Monday, 25 May 2015

Smile… Smile… Smile…


Smile… Smile… Smile…
Let your smile worry the worries…
And scare the scary…

Smile… Smile… Smile…
That will take you miles and miles…
Brings you several good times…

So, please smile… smile… smile…


Sunday, 24 May 2015

Tu Tu Mein Mein - 22

Mind   : Darling… My love!!! (Sounding unusually loving!)
Heart : (No response)
Mind   : Hey! My Drama Queen…
Heart : (No response)
Mind   : Okay, so you won’t talk to me?
Heart : Why should I talk? Do you talk when I feel like talking to you?
Mind   : okay.
Heart : (No response)
Mind   : OKAY!!! 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Sunset @ Kochi Marine Drive


Sunset is always beautiful…
The shades of sky is inspiring

And invokes serenity within.

Monday, 18 May 2015

My Airtel App!

I
 was beady eyed teenager when I got my mobile phone – a gift from my cousin for passing an examination. I can never forget that day. When I held my Nokia in my hand, I felt as if the world is in my hands. This was almost a decade before when people were smarter and not mobile phones. All I could do is make or attend calls and send or receive messages. And of course, play snake! Now, with the advent of technological advancements, so much has changed. Phones are smarter and we literally have the world’s information in our hands. 2G to 4G, tethering and Wi-Fi, video calls and what not has taken communication and socializing to next level.

In spite of such sweep of changes, certain things remain unchanged though. Like our first mobile number. Do you still use your first mobile number? Do you still have that SIM? I do. When I had to decide which mobile connection I should take, Airtel was the only option which I gave to myself. I had heard a lot about its signal and network. Since then, Airtel has been my identity. It has helped me to stay connected to loved ones. Its impeccable roaming facility never ceases to awe me.

Then, life is not simple anymore. Initially, all we cared for was talk time. Eventually SMS also. Now, internet and its speed matters. Airtel continues to provide all these services and ensures that our needs are met. However, ensuring that we are paying bill on time, data balance, etc. has always been painful. But hey, not anymore. All thanks to the My Airtel App. It is designed to in such a way that it ensures an easy to use interface.

And, it will perfectly fit into your lifestyle! Here are the three reasons that explains how J
1.   Every recharge comes with Airtel Surprises
Customers can use the app to recharge any mobile number, and receive ‘Airtel Surprises’ coupons from merchants across categories like shopping, food, wellness, entertainment etc.

2.   Safe, Secured payments and Faster checkouts
Airtel’s payment stack is now PCI-DSS certified. It ensures a safe, secure and faster check out experience across My Airtel and also the PC and Mobile web experiences.

3.   “I Want To” Feature
Now, I love this feature more than all others. It allows us to make a quick action points, some frequently done tasks like recharge to a specific prepaid mobile number, etc. This would appear on the home screen and lets us save time!

Amazingly, this app also carries alerts for low balance, expiry of an add-on pack and payment due date. The bonanza is that the users on ‘My Airtel’ app will not incur any data charges for using it.

The app’s ‘I Want To’ feature will allow customers to make their frequent tasks (e.g. recharge of a specific prepaid mobile number) a quick action on their application’s home screen – thus helping them replicate the action in no time.

PS: This post is written as a part of My Airtel App

Second Heart


Details of the Book
No. of Pages: 78
Genre: Fiction/Short Stories
Publisher: Aravind India (www.a4dable.in)

From the book blurb
The book encompasses five different heart touching stories with simple narration to bring an awareness about the misconception about kidney (referred as Second Heart) issues among general public. These are partly based on true stories about individual experiences. The book attempts on non-technical handling of a technical issue through emotional stories.


Author
Dr. Sandeep Huilgol did his medical schooling from Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences, Hubli and underwent his medical training at Mallya Hospital, a leading super specialty hospital in Bengaluru. During his medical training, he developed a special interest in nephrology, which deals with kidney diseases. He has published articles on kidney diseases in National daily and an international magazine apart from academic publications and presentations. During his Nephrology training, he has come across many patients with various problems other than medical that were more troublesome than kidney diseases. This prompted him to come up with an idea to create awareness among the general public about the matter.

Santosh Avvannavar started his career as a consultant and Soft Skills Trainer. He did his college education from NITK, Surathkal. He functioned as a researcher at University of Eindhoven, University of Twente and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He was also the Placement President, while he was working at IISc, Bangalore. He has over 25 publications of mostly research documents that have found their place in National & International Journals. Also, he has done 16 conference papers and regularly functions as a writer of different articles for a national and worldwide daily paper. He is an advisor for different organizations. Throughout his personal time he composes his thoughts on a website, namely www.amritafoundation.wordpress.com and ventures into fiction writing. He delivered seminars and training to more than 33,000 people in India and abroad over the span of 7 years.


