart burst with happiness. 

To read the next part, click here.

Disclaimer : This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Some bit of drivel and other wow moments

I know, I have been blogging sporadically and not visiting other blogs. The dwindling comments on my previous posts are a testimony for this erratic behavior. Okay... I have to admit, I have been plain lazy, distracted and having quite bit of fun. 

What when the elder sis comes to India, with my adorable niece and nephew (twins). Life just came to a standstill, for me, when I went to my hometown and met these munchkins. I had forgotten what fun it was to be a child and to draw and color and play hide and seek. Among numerous rounds of playing UNO and putting mehendi on tiny chubby hands...time just flew by. Sticky kisses and the sound of "minnie mousie" (that is what they call me) is what I miss the most now. Going on shopping trips to our old college day haunts and new malls with sis darling consumed my time.

It is been good two weeks since I am back home, but I am just not able to shake off the hangover of those two marvelous weeks. Doing bucket loads of laundry and dusting the house was how I was jolted back to reality. 

Life fell back to the old rhythm, work poured in and consumed some part of my life. I saw some god awful movies like "Once upon a time in Mumbai- Dobara" (more on that in a later post) and somewhat bearable "Chennai express". SRK needs to start doing character roles pronto...he looks plain old.

Then came the Indiblogeshwaris (this is a group on Facebook exclusively for women bloggers)  meet. Earlier,I had plans to join the gang in Lonavala the next day. But fate intervened and I landed meeting up the merry gang of women at a popular restaurant in amchi Mumbai. 

The next day a gang of chatty and absolutely fun women loaded themselves in a car and off we went to Lonavala for a short break. The outing was just what the doctor ordered, refreshing and rejuvenating. I got to know this mad gang of women who know how to laugh and have the time of their lives. I am glad I chose to go.

The weather was perfect and all around you could see the entire valley was looking like a beautiful bride, decked in Green, which is the auspicious color of prosperity.

Leaving you with some misty shots of Lonavala.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Winner of Caption Contest 26 "You think you are funny?"

Here is the winner of the Caption Contest 26  ‘You think you are funny?’  
This time I have received couple of comments on my Linkedin Page and the winning Caption is from 

Mujib Ahmed Khan : Cleanliness Drive...!!!


Drop me a mail at and I will mail you the trophy.

Hope to see you in another round of Caption Contest this Wednesday.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Caption Contest 26 "You think you are funny?"

This is Caption Contest 26 'You think you are funny?

Please give a funny caption to the picture below.

Picture Courtesy: Google

All the Best. 

P.S: For those people who would like to know the rules, please check here

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Top 10 tips to become a Successful Freelance Writer

I often get queries from people asking me advice on how to became a freelance writer. I feel it is quite flattering but at the same time becomes difficult to explain each time. To make it easier on everyone, I figured it made sense to write about the top 10 tips to become a successful freelance writer and next time someone asks me, I can just pass them this link.

These days content writing has become one of the most common freelance activity one can do, sitting in the comfort of their homes. This does not mean anyone and everyone can become a successful freelance writer. Though it sounds easy, you need to possess a certain skill set to be successful, just like you need for any other job.

Image courtesy:

Here are the tips for you:

1) Love for writing: You need to love writing and have a flair for it. If you eat, sleep and dream writing, then this job is perfect for you. Not only will you need that passion but also the creativity to write on a variety of subjects.

2) Proficiency in grammar: Being proficient in grammar is a necessity. Without good grammar your writing will be like a ship without sails. Poor grammar will not get you good writing gigs and you will also earn significantly lower.

3) Passionate about reading : All successful writers read a lot as it helps them to not only increase their vocabulary, but also helps them to learn many different styles of writing. 

4) Good typing skills: Since you will need to write a lot as a freelance writer, it is imperative that you develop good typing skills and know how to work on a computer.

5) Good vocabulary: Having a rich vocabulary will help you create content that is appealing to the reader, which in turn will pay you better. 

6) Compromise: When you are just starting out as a freelance writer, you might find it difficult to find work. There are plenty of online sites that provide work where you can go and bid. You might have to quote a lesser price till you build your portfolio. Once you are established, you can ask for the price you want.

