Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The euphoria continues........

Lets just say January is my favorite month of the year. The newly changed calendar on the wall, and the shiny new leather planner still feels good to the touch. There are many good friends who celebrate their birthdays this month, and I have the opportunity, yet again, to put my doting husband to the memory test. You see, this month also sees me adding a candle to the already overburdened birthday cake.

But the greatest cause of joy this January remains the magic of seeing my name in print. Yes, I am indeed, vain enough to think you remember that I have a story in the anthology - Urban Shots Bright Lights!!

When I finally received a copy of the book, I tore open the packaging like a little kid, and almost danced with the book. Then I started going through the stories, taking care not to crease the edges as I go along. And one story after the other, I find myself feeling elated and alarmed at the same time.

Elated, as each story seemed just waiting to be told, written with such earnest and honesty, that I could feel myself in there. Alarmed, at the disillusionment that came with the discovery that talent, indeed, was exuding from each one of these writers. I had suddenly discovered that if I were to sit in a panel of judges, and objectively chose the stories, my own story probably would never have made it to the winners' list!!

But, having said that, I am still in the process of discovering these little gems - one delicious morsel at a time! And I truly recommend this book for all those in love with the quirkiness of the human mind. Go right ahead and order here - I promise, you will not be disappointed!

And now..... I have a treat for all of you. Presenting, a fellow blogger, an astounding writer, a good friend and a (can-you-believe-it!!) doctor - all rolled into one...... Roshan Radhakrishnan (Godyears, as some of you know him) has a story featured in Urban Shots (see... I told you the book is filled with gems!) and you can read the excerpt here .....  and discover for yourself why I am alarmed!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

And let the Drums Roll....

Finally, after much wishing and waiting, that little ray of light at the end of the tunnel is here! My first story titled 'CATS AND SPONGES'  (When an Aquarian writes, you don't exactly expect to see run-of-the-mill words as the title, do you?) is one of the stories in the anthology of Urban Shots - Bright Lights.


NO, I am not a lover of cats, and I certainly do not have a thesis on the evolution of  *some* human beings from sponge. But I can guarantee that if you like urban stories - the ones with climaxes that leave you jolted - then this is the one to read.

Now that I have enough hot air in my head to get an elephant airborne (no pun intended), let me move on to the next agenda : shameless propagation of my work - so that I can get rich and famous overnight! So, please order from any one of these sites ( I promise, in my biography, I will thank each and every person who did so!) Most of these sites are currently offering a pre-order discount, which lasts till the book launch (which incidentally is on 19th in Mumbai.)

Click on anyone of the following to pre-order the books :
Flipkart
Landmark
Crossword
Uread

And when you do lay you hands on the copy, please do let me know how it was!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Snowflake

This entry is a part of the contest at BlogAdda.com in association with imlee.com


* My little sister is now a mother of two, and the latest addition to our family is a sweet little boy they like to aptly call 'Snowflake' - and I haven't met him yet  *Sulk* ..... hence this post!

A lump in my throat,
A sigh on my breath.
A wish on my mind
A tear in my eye.

A prayer in my heart
A kiss on your cheek
A smile on my lips
A blessing in my soul.

Snowflake, welcome to this world, darling.

Your Mom and Dad and all of us who love them, have been waiting for you to arrive. And you know what? In the future, you will have to bear with stories told and retold about how you were when you were snugly sleeping in your Mommy's tummy. (Bear with me for this, little one - for I too, will remind you of how you kicked so bad that your Mommy had bruised ribs from all the Football practise you did in there!)

You will also be pampered silly by all of us - since you are going to be the little baby in the family (yes, dear - forever.... even when you turn 30!). Now, there may be times when you feel that you are getting the short end of the stick in the bargain, but believe me, it beats being blamed every time something goes wrong (oh! ask your Mom, and she'll tell you tales about how her elder sister got pulled up every time.)

You also have a tall order, dude. Your sisters are both beautiful, and are talented actresses, and can break anyone's angry gaze in a micro second with a few fluttering eyelashes. You may just need to find a way to outsmart them. And your brother, well, the lesser said the better. The last I saw him, he was planning an escapade I am terrified to even think of! So you understand the dynamics here, right?

But don't you worry - you'll always be my favorite baby! You'll be the one who has the maximum number of baby stories - and forgive us in advance, because we'll be telling these stories even on your wedding day!

Be nice, baby! And tell Mommy and Dad that I am waiting to see you soon. Love you.

Your Vellimma (Aunt)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

'Thinner Dinner' - a Cookbook with a difference

Most "how-to" books have a very difficult job - they have to establish credibility BEFORE the person actually buys the book to try out the mentioned tips. You have to hand it to the author of Thinner Dinner - Shubhra Krishan does that wonderfully.



The first point of grabbing the eyeballs come by way of the declaration that the author IS NOT a nutritionist. OK, you ask then, what's in the book that will interest me? The answer to that comes pat with another gasp-worthy declaration - that she lost close to 20 kilos with the help of these tips. Oh yes! We have your attention now, don't we?

Unlike most cookbooks, this one does not have a boring list of ingredients and another boring set of instructions. This one comes with nice, glossy pages, colorful illustrations - not only of the food, but also some smile-worthy cartoons (and let me warn you, some of them are humorous enough to make you laugh even a few hours later, just thinking about them.). If I were to give this book a personality, it would look like a cross between a humorous, suave Will Smith (MIB types) and a Penelope Cruz ( the 'Woman on Top' type) - sensuous passion for food stirred in with a generous helping of humour and style.