What I think
The title is simple and gives away the fact that the book is all about the second heart, kidney. The cover page includes the picture of both first and second heart which both apt and sample. The book blurb is crisp and sets the stage.

As mentioned in the blurb, the book consists of five short stories. Each story talks about the causes, symptoms, after-effects and treatments for kidney-related diseases. It is put across through simple stories which includes normal characters like you and me. It was scary to find out that it is very difficult to find out kidney disorder at a very early stage.

I am more than glad that the authors have taken a new path in enlightening common man about diseases. They say that a picture speaks thousand times more than words. And I say that a tiny story can speak volumes in comparison to huge thesis.

The narrative is very simple. At the end of each chapter, doctor’s note is included which further elaborates the causes and effects. With as less as 78 pages, the book certainly doesn’t bore you. It could be a great companion when you are waiting for your friend at coffee shop or while just waiting to board your train! It will require less than one hour of your time. But, the value it adds is amazing!

Try it! Cherish it!

Rating
3/5

Thank you
Thanks to the Author for contacting me and sending across this book for review.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Wings and Feather

Like a feather;
I had fallen on the ground.
I thought my life has ended.

Then, I realized;
I still have wings.
I flew high and reach the skies.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Special Lassi


From the book blurb
A Backbreaking Misadventure in the Himalayas.

A psychedelic odyssey like no other, spanning the exotic foothills of the eastern Himalayas.

In the summer of 2011, two bleary-eyed kids, teetering on the cusp of adulthood, decide to drop out of the daily grind and just travel. But once they hit the road, their plans go out the window. Soon, they are barreling over potholes the size of lunar craters in Nepal, bungee jumping in Rishikesh, waking up to Buddhist chants in Sikkim and cycling down the world's highest motorable pass in Ladakh. On the way is a constant stream of oddballs, like the five-second-tea lady, the flute-playing hotel manager, flying Sonam, reggae junkies and many more this journey is all about rolling with the punches.

Special Lassi is one part funny, two parts crazy and a whisper of wistful-for the best things are ephemeral and a lust for life is a dangerous thing.


Author
Amrita Chatterjee is a unicorn who likes to frolic in her mythical la-la-land, and surfaces occasionally to check on the real world. But the lights are brighter on the other side and she hopes you will follow her there, if only for a while.


What I think
To begin with, the cover page of the book is dipped in sky blue and has images of a beautiful mountain, Himalayas with a full moon shining above it. It suits perfectly to the book’s theme. The title is intriguing and doesn’t give away the meaning. Does it mean the tasty Punjabi lassi or something else? The story answers that though. And, the book blurb briefly tells that the book is a travelogue.

The story is about the author and her Friend River who step out for an unplanned trip. Soon they realize that it is going to be adventurous.

The narrative begins in a crowded Delhi train. Soon it takes us through different places like Darjeeling, Sikkim, Kathmandu Nepal, Haridwar and finally Leh. The author has explained the smells and flavors in detail. It is so descriptive that we feel like a part of their journey.  The story flows with ease and holds readers attention.

In short, the book is a joy read, or should I say joy ride? It urges us to pack our bags and step out for an adventure!


Should you read it?
It takes you across places… Allows you smell the flavors unique to them… Enables you to meet new people and taste new cultures… So why not read it and indulge in couch travel?


Rating
3/5

Thank you
Jaico Publications for giving away the book for review.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Govindarajapuram Theru - 2015



A cloudy day it was… Several eyes looking at the sky and praying and deep within heart, prayers were mumbled. We sighed in relief when it didn’t rain in the morning.  However, clouds didn’t pass and dear Sun was nowhere in the picture.






As planned, we started the oorvalam of theru in the evening. A few droplets kissed earth.  We prayed more. Pulled the theru with more zeal.  Somehow we managed to reach back to the divine abode.



As soon as God was taken into the temple, it stated pouring like never before.  Lightning and thunder followed. All of us were smiling.
 
Varadaraja Permal-kku Jai!!!!!