7) Start your own blog: This will give you an opportunity to exercise your grey cells. A blog will also help you to get feedback from readers. This will help you understand where you need to improve and what works with the readers.

8) Time management skills are important. As you will be working on your own, there will ample opportunities to get lost in the swirl of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. This can be disastrous and you can forget about your deadlines. You need to carefully plan all your assignments and stick to the timetable.

9) Make a good online profile. If you can have your own website, it will act as your online business card and help you get more work. Include the work you have done for clients in your website. 

10) Last but not the least, patience and perseverance are inherent qualities of a good freelance writer. Even when you face difficulties the key to success is to keep searching for work with perseverance. You will take time to build a reputation so you need to be patient.

Hope these tips help you in your endeavour to becoming a freelance writer. If you are already an expert freelance writer, what has been your experience? 

I would love to know your views.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Winner of Caption Contest 25

Here is the winner of the Caption Contest 25 ‘You think you are funny?’  

Drop me a mail at and I will mail you the trophy.

Hope to see you in another round of Caption Contest this Wednesday.

Friday, 12 July 2013

The Reluctant Fundamentalist - A Book Review

I read this book mainly out of curiosity for it's name and the name "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" is quite so apt for the book. The movie release also prompted me to read it. I believe in reading books and then watching movies, as most times the nuances in a book are lost in translation during the making of a movie.

The entire story of "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" is a narrative by the main character called Changez a Pakistani man, to a stranger who is an American. The setting of the story is a single evening in a Lahore Cafe where Changez tells the American about his life in America, his love affair with an American woman and finally the reason why he abandoned his life there and returned home.

The entire story is in a monologue format and not once throughout the book do we see any words being spoken by the American. After a while you get the feeling that Changez is narrating you his life's story. 

The book is simply brilliant because of the way in which the author has presented Changez's character. How he goes through an inner turmoil and self loathing when he starts enjoying his life in America, but is reluctant to whole heartedly accept the American way of living.  

Princeton graduate Changez is very happy with his success and joins an elite financial company in New York, where he prospers and is well liked by his boss. He soon gets immersed in Mahattan's hip social circle and falls in love with his Princeton classmate Erica, who is still pining for her dead childhood sweetheart. He seems to be well on his way to becoming an American.

Then, the twin towers fall. His life changes radically and Changez faces suspicion and hostility from those around him. He makes the chilling admission that his sympathies were with the attackers in spite of his passionate immigrant embrace of the American way of life. This duality in his thoughts is what makes him reluctant.

The books is engrossing and the language is simple. Mohsin Hamid has done a marvellous job and you can clearly understand the thought process of Changez and the dramatic change in him.The climax of the book is taut with suspense.

There are some books and characters that stay with you for a long time, even after you have finished reading them long back. This book is one of them and is a must read for book lovers.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Caption Contest 25 "You think you are funny?"

This is Caption Contest 25 'You think you are funny?

Please give a funny caption to the picture below.

Image Courtesy : Google

All the Best. 

P.S: For those people who would like to know the rules, please check here

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Lootera - A movie review

I had read mixed reviews about Lootera so I was a bit hesitant to watch it. I went with an open mind and boy I was not disappointed. Lootera is based on O'Henry's short story "The last leaf". I had read this story during my school days and as such knew the plot of story. I have not seen Vikramaditya Motwane's directorial d├ębut "Udaan", but had heard a lot of praise for it. "Lootera" stands the acid test and is one fine piece of art.

The film is set in 1953, during the time, when Zamindari abolition act was about to be passed. Varun (Ranveer Singh) is an archaeologist who comes for a dig to Pakhi's (Sonakshi Sinha) fathers land. Their encounter slowly blossoms into romance, which later turns into betrayal for Pakhi, when Varun disappears from her life. Their next chance counter is after a year in a remote cabin in Dalhousie when Pakhi is struggling to deal with her emotions for the man she once loved and Varun seeks atonement for his misdeeds.

