Once Upon A Crush - Book review

Sunday, November 2, 2014
Title: Once Upon A Crush
Author: Kiran Manral
Genre: Romantic/ Humor
Price: Rs 195 (Buy from Flipkart.com for Rs 160)
Number of pages: 224
Publisher: Jufic Books (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing)
ISBN-10: 9382473912
ISBN-13: 9789382473916

The Blurb:
Rayna De, stuck in a dead end job with a boss from hell, zero love life and the big 3-O looming large on the immediate horizon, has started to panic a bit. No, make that panic a lot. Enter new object of lust in the office, Deven Ahuja, and Rayna is overpowered by inappropriate visions of Cupid aiming his arrows straight into her heart, with turtle doves doing their billing and cooing act in the backdrop. Alas, Deven is completely out of Rayna's league despite the contradictory messages he seems to be sending out, and is, as decreed by page three supplements of the city newspapers, the man in the life of the gorgeous, light eyed model-turned-actress Sharbari Raina. As Rayna battles with her crush, shaky employment status and dithers about signing up for domesticity with the approved-by-her-parents Sid Bose, of the multi zero pay package and three-bedroom house, she discovers that life has its own plans...

About the Author:
Kiran Manral has worked with some of the leading media houses in India as a features writer and journalist. Her debut novel, The Reluctant Detective, was published in 2012. She lives with her family in Mumbai and puts her current job definition down as school gate mom.

My Review:
I usually do not read chick-flicks where the protagonist (a loner) talks about what a sad life she leads with no boyfriends, well-settled friends and how everything keeps on going wrong in her life when she finally bumps into Mr Awesome with whom she has no chance but wait she just might! This is one such kind of book and yet not only did I read it but enjoyed it thoroughly is because of the narration. Its absolutely amazing. The story is simple as I explained in the first line yet the way the author narrates it, at various instances you can find yourself or someone you know being portrayed. Quite a lot of situations are hand-picked from your life and that makes it interesting. You can easily correlate with the instances in her life and the weird people! ;)

Characters of the book don't seem alien to you - not fabricated as per their whims and fantasies - just people picked up from life. And yes, it's just another love story but not so much. By the end of the story, your heart beats for her desire- at least mine did. With all my heart, I just wanted her to be with the Mr Awesome and not the guy her parents found for her. I can't tell you which one she ends up with but by the climax, I felt as if my life's decision was being done there by her! It was the first time an author could get me that involved in a story! :)

Leaving you with some quotes from the book for you to appreciate her brilliant writing and sardonic humor:
“Post this shopping trip, I would be in such deep credit card hock that I would have to sign over my unborn children and hock my womb and eggs in triplicate to the bank.”
"... the funny wigs that airhostesses wore as part of their uniform, making them look like they were the airhostess version of Oompaloompas having emerged out of some cookie cutter airhostess factory run by Willi Wonka..."

My Rating: 4 out of 5 
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God Is A Gamer: Book Review

Friday, October 31, 2014
Title: God Is A Gamer
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Genre: Thriller/Fiction
Number of pages: 324
Publisher: Penguin Books India
ISBN-10: 0143421395
ISBN-13: 978-0143421399

The Blurb:

Aditya runs a gaming company that is struggling to break even. A banker slips off a highrise building, plunging to her death. The finance minister has made some promises that he is finding hard to keep. The LTTE has unleashed terror in America that sends the FBI on a wild goose chase, bringing them to Mumbai. Enter Varun, part time drug dealer and full time genius. He turns around the gaming company before disaster strikes. Meanwhile, the investigators plunge headlong into the shady world of bitcoins and the Dark Net, websites that only exist for illegal transactions—drugs, sex and money. God Is a Gamer culminates in a stunning climax where money means nothing, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems.

About the Author:
Ravi Subramanian, an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, has spent two decades working his way up the ladder of power in the amazingly exciting and adrenaline-pumping world of global banks in India. It is but natural that his stories are set against the backdrop of the financial services industry. He lives in Mumbai with his wife, Dharini and daughter, Anusha. In 2008, his debut novel, If God Was a Banker, won the Golden Quill Readers' Choice Award. The Incredible Banker won him the Economist Crossword Book Award in 2012.

My Review:
Ever since I read "If God was a banker" in 2007, I have been a fan of Ravi Subramanian's writing style. With each passing year, he brought out a new book (except for 2009) and I became an even bigger fan. He has authored 7 books till now, my favourite being "If God was a banker" and "The Bankster (review here)". No, I do not belong to a banking/financial background and yet he explains the banking concepts with such ease to the readers that even I understood everything (well, almost :P ). Latest in this category is the virtual world of money, Bitcoins. He has done an extensive search on Bitcoins before introducing it to the readers with its intricacies and technicalities, which shows perfectly in the novel. Also it is the first Bitcoin thriller in history, so yay a win-win!