Thursday, 14 May 2015

Uttama Villain

Cast
:
Kamal Haasan
Jayaram, K. Viswanath, K. Balachander, Nassar
Urvashi, Andrea Jeremiah, Pooja Kumar
Parvathi Menon, Parvathy Nair
Director
:
Ramesh Aravind
Music
:
M Gibran
Producer
:
Thirrupathi Brothers, Raaj Kamal Films International
Release Date
:
May 01, 2015
Length
:
2 Hours & 52 Minutes
Language
:
Tamil

My Thoughts
Film-making is an art. It is a craft that comes from within the creativity of the artists and several technicians involved in the process. It is also very difficult from other forms of arts. Because, the craftsman has to not only satisfy himself, but also convince the fellow artists to be a part of the process and ultimately the movie-goers. Since the release date was announced, I have been one among those who have been eagerly waiting for the movie. But, mixed/negative reviews cultivated seeds of doubt in my head. When I learnt that the movie is almost three hours long, I almost gave up the idea of watching it. However, not for long! I finally went to watch yesterday.

Uttama Villain is a movie that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. A lump in the throat haunts you whenever Manoranjan, a filmstar, played by the versatile Kamal Hassan, comes on screen. When veteran director K Balachandar’s voice shivers, it makes you shiver too. However, when you find Uttaman, a drama artist who lived long-long ago, played by Kamal Hassan again, you can’t stop yourself from laughing.

When the smart dialogs tickle you, impeccable acting jolts you and realism moves you. The background music sets the right mood and the cinematography sets the perfect tone. The screenplay effortlessly oscillates between Manoranjan and Uttaman. They are contrasts. When Manoranjan is fighting brain tumor, Uttaman comes across as immortal who has escaped from the jaws of death more than once.

The movie conveys that death is for the mortal body, not for the craft that an artist creates. It also subtly hints the personal lives of superstars we see on screen. It portrays their other face that we never get to see.

There is a scene where Jayaram talks about his adopted daughter to Kamal Hassan. I don’t want to give spoiler. But, I have to tell you one thing – that scene proves why Kamal Hassan is what he is today. Acting is easy. But, to live as the character and emote is a different ball game, he proves.

The film also has a big array of star cast. Urvasi as Manoranjan’s wife, Andrea as his doctor , Pooja Kumar as a fellow actor, Parvathi Menon as his daughter and Parvathi Nair as his son’s girlfriend.  Then, there is MS Bhaskar, Nasser and K Viswanath also. I am amazed to see how descriptively each character is drawn. In spite of the long list of stars, each one of them stay in our heart, leave a mark and contribute to the plot.


In short, forget about the reviews and criticism. Go for the film with a clear mind. You will be entertained. You will enjoy. You will laugh. You will cry. At the end of three hours, you will be happy. Isn’t the purpose of a good movie?

Rating
4.5/5


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Piku

Cast
:
Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan
Director
:
Shoojit Sircar
Music
:
Anupam Roy
Producer
:
MSM Motion Pictures, Saraswati Entertainment Creations Limited, Rising Sun Films
Release Date
:
May 08, 2015
Length
:
2 Hours and 5 Minutes
Language
:
Hindi

My Thoughts
The incidents in some movies would be very relatable and the characters very real. Such movies let us identify ourselves or people we know with the protagonist. Soon, the movie would become an experience. We nod. We laugh. We cry. We live with the characters and feel at home. Piku is one such rare movie.  It is made of flesh and blood. It has a flavor of you and me.

Piku directed by Shoojit Sircar (Vicky Donor fame) presents the relationship between an aging father (Amitabh Bachchan) and his daughter in late twenties (Deepika Padukone). The story revolves around their day to day life and trivial matters they discuss, which predominantly is about father’s constipation problem and his obsession to have a happy death.

Piku is a multi-tasker. She is an architect who takes care of her father and at the same time, lives her life in her way. She is short-tempered and very judgmental. She is good at heart and is proud of being herself. She is unapologetic! Deepika is at ease as Piku. Her silence and eyes speak. She infuses realism into the character, thereby making it look live and fresh.

Bhaskor Chakraborthy, a widower, is in his seventies. He is worried about his constipation problem and it is the only problem in his life. He is also scared about dying out of diseases or becoming bed ridden. He is selfish and annoying. His thoughts are very progressive and he always encourages his daughter to be independent. He enjoys life and follows one mantra – My way or highway! Amitab Bachchan will surely remind you of your father, uncle, brother or grandfather. He is that old man who is always worried about diseases and awaits death.

Irffan Khan as Rana, taxi company owner, is fun. He underplays and proves himself again. He is fun and contributes towards some of the funny moments in the film.

If the actors and their strong performances are the pillar of strength for the film, the foundation certainly is the screenplay and dialogs. There is not a single boring or redundant scene. Instead, there are several light moments that will surely make you laugh. Most of the conversations are around constipation. Yet, they don’t get on your nerves. Kudos for the writer for the climax that is free from clichés. The background music and the songs blends with the situations. Cinematographer has presented the movie at its real best. Deepika’s costumes require special mention. They look so comfortable and wearable. Ladies, parallel pants are back!