There is a lot happening in the book, with the author giving snippets of insight into life in Delhi, the colorful joints from various cities of the world. (here I can't help but compare the writing to that of Vir Sanghvi - the way he mentions in a single breath the dhaba and the London Square with equal ease)

The other stuff that works well for the book is that the tips and tricks mentioned in the book are written with such sincerity that one thinks "Hey! What do you know - this thing just might work for me too!". The author manages, by quoting examples and other self-realizations, to create a sense of deja-vu with almost every woman battling the girth. Then there are references to staple Dal-chawal, a few tweaks to even packaged soup, a few substitutions for food that we love - like cream and potatoes, that make reading this book really worthwhile.

But what doesn't work for me, is that this seems to be targeted at a single woman. Sigh! Not that I wouldn't give an arm and a leg to come back home, kick my shoes in the air, and whip up a delicious salad and soup mentioned here....... But wait-a-minute! What happens to the hungry 4 year old and the famished 8 year old in my household? Not to mention the 'will-turn-grouchy-if-not-fed' man of the house? See what I mean? I would have loved to see some 'for-the-big-fat-Indian-family' recipes too!

I was tortured into studying foreign food names for three years in the classrooms of a Hotel management institute, which explains how I can understand some of the ingredients mentioned in the book. This may prove to be quite a deterrent to many other readers, who do not fancy googling for the 'brie and cammembert' or the 'rocket leaves'..... would have been excellent if there were some desi options for such ingredients as well.

And can there be something called 'too simple'? Well, there are times while flipping through the recipes that you wonder - 'I knew that one, and whats so special about this one?' But even the 'too simple recipes' come with the signature flourish that the author has - so it can be ignored.

In a nutshell, 'Thinner Dinner' is more than just cooking healthy. It sells a concept. It works on the wholesomeness of eating - feasting with the eyes, and flirting with textures. It is clearly written for people who have always had romantic interludes with food (like me). And for sure, it is written with a passion - both for food, and for style. And in the process of all the feasting and flirting, lose a few kilos - like twenty maybe? Heck - who wouldn't like that?

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Unwritten rules of good friendship

*blah-blah alert*
In no mood to write the stuff I am ACTUALLY supposed to be writing  - my office report, the long due reply to the emails of random relatives, the kids' homework .. what? DO NOT believe any parent who claims they don't do even a wee bit of their kids' homework -they are pathological LIARS!

Thus you find here random craziness put together with on a deplorably cold evening (its a !!!@#!-ing 3 degrees in Delhi!) - so please feel free to not read this post! *sulk face*

I discovered that friends have an important function in the evolution of mankind - it taught us the valuable lesson in being a social animal in the first place - and of course women and men have completely different codes of friendship. The male version is quite elaborately dissected and discussed in all the 'bro-codes' of 'How I met your Mother'. What about the sis-codes? Well, ladies and gents, here it is -

  • Rule 1 : Dress-to-kill-at-weddings (literally) : Notice how your best friends (and your sister) dress over the top at your weddings? Bet you didn't know that we HAVE to overdo the makeup and the expensive hairdo - just so that the bride doesn't look as if she steeped out of a Rajshree set ALONE - we accompanied her! I mean, really - have you heard of the GROOM's friends getting a manicure because of his best friends' wedding? Well, WE have manicures, back bleaches and the works when OUR friend gets married - now THATs friendship!
  • Rule 2 : Talk - Period : Have you spent the whole day talking, and then lie down in bed and continue to talk till dawn. We do it - with aplomb! Especially if we have met after a few years. Talk about old times, about every other person we both know, about how we would do what to them if we got the chance, and when we plan to do what! Yes, the WHOLE night - we can do that! And when we drink, we still manage to talk better - beat that!
  • Rule 3 : Compare : Let me elaborate. I may have a psychopathic stalker threatening to kill me. But if (rather, WHEN) I talk to my friend, she will have elaborate details of how she, or someone she knows, had an even worse situation. In short, she will tell you how everyone else has the same problem too - for all you know, I might be better off, you know........ There you go! That's an instant pick-me-up, don't you think?
  • Rule 4 : Bargain : Now, I may not NEED that Persian rug. I may have just mentioned in a passing to my shopping friend how it would look nice in the living room. Bingo! You have just activated the chemical locha in her head, and she turns into this mean, number calculating, bargaining machine. She'll huff and she'll puff till the poor sales guy will hold a cross to ward her off, and you get such a bargain, that you end up buying stuff that will create a crater in your purse! But a bargain is a bargain, right?
  • Rule 5 : We love each others' kids. Seriously, you can see us gush over how cute the little one looks, or how nice the big one behaves. We may not always agree on the schools they choose, or the clothes they wear, but we will ALWAYS praise the kids. If not, we just may end up clobbering each other.
  • Rule 6 : We will hug each other when we meet - even if we meet every two days!! The noise level and the length of the hug (include some jumping and whooping too, sometimes) will be directly proportional to the length of time we have not met each other. Oh - and SOMETIMES (that is a big word) its perfectly fine with us to hug a person we are meeting for the first time too!
I am sure there are many more pointers we can add to the sis-code ... what say?