Regarding the story and plot, it is a bit slow in the start but gradually picks up pace. The plot thickens with twists and turns and with involvement of FBI, White House and the LTTE, it takes very interesting turns. It is definitely a great thriller and a page-turner. In some places, I could skip some pages as it got too elaborate but overall a good read.

Quite unordinary, I couldn't feel connected to any character in particular. Also, there were too many characters and too much happening altogether that it became difficult to keep track of everything. I had to revisit some pages to remember the role of each character in the book. Felt like a cat played with a knitting wool ball and obviously left everything intertwined with knots!

A good read but not one of his best!

My Rating: 3 out of 5.
Who will like it: Thriller lovers, banking lovers, game lovers.
Who will not like it: Everyone else :P

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!
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A Healthy Child Makes A Happy Home

Monday, October 27, 2014
A healthy child makes a happy home, and not only home, they make a happy nation! That triggered the memories of "nanhe munhe bache teri muththi me kya hai? Muththi me hai takdeer hamari!" (O Child! What do you hold in your hands? Our future!). That song defines pretty much summarises all of my childhood memories. :P

Childhood, the best time of life.
No worries of deadlines, no stress about responsibilities, no tensions, no drama. Pure fun. 
Being the youngest at home and a girl, I have been a chatterbox all my life. My mom says I started speaking way before the normal age and that was obviously not understandable. :P Yet, I spoke, whether anyone could listen, decipher, understand or not. You know, being the younger one with an elder bro has its own advantages, he protects you from all the scoldings and spoils you as well. So, the sentence I grew up listening to was, "Thodi der chup bhi ho ja!" (Be quiet for at least some time!) My parents seriously used to bet with me if I could stay mum for 15 mins or half hour. And even with a luscious offer of chocolates, I always lost. 

Apart from my above described characteristics, I had one major characteristic! I was always prone to diseases - be it because of changing weather, a viral infection, bacterial infection - I always got sick. If it was out in the market, of course I had it! :-& And yes, that brought about quite a lot of silence in my home! :( One time, amidst my all diseases, I caught really high fever. It was the first rain of the season and I, being a rain-o-maniac, got completely drenched. That resulted in my another encounter with diseases - high fever this time! My mom thought that it was one of my usual falling sick, but as the night grew, so did my fever. She started the medications and the desi home remedies, but to no vain. Soon, everybody at home started getting worried and as the doctor was also unreachable in the middle of the night, they had to wait till morning. They put cold water strips on my forehead all night in wait of the morning. I still remember that night - longest in my life! Their usually-happy faces had become long with worry and tiredness and my body was burning like on fire. In the morning they got me admitted to the hospital and for some days, all I saw was their worried faces. But soon, I recovered and came back home but I pledged to take care of myself for I couldn't see my family being so sad because of me.

But my family was still worried because of my lack of immunity to diseases. They tried a few "tried-and-tested" formulae but nothing works on my stubborn body. Then finally, my mom figured the best remedy for increasing my immunity - Dabur Chyawanprash. It worked wonders for me and soon, my immunity did improve. Now, I wasn't the first person to catch these germs and infections, or even tenth for that matter!

I was super healthy and super-fit to pester everyone at home again. Finally, I got my chance to make such mess and speak so much that I could hear the same sweet sentence "Thodi der chup bhi ho ja!" but with a lot of laughter these times! ;)

This post is a part of Dabur Chyawanprash contest at Indiblogger.

P.S.- Yes, the future of a nation lies in the hands of children. But also, the happiness and prosperity of the nation also lies in the hands of the children. But what's most important is how strong do we make them - mentally and physically. The values and the morals that we teach our children are going to change the way they see the world tomorrow. So let's teach them some wonderful things! :)
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The Scribbler's Orchard: Part 25

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Team Name: Scribbler's Orchard
Read the previous parts of the story here -  Part 1 | Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 Part 20 | Part 21 | Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 |

Shekhar opened his eyes in a dark room with only the sun rays entering through the mihrab in the wall. As his eyes tried to accommodate to the darkness of the room, he felt that his hands and legs were tightly tied to the back of a chair which thus restricted any movement. Jennifer was tied on a chair lying unconscious next to him but Tara was nowhere to be seen. "Maybe she's still at the PM's office and is not even aware of his captivity", he thought to himself. He tried to look around to know where they were being held. It was a red sandstone room with pillars supporting the high ceiling with inscriptions on the pillars in Persian and Urdu. He started to figure out that it's a tomb when suddenly, the sound of qawwali from a nearby Dargah filled in the atmosphere. Jennifer disturbed his thought process and said, "Where are we?" "I think Humayun Tomb. Listen carefully, you can hear the qawwali from the Nizamuddin Dargah. I have been there before."