The movie moves at a languid pace, but at no time you want to take your eyes away from the screen. The cinematography is sheer poetry on celluloid. The dialogues are few and in many scenes the eyes and the body language do the talking. The director takes his time with all his scenes. The period setting makes the perfect backdrop for the romance between the lead pair. There is elegance in the setting, from the haveli, the crockery, Pakhi's sarees and jewellery to the old Chevrolet car. The chemistry between the actors is pure and intense. 

Lootera is out and out a romantic film, even though the story includes an element of mystery, when you take into consideration the burglary angle. To make a short story into a full length film is a tough task. Even then, the writers have kept the storyline and genre on track. The movie loses a bit of steam in the second half, when you want to understand the psyche of Pakhi and why she believes that her life will ebb away as the tree in her courtyard sheds its leaves. You don't get any answer to that question. 

Ranvir Singh is wonderful and has given a very restrained performance. The movie ultimately belongs to Sonakshi Sinha, who dazzles us with her acting. A very mature performance, where she is able to bring the character of Pakhi to life. The music is very melodious and in keeping with the mood of the movie. The background score only adds to the mood of a scene.

Lootera is a unique movie, one which we get to see rarely these days. With all the Masala movies with their fight scenes and item numbers, Lootera will quietly make you skip a heart beat and you will get immersed in the love story of Pakhi and Varun.  

I would recommend this movie only to those people who love movies and would know what a good movie is all about.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Winner of Caption contest 24 ' You think you are funny?"

Here is the winner of the Caption Contest 24 ‘You think you are funny?’  
Seena : "Special Recession Offer - Hire One get One free - Gardener cum Barber - comes with own tools ".


Drop me a mail at and I will mail you the trophy.

Hope to see you in another round of Caption Contest this Wednesday.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Caption Contest 24 "You think you are funny?"

This is Caption Contest 24 'You think you are funny?

Please give a funny caption to the picture below.

All the Best. 

P.S: For those people who would like to know the rules, please check here

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Sab Chalta Hai

The "sab chalta hai" attitude of Indians is quite famous and many even take pride in having this state of mind. Have we become a society which is used to accepting a mediocre quality of life? Are we so immune to this attitude of our fellow countrymen that we don't stop to think twice whether it is right or wrong?
Image courtesy:
Everyday we face these situations, where "thoda adjust kar lo" has become a slogan of sorts. I believe that unless we live in a different country/place where things are much better managed, we can never know the difference. 

I have noticed these very annoying habits amongst people and they remain the same wherever you go in India.

1) What Queue?: People have no patience to wait in a queue for their turn. I have seen it happening at a number of places. People will push and shove you to be first at the movie ticket window or they will completely bypass the entire line and form a second line in front of that window. They completely flout norms of decency. These people irk me a lot, they make people who stand patiently for their turn look like fools. 
I wonder what happens to people while disembarking an air plane. I feel too much oxygen and cabin pressure affects their brains. There is such a rush to get down from the plane as if it is on fire and one needs to escape immediately. Even before the plane has completely halted and the seat belt signs have been switched off, passengers have this mad rush to pull down their luggage from overhead cabins. 

Have you tried shopping for groceries at a supermarket on a Sunday? It is like visiting kumbh ka mela where, if you don't hang on to your dear trolley, you don't know if you will ever be able to come out in one piece. You have to fiercely guard your place in the queue, as there are many people who can sneak in when you are not concentrating. 

2) Mere baap ka raasta hai (My father owns this road) : Driving on Indian roads is literally going on a war path. You never know when an enemy in his car will run you over. Rash driving is the name of the game.  Half the morons on the road have no driving sense and are clueless about lane driving. I also blame the RTO for giving a licence to all and sundry. 

Many have separation anxiety with their horns and need to comfort themselves by constantly honking it for no reason. I fail to understand the point of blowing the horn, when the driver can see that  the other vehicles in front of him can't go any faster or give him way.  At such times I feel like beating up the driver or doing something equally violent (see what I meant by going to war). 

With an endless mass of humanity on the Indian roads, a few bumps and scratches to our vehicle are to be expected. But, there are times when people will damage your car badly because of their driving and will not bother to even acknowledge or pay for it. 