In short, Piku is a brilliantly fresh movie that oozes with realism.
Don’t miss it!

Rating
4/5

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Kaathaadi Kolam


Kaathaadi means kite in Tamil.
Don’t you think that the design looks like one?

Thanks to my ammaji – For making this for me!


PS: Because many people asked me what a Kolam is…
Kolam refers to intricate patterns drawn both free handedly and by joining dots. These can be widely seen in the Southern part of India. Women draw this early morning, preferably before Sunrise after cleaning the courtyard. Earlier rice powder was used – it was a means to feed ants and small insects. However, these days, stone powder and even chalk is used. If such powders are used, it is called Pudi Kolam. Sometimes, brick powder will be used as outline on auspicious days, Tuesdays and Fridays. If rice powder is mixed in water and similar patterns are drawn, it is called Maavu/Maa Kolam. In West Bengal, it is called Alpona. In North India, people used rice/stone powders for the outline and fill the patterns with colors. This is called Rangoli.

It is believed that Kolam brings prosperity. It is drawn for almost all the auspicious occasions like marriages and festivals. When someone dies in the household, the family don’t draw any kolam for a year.  

Children in small towns learn the art of making kolam at a very young age. In fact, a girl who knows to draw impeccable and intricate kolam is a pride for the entire family and the village she stays. However, owing to modernization, city life and apartment culture, this art is soon dying.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Tu Tu Mein Mein - 21

Heart  : You have changed a lot.
Mind    : So have you!
Heart  : No, you have changed more than I have. These days, all you can think of is work, food and sleep!
Mind    : You also work… Feel hungry and tired!
Heart  : But, I still find time for you. Try to be with you and share.
Mind    : Amn’t I being with you now?  When have I dumped you? When you yelled at me last day and cried last week, didn’t I patiently consoled you?
Heart  : Aw! So generous of you. I appreciate the work done. Thanks!
Mind    : What that &%$#^*@$? All you can do is yell or cry? Or crib and blame!
Heart  : So, this is what you think about me! Just get lost! Let the truth live – I HAVE NO ONE!
Mind    : Okay! (Sounding very calm)
Heart  : Okay! (Angry, irritated, frustrated, teary and emotional all at the same time!!!)

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Theru/Vilakku Kolam



Presenting to you…
A big pulli kolam…
Which also has a tinge of creativity.
Ammaji, you are a rockstar indeed!


PS: Because many people asked me what a Kolam is…
Kolam refers to intricate patterns drawn both free handedly and by joining dots. These can be widely seen in the Southern part of India. Women draw this early morning, preferably before Sunrise after cleaning the courtyard. Earlier rice powder was used – it was a means to feed ants and small insects. However, these days, stone powder and even chalk is used. If such powders are used, it is called Pudi Kolam. Sometimes, brick powder will be used as outline on auspicious days, Tuesdays and Fridays. If rice powder is mixed in water and similar patterns are drawn, it is called Maavu/Maa Kolam. In West Bengal, it is called Alpona. In North India, people used rice/stone powders for the outline and fill the patterns with colors. This is called Rangoli.

It is believed that Kolam brings prosperity. It is drawn for almost all the auspicious occasions like marriages and festivals. When someone dies in the household, the family don’t draw any kolam for a year.  

Children in small towns learn the art of making kolam at a very young age. In fact, a girl who knows to draw impeccable and intricate kolam is a pride for the entire family and the village she stays. However, owing to modernization, city life and apartment culture, this art is soon dying.


Friday, 8 May 2015

Cassettes!!!


Do you remember those days?

Cassettes and Tape-recorders…
Using Pencils to roll the tape…
Buying erasable cassettes…
Recording our voice and feeling awed!
Fast forwarding and rewinding!
Waiting eagerly for the launch of new songs…

And then, the emergence of Walkman…
Which soon qualified to be our best friend!
Redefining solitude… Making travel more enjoyable!
Remember?
Money we would have spent in buying batteries…
And the scolding for finishing a pair of battery in a day!
Of course…
Parents concern over our hearing ability...
The  advice to keep the volume as low as possible…

Eventually,
Cassettes were replaced by CDs…
And today it is Online Music.
But, the joy of cassettes is irreplaceable.
I am glad that I to belonged the last generation that enjoyed it!
Have you experienced it too?


Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Wedding Trousseau and Other Short Stories

Details of the Book
Publisher
Humming Words Publishers
ISBN
139789381560266
Misc
138 pages, paperback
Language
English

From the book blurb
This is a collection of 11 short stories inspired from various aspects of life and relationships. Some are inspired from real life incidents and people. Small things of day to day life as well as unsaid and unshared emotions sometimes envelop deepest feelings. This book is an attempt in digging deeper and expressing them in form of stories.