Listening to the noises, the door opened and a figure entered the room. Sudden light blinded Shekhar but the sight afterwards left him dumb as well. Two masked men entered the room and placed a chair in front of the figure. A well-built tall man dressed up in a white robe entered the room and sat across the two with his face still in dark. The person signalled the men to leave the room and sat down. "So where should we begin, Shekhar. I guess you have something which you shouldn't be having, right Jennifer?", asked the man. Jennifer blurted, "Who are you? What do you want?"
"Maybe Roohi will be able to tell you what do I want, Shekhar!"
"Where's my daughter?", shouted Shekhar, his face red with anger and tears hiding at the corner of the eyes.
"She's safe for now. You don't have to worry about her yet. Now tell me where are the photographs?"
"I need to see Roohi first."
Acharya signalled and his men brought Tara in the room, her hands tied behind her head. They pushed Tara down and she fell in front of Acharya's feet. Shekhar almost shouted in shock. He began thinking how did they get her as she was with the PM in a high security office when he last saw her. They might have done something to the PM as well. Something seemed so off to him regarding this. How!!
"For now, you only get to see her. And even that will not be for long. Either give me the photographs or watch her die!", pointing the gun towards her head.
"Why are you doing this? My baby and my wife! Why?"
"This is all for the greater good Shekhar. This mission is way above us and you both were never meant to be a part of this. But you got involved with Jennifer and the photographs. I had to take your daughter but you didn't stop. Maybe you don't love your daughter and your wife! Should I?", he said mocking to shoot Tara.
Jennifer saw an opportunity as the two were arguing and tried to pick up a old wooden block lying near her chair with her toes. Just as her toe touched the block, Acharya suddenly shot towards her foot. The bullet missed the target and hit the block instead. Jennifer squeaked in fear and Shekhar shouted, "What the hell are you doing? What is this stupidity? What mission?"
"Now you give me the photographs you have or I will have to endanger her life for now!", said Acharya pointing the gun towards Tara, "and I'll not miss this time!"
"Don't you dare! I need a laptop. I have uploaded them on my dropbox. Take all of it, you monster!"
Acharya signalled and one of the masked men brought a laptop to Shekhar. "Don't you dare play any games Shekhar. No more stupidity of yours!", but Shekhar had already thought of a plan and even he wouldn't miss this time. 


In an adjoining room, a large fire was set up. Acharya entered the room and, after performing some rituals, sat in front of the fire. A lady brought Roohi into the room and made her sit next to the Acharya. He asked her to fold her hands in front of the fire and pray to the God. "But there's no God here like the ones we have at home", argued Roohi. She was finally opening up with him for he was the only person who was being nice to her in so many days. He smiled at her innocence. "I have to teach you a lot sweety", keeping his hand gently on her head he said, "Fire is the only God, our true God" and handed her the fruit basket which she had been eyeing ever since she entered the room. He started chanting the mantras and explaining their meaning to her while she sat next to him, ignorant and protected. 

Behind them, lay the Ulema of Jama Masjid with his hands tied to a large pillar and cloth stuffed in his mouth, prepared for the sacrifice.

Read the next part of the story here

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Life or Death: Book Review

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Title: Life or Death
Author: Michael Robotham
Genre: Thriller/Fiction
Price: Rs 399 (Buy from Flipkart.com for Rs 339.)
Number of pages: 434
Publisher: Sphere
ISBN-10: 0751558869
ISBN-13: 978-0751558869

The Blurb:
Why would a man escape from prison the day before he's due to be released?

Audie Palmer has spent a decade in prison for an armed robbery in which four people died, including two of the gang. Seven million dollars has never been recovered and everybody believes that Audie knows where the money is.

For ten years he has been beaten, stabbed, throttled and threatened almost daily by prison guards, inmates and criminal gangs, who all want to answer this same question, but suddenly Audie vanishes, the day before he's due to be released.

Everybody wants to find Audie, but he's not running. Instead he's trying to save a life . . . and not just his own.

About the Author:
Michael Robotham started his career as a journalist but then became a ghostwriter, writing many bestselling autobiographies in collaboration with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities. His thrillers have been translated into twenty-two languages and he has twice won Australia's Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel. He was shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger in 2007 and 2008 and was also shortlisted for the inaugral ITV3 Thriller Awards. 

Michael Robotham talks about his book, "I’m releasing LIFE OR DEATH, a story that I’ve nurtured and turned over in my mind for more than twenty years – ever since I read a newspaper account of a man who had a served a long prison sentence, but escaped the day before he was due to be released. Why, I asked myself, what could possibly be the reason? It took me years to come up with an answer and even longer before I felt I had the skills to tell the story properly. I needed to practice. I needed to learn. I needed to get better. That’s why I’m so excited about LIFE OR DEATH. It’s a love story and a prison story and a heart-stopping account of one man’s refusal to surrender. More importantly, it’s the book that I was meant to write."

My Review:
When I began reading the book, I thought it was all about the money and maybe a big thriller mystery which includes a lot of murders and suspense plots as goes with all thriller fictions. Of course, the thriller angle is just perfect which makes you cling to the book till you reach the last page. The book surprised me remarkably and took me on a great journey. As each chapter unfolded, it brought depth to the characters and an entirely different angle to the story. The main question, "Why would a man run away from Prison just a day before his release?", I made a thousand guesses before starting the book but none was as brilliant as what the author talks about.