Driving on the wrong side of the road is a matter of pride. Waiting in your vehicle at the Zebra crossing with bated breath  and zooming off even before the signal turns green, is another adventure sport. Some people believe that following traffic rules is for suckers and since "Mere baap ka rasta hai" those rules don't apply to me.

3) Not my property, so why should I bother : Recently I saw someone, who without any qualms plucked a plant from someone's well tended garden, without taking their permission. When I asked that person why she did it, she said it's just a plant. I asked wouldn't she have been embarrassed if the owner had walked in on her. She said big deal, I would anyway get the plant, right? My jaw dropped when I heard her careless answer. The end justifies the means for such people. 

Same is the case with our roads, historic monuments and government buildings. People defile, urinate and spit wherever it is convenient for them. I can never forget my trip to the Ajanta and Ellora caves, where some of the caves containing centuries old murals and carvings were turned into toilets. As long as my house is neat and tidy, I will not bother about anything or anyone, such is the attitude of our brethren.

These bad habits have become so deep rooted in our genetic make-up that it will only take a miracle to break the pattern. Our culture of which we are so proud does not teach us these things. Then, why this "Sab chalta hai" attitude about everything? Isn't it time we stop this, nahi to aise hi sab chalega. 

Monday, 1 July 2013

Winner of Caption Contest 23 "You think you are funny?"

Here is the winner of the Caption Contest 23, ‘You think you are funny?’  

Rachna Parmar : Your tooth is just a stone's throw away!


Drop me a mail at and I will mail you the trophy.

Hope to see you in another round of Caption Contest this Wednesday.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Caption Contest 23 "You think you are funny?"

This is Caption Contest 23 'You think you are funny?

Please give a funny Caption to the picture below.

Image Courtesy: Google

All the Best. 

P.S: For those people who would like to know the rules, please check here

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

INFERNO by Dan Brown

If you are a die hard fan of Dan Brown then you will find his latest book "Inferno" a thrilling ride. I for one had to remind myself, to finish reading the book and put up the review for those unsuspecting people, who will pay through their noses to buy it.

Though it is on the New York times best seller list, the book failed to impress me. The book starts off well where Robert Langdon, the famed professor of 'Symbology' from Harvard, wakes up in a hospital suffering from amnesia and has a metal cylinder in his possession, which contains clues to solving the mystery. Robert Langdon fist appeared in the Da Vinci code. He teams up with a young doctor Sienna Miller in a journey, which moves from Florence to Venice and then Istanbul.

Image Courtesy: Dan Brown official website
As with his other novels, the plot remains the same, where it is a race against time, to save the world from imminent doom. Langdon using his knowledge of symbols finds clues, which are based solely on Dante's famous poem "The divine comedy". The plot has a lot of twists and turns and takes us through palaces and churches, which is quite similar to Dan Brown's other books. 

In the process of making the book interesting the prose gets too pedantic, lengthy and hampers the plot.The urgency of finding the one thing, that can save the world, is lost when Brown wavers and goes into an in-depth description of the places in the course of Langdon's journey. The plot seems to lose its grip in many places and I had to coax myself to feel the thrill that Brown had tried to create in the book. I felt that Robert Langdon in this novel did not seem as sharp as in other books and he also misses vital clues. 

There are many important questions that the book raises, which are very relevant today. With the population of the world spiralling out of control, will nature rectify this imbalance? What is the answer to controlling the population, so that we don't exhaust all the world's resources, which can lead to our extinction.

I had really liked the book Da Vinci Code, since it exploded in the literary world with a fresh plot and characters, but that feeling of being a fan slowly evaporated after reading "Digital fortress". After reading his other books, I felt Dan Brown's writing has become repetitive and predictable. 

The saving grace of this book are the interesting facts about all the historic places that are described in the book, which makes you want to see those places. My desire to explore Italy was ignited only after reading the Da vinci code. Even then, fans of Dan Brown will love the book and will devour it with fervour and might even curse my review. 

I love a book that makes it unputdownable and reading it should not feel like a chore. The characters have to come alive in my mind and the plot should be strong enough to make it engrossing. It does not have to move fast but it should hold my interest.