While some stories carry a lighter tenor, others show varied side of human psyche and relationships as seen from a different angle. The collection can be enjoyed by readers of any age group.


Author
Ankita Sharma is an entrepreneur based in Faridabad (Haryana), India. She is passionate aboit writing, reading and sketching. Her sketch words have appeared on the cover pages of a few titles. She loves nature and is very fond of animals. She blogs are www.hummingwords.blogspot.in


What I think
The cover page is simple in a subtle shade of pink with tall buildings on the backgroumd and green leaves flowing. May be it symbolically says that like the buildings in different shapes and sizes, people’s thoughts and response to situations will be different from one another. There is no standard rule stating how people should think or react. The book is a collection of eleven short stories. The Wedding Trouseeau is the name of one of such stories.

As the book blurb rightly indicates, each story is simple and speaks about how human beings think. The stories are all about man’s toughts and how his/her mind can work. The narrative is lucid and the language is simplem free from jargons.

The Pink Card - This is the first story. It portrays how judgmental we can be about others. And, how blind when it comes to loved ones. One More Bite hints how superiority complex is seeded and how money determines who is happy and who is not. This story made me feel uncomfortable and made me think. The Fresh Stock and Just Perfect speaks about how people are obsessed with perfections. It states how much we try to adhere to the societal norms and how we fear to be different from it. Courtesy and I Forgive You! conveys how employees are exploited in office space. It beautifully puts across how a manager/leader should not be. After all, at the end of the day, everybody is a human being with emotions. The Wedding Trousseau subtly hints that marriage as a ceremony may be full of glitz and glamor. But, marriage as a bond is not. It is full of ups and downs. It propagates the importance of togetherness, compromise and commitment. The Solitary Mound touches the reader’s heart as it speaks about death and how it affects family.  Curse perfectly depicts the bond between mother and son in India. Also, how a mother can influence her children. Leaves is slightly different from other stories. However, it certainly emphasizes that parents must listen to their children and tryu to understand them.

Overall, each story is very different from each other, yet well connected by the common thread called human mind. Some stories will certainly leave a mark in your mind. With around 130 pages, this can certainly be a quick read over a lazy weekend. Go for it!
Rating
3.5/5


Thank you
Thanks Ankita – My friend. I have always read your blog and reading your book was a pleasure! All the best and looking forward to read more from you!!!!

You can buy the book from Amazon or BooksBuyIndia


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

God's Table - The Last Supper


From the book blurb
A noble couple. In noble professions. He’s a doctor and she’s a teacher. What do they discuss over meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner? they are perturbed by the social, moral, economical and anthropological issues plaguing our country these days.

Meet Amrita and Robert, a couple who will speak on behalf of you.  Witness their daily discussions on probolmesn you think are worth talking about. Education, medication, elections, corruptions, honour killing, child marriage, social media – you name it and the disease has already made deep wounds in our country’s body and soul.

God come to rescue along with Amrita and Robert. Delve into the gospels and teachings of God to find a solution to eacg malady, if you wish to accept.

Authors Santosh Avvanavar, Jyoti Byahatti and Dr Sandeep Huilgo present a unique fiction in conversations to remind you how God would have faced and erased a few of our society’s key problems.


Author
Santosh Avvanavar, Jyoti Byahatti and Dr Sandeep Huilgo


What I think
The cover page consists of a man and woman sitting over a dining table. But, the food items are inscribed with complex issues that we face today – terrorism, murder drug addictions, suicide, killing, etc.  The book blurb is elaborate and narrates what can be expected in the book. The book consists of discussions between Amrita and Robert, husband and wife. Every night, they share some of their thoughts and discuss it in detail. In order to find reasons or solutions to the problems, they speak to Paul, God. And, Paul gives solutions based upon the gospels.
The book is neatly divided twelve chapters. Each chapter speaks about various issues like how education has become business, euthanasia, honor killing and gender bias to name a few.

I am happy that the authors took effort to speak about issues we are facing today. It is put across through simple words and flows with ease.

But
At the end of each chapter, Paul narrates about the root cause for such issues and speaks about how it can be solved. Paul also quotes verses from Bible. I, personally, did not like this idea. God giving solutions is one thing and the solutions coming from Bible is another thing. Suddenly, the book looks like it is preachy and religion driven. In a secular world, this could have been avoided.

Rating
2/5

Thank you
Thanks to the Author for contacting me and sending across this book for