The characters are not flawed like the usual trend. Be it the convict Audie Palmer, his friend Moss or the officer Desiree! They had clear ideology which wasn't of a confused person. I like Desiree's character the most - stubborn, intelligent and witty - in short ME! :P With such well drawn and original characters this is a fantastic read and certainly one of the most enjoyable ones I've read so far this year. 

The writing is flawless with each person's vantage point. An unstoppable page-turner which keeps you hooked and takes you on a journey. I finished this book of more than 400 pages in just three readings (longgggggg readings). The climax just does wonders for me. With so many bad yet influential people involved, I thought the end would leave me heart-broken yet it manages to do just the opposite. I thoroughly loved it, and now I'm gonna read all books by Michael Robotham. He's my second favourite author after John Grisham! *love in eyes*. And this book is a perfect movie material too!

Who would love it: Everyone who likes thriller/crime centered stories
Who wouldn't like it: Nobody! :P

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars! Perfect blend of suspense and love on a roller-coaster ride! ;)
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The Scribbler's Orchard: Part 15

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Team Name: Scribbler's Orchard
Read the previous parts of the story here

Amidst the discussions regarding the involvement of Mr Ahuja aka Acharya in the on-going kidnapping of Roohi and PM, the doorbell rang. Tara went to open the door and was shocked and relieved at the same time. In front of her, stood Roohi in her uniform with tears in her eyes. Tara , being unable to control her emotions, tears flowing out of her eyes with happiness, hugs Roohi and kisses her all over. She shouts, "Shekhar! Our Roohi is back. Come here. My baby is back!" Shekhar shook Tara strongly to bring her out of her hallucination. Jennifer offered her a glass of water and she realised she had just been dreaming of Roohi's return. Her baby was still out there with some dangerous people who are a part of a bigger plan which involves the abduction of the PM. 

Jennifer, after waiting for Tara to regain control of herself, started explaining how she came to know Mr Ahuja was involved. She explained to Shekhar and Tara about how Cyrus was used as a suicide bomber, his hospitalisation, her curiosity about his involvement and her going through his stuff. "I found out that Cyrus had been an intern under Mr Ahuja's lawyer in the past where he found about Mr Ahuja's cases which involved illegal trade practices. He has written blog posts regarding these but didn't publish them. I read these in his laptop at the hospital.", expressed Jennifer. She then showed the three of them some images of a charity function which was held two months ago in Mumbai in which the PM and Acharya can be seen standing next to each other. 
"But that does not mean Mr Ahuja is involved in PM's kidnapping. They might just be having good relations", argued Arjun.
"Yeah but...", Jennifer stopped, scared that she might reveal more than she should. Shekhar read the expression on her face but waits for the right moment.
"I will start investigating about Mr Ahuja and any connections with the abductions but its too early to accuse anyone at this moment!", assured Arjun before leaving The Orchard

Shekhar waited for Tara to leave before confronting Jennifer, "So what were you hiding?"
"I was conscious because Arjun was still here but it is regarding the photos I gave you", Jennifer explained.
"How is Mr Ahuja related to those photos? He was not in any of them!"
"Yes, he wasn't but he was at the function and left early. What if he is the one behind the bombings at Ganesh Chaturthi, Roohi's kidnapping and PM's abduction?"
"Then my little baby is in big danger Jennifer!"

Read the next part of the story here

You can join our story here

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.
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Shackles of Freedom

Friday, September 19, 2014

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The Scribbler’s Orchard: Part 4

Monday, September 15, 2014

Team Name: Scribblers' Orchard
Read the previous parts of the story PART 1 | PART 2PART 3

In a corner of the room in The Orchard, Shekhar sat facing an open window that led to their lawn with lush-green grass whose tips were shining due to sunrays falling on the dew giving them a heavenly look. Oblivious to the beauty that lay in front of him, he was lost in thoughts of what Jennifer had told him. If they were aware that Jennifer had the photos and that she was going to Kochi with the exact flight number, it meant that they were following her for long. Does that mean they knew he had the photos of the murder? Was that why his Roohi was kidnapped..? His thoughts were interrupted by Tara's loud scream. 'Roohi! Roohi, my baby!', she was shouting.
'Wake up Tara', he said while shaking her. 'It was just a bad dream.'
'They have our daughter Shekhar! They have my Roohi. It's all because of you! Bring my baby back!', she shouted in between her sobs.
'Calm down. I'm trying...', he was saying but was interrupted by his phone's ringtone. It was a private number which made his heart stop. He let it ring for sometime before picking up, 'Hello'.
'Do you want to see your daughter again or not?', said a hoarse voice on the other end. 
'Who are you? Where's my daughter?', shouted Shekhar.
'Listen to me carefully. I will not keep her for long. She's young and blooming. I will get any price I demand for her. Now you decide, you'll pay the price or should I advertise her in the market?'
'You bastard! Don't do dare touch my daughter!'
'There's a package outside your door. This is your only chance to save your daughter!' and the line went blank.