My recommendation:

Only buy the book if you are a die hard fan of Dan Brown. Rest of you can save your hard earned Rs. 750 by borrowing it from a library or another fan.

I would give the book 3 out of 5 points just for the sheer effort Dan Brown has put in research work.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Chalo Cinema Chalein- Let's go to the movies

I have been enchanted with movies since my childhood, especially Hindi cinema, just like any other living, breathing Indian. Cinema is an integral part of our lives and how much ever we deny it, we are crazy for our Bollywood movies and its music.
 My father was a movie fan when he was younger and I think I got his genes for being crazy about the movies. He is no longer interested in movies but my mother tells me that he used to buy books that had lyrics of Hindi movie songs. He also had a cassette collection, which had entire movies recorded on it. As a child, I must have heard the movies "Sholay" in its entirety more than 30 times and "Muqaddar ka Sikandar" for more than 15 times on our cassette player, even before I saw these movies on Television. I still remember all the dialogues of 'Sholay' very clearly, such was the power of cinema. 

Going to the movies has always been a magical experience for me. The city where I grew up had no multiplexes. We had single cinema halls that screened 4 shows in a day, with the first show starting at 12 noon, the next would be at 3 pm, then 6 pm and the last show was screened at 9 pm. If my sister and I wanted to see the 6 pm show, we needed to take permission from our parents and the night show was always out of bounds. All the movie halls had three types of seating arrangement. There was a Reserve category, which was cheapest price wise and was closest to the screen. The next was Balcony which was costlier and had some of the best seats and the last was stall, which was a raised balcony with very few seats and was exclusive. I never could afford the price for stall tickets and till now have never seen a movie from that section. 

The thrill of watching any movie first day, first show can not be experienced now. Today, one can sit comfortably in their own home and book tickets and even select their own seats. The hard work that took to procure tickets for a movie that is booked solid for weeks felt like an adventure. The joy of watching a movie before any of your friends made you feel great. I can still remember the peculiar mixture of sweat, urine and Samosas that permeated many of the theatres. Standing in a long line to book tickets was the usual norm. The man behind the ticket counter was akin to god and I would be praying all the time that the tickets would get sold out only after I had my movie ticket in my hand. 

While growing up, it was a big treat to see a movie and also get to eat Samosas and drink chilled Gold Spot in the interval. Popcorn was not so good as it would turn my fingers Yellow, but now I enjoy it a lot. Buying movie tickets in Black, by paying extra to some unscrupulous character was frowned upon, but was considered necessary, when the movie was a super hit and you just had to see it.

The movie posters and banners used to be hand painted earlier and the resemblance of the stars on the poster to their actual photograph was completely at the mercy of the artist who painted the posters. These were later replaced by very colourful posters depicting a few of the scenes from the movie. Now, the posters are glossy, attractive and sometimes entice you to see a movie that turns out to be a total dud.

I remember the excitement I felt, when I would go to watch a movie. I would be eager to search my seat and wait for the movie to start. There used to be that inevitable National films division documentary, an advertisement for "Vicco Vajradanti" cream and toothpaste and some depressing Black and White short film about agriculture. I would get fidgety and restless and then the movie would start. Three hours would rush by and I would be mesmerised and engrossed in the fights scenes, songs and the histrionics of the actors. 

The English movies were even a bigger treat as they were screened at only a few dedicated cinema halls. I have seen Benhur, Ten Commandments, Mackenna's Gold, Where Eagles dare and a lot of cowboy movies in the cinema hall with my sister. I had a secret crush on Charlton Heston and his Blue eyes.Many a times, I did not understand the American twang but the action scenes made the story quite clear. I have dragged so many of my friends to see even downright shoddy movies, such was the pull of cinema for me. 

Even today, I feel the same excitement and thrill, when I book those tickets and buy that bucket of popcorn and sit to experience the wonder of cinema. For those three hours, I forget my worries and  I am ready to be swept away on another wonderful adventure with the characters in the movie. 

This is my tribute to the 100 years of Indian cinema and to all the people who take us to breathtaking places and introduce us to stories that enrich our lives and make us feel emotions, we never knew, we had.

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