He rushed outside the house to get the package and Tara ran after him. There lay a blank large envelope on their doormat. He looked around but there was no one else as far as he could see. They came inside and opened the envelope. There were three half-nude pictures of little Roohi which made Tara burst into cries. Her usually composed self broke on watching her baby in this state. Along with the pictures was a note which read, "Return the photos that you have and I'll return your daughter. Or else, you can keep these as her last memory. You have two days to decide the future of your daughter!" 


Cyrus woke up with a start in the dark room. The morphine's effect was slowly wearing down and he could feel the pain in his head again. He tried to feel his limbs but couldn't move them much. Apparently, they gave him some drug which were inhibiting his body movements. Both his hands were tied tightly to a pole above his head and his legs were tied to an old pipe and a pole, spread far apart. He couldn't feel his phone in his pocket, they would have taken it. But, he could still operate it using his smart-watch linked to his phone. With much effort, he moved his fingers to press play on his watch and started listening to the recordings of the last hours.

Read the next parts of the story PART 5 | PART 6 | PART 7 | PART 8 | PART 9

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.
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Play With Me: Book Review

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Title: Play With Me
Author: Ananth
Genre: Fiction/Erotica
Price: Rs 250 (Buy from Flipkart.com at Rs 198)
Number of pages: 252
Publisher: Penguin Books India
ISBN: 9780143423621

The Blurb:
Not very often is one confronted with ravishing beauty. Sid is a successful photographer who works in a boutique advertisement agency. He is single and pretty much has everything he had ever wanted – a rewarding job which happens to be his passion, great co-workers and a smooth sailing life. But the one thing missing, perhaps the most important, is love. And one day, a stunning, independent, free-spirited woman called Cara walks into his life. The two get involved in a thrilling affair, sexually obsessed, which drastically changes all of Sid’s ideas about love. The relationship completely alters the way he thinks about the natural, sensual pleasure. But again, everything changes because something strange happens in Sid’s life - he discovers himself falling intensely in love with another woman. Does that mean he has to walk out on Cara? How will he deal with his new love interest? Find out the answers and more in Play with Me - a story of those emotions that are universal, timeless, and which touch everyone’s life.

About the Author:
Ananth is a young Indian author and Sr. Vice President at Penguin. He is also a photographer who loves petting dogs, and a keen bibliophile.

The Review:
Judging this book from the cover will not be a huge mistake! As it belonged to erotica, the first thought that comes to mind is Fifty Shades of Grey! However, as I didn't read that book, I can't really compare the two. The story is a bit straight-forward with a male protagonist (Sid) and his two love interests (Nat and Cara). In absence of any twists and turns, the plot revolves around Sid's emotions, mixed feelings, confusion between choosing one of the two. The characters, although described vividly by the author, are not so familiar to me. Honestly, I haven't met such confused urban-characters in my life! Infidelity seems like the flavour of the book with a lot of people practicing it and blaming it on living life for the moment.

Being an erotica, it does have loads of love making scenes, most of which could have been easily avoided (I would have loved if I had to read less of the redundant scenes). The author, though lacking a bit in vocabulary, makes up in his ability to describe the emotions and feelings. I really liked the way he was able to describe his feelings in such simplistic manner that at some points I was able to understand his otherwise screwed up way of thinking. The flawed characters are really in, I guess. The last three novels I read definitely had one of these but this one had all flawed which spiced up things! 

One remarkable thing about his writing style is, he has described characters so beautifully that I could actually visualize them all in person! Just one wish remains to know how Sid looks because he described everyone except for himself. Although I imagined him to be tall, fair and really handsome that's why two main female leads go gaga over him! ;)

The best part of this book is the climax - not for any major twists but purely for the writing. The author also includes a poem by Vikram Seth which won my heart. Apart from that, he ends the novel with a magnificent style of writing. For me, the most fav part will be the last two chapters!

Who will like it: Anyone looking for a light, urban lifestyle based story with loads of "love making".
Who will not like it: Thriller lovers. 

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
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Bigg Boss Season 8: Contestants

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bigg Boss is back with its eighth season launching this September with Salman Khan as its host for the fifth time! The theme this season is expected to be based on aviation industry with Salman appearing as Pilot in all three teasers till now. Also, the "eye", the official logo of the serial, features a turbofan as the pupil which indicates that this season of the show will definitely airplanes as the main theme. 

As every year, the main focus is on who the contestants will be that will make this fantastic journey worthwhile! So, here I am presenting a list of expected contestants for the Bigg Boss Season 8! 

1. Alok Nath
First and foremost, the Babuji of our television world. After all, the show needs a lot of blessings to bring peace for all the upcoming controversies!

2. Lulia Vantur
A romanian television presenter, actor and model who is known for being Salman Khan's ex-girlfriend as per the paparazzi! She was a part of the film O Teri and was seen doing a special song in the film. Bigg Boss is known for having foreign beauties in the show like Elli Avram, so Lulia might bring the right amount of glamour in the show!

3. Shivaji Satam
His role as ACP Pradyuman on the popular TV series C.I.D. is famous among kids, youth and adults equally. We all have grown up watching, "Daya, darwaza tod do!" :P Few of his famous movies include Vaastav, Ghulam-E-Mustafa, Yeshwant, China Gate, Taxi No 9211, Nayak, Jis Desh Me Ganga Reheta Hai, Sooryavansham, Hu Tu Tu. Lets see how many "gadbads" he is able to find in the buzzing controversies of the show! ;)

4. Hansika Motwani
The Shaka Laka Boom Boom girl who also starred in Koi Mil Gaya in her kid roles has turned out to be one of the leading contemporary actresses of Tamil cinema. She also won Filmfare award for Best Female Debut – South. She can easily enter with her sensual visage in Bigg Boss Season 8 and appropriate place to magnify her boldness.

5. Karan Tacker
Another actor from the television series,  Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai, after Kushal Tandon comes Karan Tacker! Also featuring in Jhalak Dikhla Jaa Season 7 these days, he is the new heart-throb for the present generation. Maybe he will strike up a new love story like Kushal-Gauhar duo on the show. 

6. Deepika Singh
Sandhya from Diya Aur Baati Hum aka Deepika Singh might enter Bigg Boss 8 like the television actress Pratyusha Banerjee, Shweta Tiwari and Gauhar Khan. Let's see if another actress from television industry is able to win the show like Shweta and Gauhar!

7. Sunil Grover
Our very own Gutthi from Comedy Nights with Kapil might just bring the fun and comedy angle to the show! Sunil Grover has brought smiles on a lot of faces through that show, I'm waiting to watch his magic on Bigg Boss as well!

8. Shanti Dynamite
Shanti Dynamite aka Sofia Vasileiadou, a British adult star might enter this season. She has been adjudged as one of the 50 Sexiest Woman of Asia by British Newspaper Eastern Eye. In India she runs her own production company which shoots Indian adult music videos and AIDS awareness programs. Shanti came into the limelight after being cast in upcoming Bollywood movie Chal Doctor Doctor Khelein as an item girl. 

9. Kumar Vishwas
New age poet and AAP candidate from Amethi, Kumar Vishwas, might bring a new political plus poetical angle to the show.

10. Gurmeet-Debina
A couple entry - Gurmeet and Debina. We have seen Shilpa-Apoorva, Tanaaz-Bakhtyar and estranged couple Rajiv-Delnaaz in the show. This time, it can be Debina-Gurmeet provided that the couple has participated in many other TV reality shows too like Khatron ke Khiladi. 

This is just the expected list of contestants. The actual contestants may be quite different, however, there's one celebrity who is definitely going to be on the show and is gonna bring all the masala, fun, gossip, controversies and glamour to the show - one and only my most favourite - Salman Khan! :* :* :* :* 

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Private India : Book Review

Saturday, August 30, 2014
Title: Private India
Author: Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson
Genre: Thriller/Fiction
Price: Rs 193 (Get from Flipkart)
Number of pages: 480
Publisher: Arrow/Random House India
ISBN: 9780099586395

The Blurb:
In Mumbai seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses. For Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency, it's a race against time to stop the killer striking again. In a city of over thirteen million, hed have his work cut out at the best of times but this case has him battling Mumbai's biggest ganglord and a godman who isn't all he seems and then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organisation along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens.

About The Author:
Ashwin Sanghi is an entrepreneur by profession but writing historical fiction is his passion and hobby. He self-published his first novel, The Rozabal Line in 2007 under his pseudonym, Shawn Haigins. It was subsequently acquired by Westland in 2009 and went on to become a national bestseller. His second novel, Chanakya's Chant remained on AC Nielsen's india Top 10 for over two years, won the Vodafone Crossword Popular Choice Award and UTV acquired movie rights. His latest thriller, The Krishna Key, was released in August 2012 and went straight to number 1 in the charts. Further information on www.ashwinsanghi.com

James Patterson is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past decade - the Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club and Detective Michael Bennett novels and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers. He lives in Florida with his wife and son. James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books specifically for young readers. James is a founding partner of Booktrust's Children's Reading Fund in the UK. In 2010, he was voted Author of the Year at the Children's Choice Book Awards in New York.

The Review:
There are some books which makes you forget the world and then there are some which absorbs you in another world completely. This is the second type of book which "turns the page itself" as it says on the cover. Being the creative child of two of the great thriller writers, it extracts the best of both the worlds. I finished the book in just three sittings and  trust me, I am not a compulsive reader. 

I am a fictional thriller fan, be it books or serials or movies. So, I have seen and read a lot of thriller stories and yet, it didn't bore me at all. On the contrary, this book involves you because of the familiar locations, traditions and the damaged characters. It reminded me of Dr House and The Mentalist joined together with a tinge of Sherlock. 

The writing is lucid and with short chapters, makes it more reader friendly. The story line is a tad bit old but with its own freshness. However, the "terrorist attack" angle was just dragging it more. The story could have easily ended with revealing the killer but the added part in the end was a bit of a drag for me! Twists and turns at every turn keep you hooked to the story. Also, it provides not only the detectives psychology but also the murderer's feeling and psychology at every point which I, personally, liked a lot. 

One of my favourite lines from the book:
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence
For me, its a light and fast-paced serial killing story. I would rate it 4.5 stars out of 5.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!
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Contemporary Home Decor Ideas

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

They say there's no place like home and that reminds me of an old song, "Har ghar chup chaap se yeh kehta hain, ke andar usme kaun rehta hain". :D I have been wanting to renovate my home to give it a touch of my own for a very long time. So, while surfing the internet for many hours, I stumbled upon this awesome mirror (picture below) by Deknudt mirrors on makemyhome.com

Deknudt Mirror
This designer mirror is composed by four mirror elements, which are positioned on a higher level than its supporting black glass. Thus, this mirror represents a detailed image of boulders. This cool mirror can be turned around for 360 degrees, thanks to its special suspension system. This is a must have for my home now as it describes funky style like mine. 

Well, apart from this mirror, there were many cool things on the makemyhome.com that made me scroll further. The second must-have I found on this website for a contemporary look was a 3D Effect Wall Decal by Wonder Arts. 

Wonder Arts 3D Effects Wall Decal

These cool 3D realistic stickers add such a class to the walls without to go through the pains of getting shadow boxes carved in the walls. My home was under construction for some time and I'm too tired of  the construction dust that fills the house and my lungs and the loud noises. This seems like a much better and easy way to add such beauty to the walls. Although, when I'll put them in my home, I'm gonna put them in sequential order like this:

The third thing that I really lost my heart to was the Globe Bookends by The Yellow Door. Being a bookaholic, this seemed like the thing which marked my presence perfectly. The tiny iron-globes on both ends seem adorable due to their pewter finish. 

The Yellow Door Globe Bookends
My all-time favourite books have been dancing all night in the excitement of getting new place on my table between these bookends.  >:D<

Image courtesy
First image: Google images
Product images: makemyhome.com website

More details about these products
Details about the mirror: Link mirror
Details about the 3D stickers: Link
Details about the Bookends: Link bookends

This post is a part of Makemyhome activity at BlogAdda.com
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Ramayana: The Game of Life - Book Review

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Title: Ramayana: The Game of Life
Author: Shubha Vilas
Genre: Mythology
Price: Rs 250 (Buy from Flipkart at Rs 175)
Number of pages: 256
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
ISBN: 9788184955309

The Blurb:
Ramayana: The Game of Life (Book 1), one of the world's great literary masterpieces, skillfully retold for modern audiences. Epics like the Ramayana have been recounted infinite times. Is there a need for another chronicle in the presence of so many? How is this one different? And is it relevant to our ever-changing modern lives? 

Yes, there is a need, yes this is different and yes, it is relevant. This new series of books, each following one khand of the Ramayana, decodes the eternal wisdom of that poetic scripture through gripping narrative and thought-provoking instruction. In the time-honored custom of spreading wisdom through tales, every fascinating story in the epic is retold here and every character unfolded to captivate your heart and open your mind to lifes deepest questions.

The narrative closely follows Valmikis Ramayana, gently weaving in folk tales as well as the beautiful analogies of the Kamba Ramayana. The first of this six-volume series, Rise of the Sun Prince, takes you through the divine story of Lord Rama from His birth up to His marriage. Through these pages are revealed the tales of Dasaratha's leadership, Vishwamitra's quest for power and the intriguing story of a little-known stone maiden. Ramayana: The Game of Life has all of this and much more - food for contemporary thought drawn from an enduring masterpiece.

My author-signed copy! :D
About the Author:
Shubha Vilas, a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, holds a degree in engineering and law with specialization in Patent Law. His leadership seminars are popular with top-level management in corporate houses. He also helps individuals deal with modern-life situations by applying the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and other dharmic traditions.

My Review:
I never had an opportunity to read Ramayana before, so I did not have any reference to compare this book to! But it surely reminded me of the TV series Ramayana by Ramanand Sagar that we all grew up watching! It seemed pretty interesting to me, specially because I wasn't aware of many of the stories mentioned in it, for instance, Dashrath's 353 mariages, vastness and magnificence of Ayodhya, Vishwamitra's history, origin of Lanka and holy rivers, incarnation of Rama and Sita and other demigods for Rama's army, among others!

Shubha, being a spiritual seeker and motivational speaker, has beautifully connected the instances from the Ramayana to a common man's life time and again, and has guided the reader throughout the book on a better way of life! It is said that Ramayana is a way of living life and Shubha helps the readers to realise the potential of the sacred book. 

He has described the life events of Dasaratha and all holy characters quite impeccably, however, he didn't do justice to Ravana - my favourite character! :) Ravana was a devout follower of Shiva, a great scholar (which also got him the name of Mahabrahman), a capable ruler and a maestro of the veena (he composed Shiva Tandava Stotram), but someone who wished to overpower the devas! He had too many qualities that I thought must have been focussed more on, although I'm not sure if that was the case with the original Ramayana! Overall, the narration is lucid and fluidic! This is just first book which has left such an everlasting impression,  I am sure the author will enlighten us more with his experience with the rest of the series!

Leaving you with a quote from Ramayana, 
A good game is full of twists and turns at every stage and promises to thrill with its absolute unpredictability of results
If you have never had the chance to read the Ramayana or are too scared that you'll not be able to understand the shlokas in it, then this book is perfect for you! Also, for our younger generation, this will bring them closer to our sanskriti! :) 

My Rating: 4 stars out of 5!

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!
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What The Black!

Sunday, July 27, 2014
Black is Sexy & Hot and makes you everything you're not! 
What the Black! :D
Source: Google Images 

All Black or Not Black?
Now my love for black doesn't end with my bad poetry, it goes way beyond. Black is Beautiful. Black is Classy. Black is Prestigious. Haven't you ever wondered what would have happened if the whole world was black, like a black sky with a black sun. Then people would work only at night when moon came. Or if we had a black paper and had to write with fireflies on them to make them visible. If water in the rivers was black and fishes full of sparkles, milk was black with black ice cubes. People would have ordered "White Tea/Coffee" for a change in taste. ;) 

Oh and what if black didn't ever exist? If every black thing we have ever known was not black like people's hair color. What if everyone had a different color based on the time of the day they were born or maybe it could have been transparent! Or shadows weren't black! Too scary that would have been! `X(

Even Nerds are talking about black these days! Here's a post by 'xkcd' which talks about the concept of black in pie chart! It's a different comic in which contents of any one panel are dependent on the contents of other panels. Confused? So was I, but look closely! (More clarification at the source link)

Source: xkcd

If it were in my hands, I would get everything in black, but as I am not allowed, here's my list of the five black things I wanna own, or as I call it, My Black Wishlist! :-*

1. A 'Little Black Dress'
I would love to own a perfect little black dress - the one that makes me feel just perfect! As Edith Piaf once said, "When a little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place". I can never over-emphasise on the importance of a little black dress in a girl's life - its a must have and yet I don't have it till now! Now I'm wondering why! /floor
LOL. I would give up anything to have my perfect little black dress. \:D/

Source: Google Images

2. Black Money
Psst! Don't spill this secret to anyone but its my dream to have these big bundles of cash hidden in a secret bank account in some other country! I mean, who doesn't fancy a (read many) Swiss Account?! :D Yes of course, we all want to earn our bread and butter by working hard (only for moral police :P), but a little bit of extra money doesn't hurt anyone! Or even lots of it, for that matter! ;)
So, I want lottle black money, its like 'little' except its a 'lot'! :P =))

Source: Google Images

3. Black Hole
NO! It is not a big giant hole and I don't wanna jump into it for writing this post! A Black Hole is a region in space with such high gravity that it does not let anything escape from it, not even light. In short, whatever goes in black hole, stays in black hole! ;)  The question in your minds would be, what would I do with it? So, this is how it works. If I own a black hole, it makes it easier for me to get the above mentioned things as I just have to get them near my black hole, and voila, they're mine forever! *Deep love in my eyes* :x
Source: Google Images

4. Black Magic
Yeah, I can actually imagine myself as a witch riding on my broom and scaring little children! *evil laugh* Just Kidding. Not the kind of black magic you see devils doing. I wanna have my own kind of magic which has a tinge of Harry Potter, a tinge of Fred-George Weasleys, a tiny bit of Voldemort, and some of Dumbledore! Now that will make me good, mischievous, a bit evil and with lots of wisdom kind of wizard! How's that! :D Oh, with power of throwing fire (like in Clash of Clans). Don't tell me you don't play that game! :-O

5. Black Dragon
I wanna be a Khaleesi! You'll understand that if you are a Game of Thrones fan! Well, if you aren't, please Google it 'coz I consider it an insult to the great series to describe what it means! :P But, I am in love with her three dragons, and I wanna have one of my own! Well, with that dragon, no one can mess with me and there isn't anything I wouldn't be able to own then. Right? I can already imagine myself flying on my black dragon! Woohooo.. *Dracarys and puff you go* 

Source: Google Images

If my wishlist comes true, I'll get fame, power, money and success. What more could I want? ;)

So, what will be the five black things that you wanna own? Do lemme know :)

This contest is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at BlogAdda.com /bye
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