Category: Blogging

Harp – Book Review (BlogAdda)

First of all thanks to Blogadda for this opportunity and the patience they have showed. I feel terrible that I could not complete my review in the time they had requested. My work and personal commitments + travel took up most of my time in the last month. These are the most busy times at work and I found it difficult to devote time to the book and then write the review.

I volunteered for the program with intention of getting back to blogging + increasing my reading which has slackened severely in the last few years. I envy those who can manage work, travel, and finish books in the time one takes to finish off biscuits. When Blogadda tweeted about wanting bloggers residing in Europe to be part of the book review, I decided to volunteer , wondering what the topic of the book would entail.

The premise of Harp by Nidhi Dalmia seemed very interesting. The setting in the late 60s – a time when India was in teens and her young generation was eager to seek adventure in the western world. The young breaking free from the norm and the age old traditions. A rebellious streak, a daring to try something anew and nursing a fearless craving to travel the world. The setting Europe – which has some of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Ashok the protagonist , born in an educated business family, joins his father’s Dairy products factory soon after college. He is the only son with two sisters and enjoys many privileges compared to his sisters, given the attitude of parents & society to sons vs.. Girls. Much against his parent’s wishes, he earns his scholarships and ventures out to Europe, to intern at different dairy companies. And on this journey, he encounters many a romantic adventures.

This is where my interest stopped, I waited for Ashok’s character to build up, his romantic affairs, the build up to meeting different women on his journey, establishing a reason to get together, his struggles in the new land, far away from the comforts of home or his relationships with his parents and sisters. I barely read through 30% of the book – neither did the language work for me nor the characters; I kept waiting for the story to take a turn.

Europe has some of the most picturesque towns and cities and I was most disappointed that the author did not manage to bring alive the beauty of the surroundings in her book. I kept craving for the minor details that would paint the romantic setting associated with most places in Europe. The writing was immature , where the story had a stop-start-stop-start narrative. The sentences felt cut and there seemed no flow from one sentence to the other. If this was a first attempt, it surely needed lots of editing. Ashok’s character seemed weak, more driven by lust than love or genuine attraction. His interests were randomly established and just felt forced when he met the women. I did not feel any connection or curiosity to what happens next with the central characters.

I did try my best to give this book a shot to complete but I just could not. If the book is good, you will find a way from the busy schedules to complete it but sadly Harp did not motivate me enough to finish it. I hope the next books I volunteer to read for this program manage to hold my interest for a longer time than Harp did.

Down with Plagiarism

I cannot fathom how people can pass of other’s work as their own. Sure I see it a lot in my offline world but this is not acceptable.

My thoughts and opinions make me unique so don’t ttry taking them away and publishing as your own.

IHM we love your blog and all your blogposts – your thoughts which are only yours and none not even ShetalShah can make them their own!

In the fight against plagiarism with you – you know you will win this one!

The Second One

From Starry Eyed…

loveblogaward one_lovely_blog

Sands had tagged me first hence most questions here! But I simply cannot not do the tag again when a wonderful blogger thinks you are worthy of an award!!! Starry Eyed Thanks a ton!! It’s an honour.

So although late ( I was on a vacation in Mumbai for a wedding) I had to complete it! Hence I’ve picked up some questions not in the earlier one and entered my responses here!

What do you think about the person who tagged you?

This is for Starry Eyed  – I think she is a terrific mother and my inspiration for the one wish I’ve shared with her!

What’s the principle you live life by?

If I did not get it I did not deserve it, If I have got it I have bloody well earned it!

Which is your favourite poem?

I am not a poetry freak and even if it sounds clichéd this one inspires me time and again- “IF” by Rudyard Kipling

Which feature of yours do you like the most?

The dimple on my left cheek:-))

The First One…

Sands sent me this one and I’m flattered! Absolutely flattered. I’ve known her for a month now only through her blog. I like her blog simply cause she writes straight from the heart, a quality I immensely admire! Also she has opinions surprisingly very similar to mine.

Keep the great work Sands and I do not have words to thank you for this one!

one_lovely_blog loveblogaward

This is my first one in the blogging world. It’s a great boost after coming back to this space after a hiatus of 3 years from the blogging world!

So now I must complete what is expected as a recipient of this award.

And here is the tag that goes with the award…

1. What is your current obsession?
Cooking (Especially making breakfast), Reading interesting blogs and blogging, Writing Tags on Blogs and FB, Bejeweled Blitz and Zuma (The games are stupid but addictive) and My Papa’s Princess’s Wedding in August.

2. What are you wearing today?
My office formals

3. What’s for dinner?
Aloo Palak & Roti

4. What’s the last thing you bought?
Fuel for my car yesterday evening!

5. What are you listening to right now?
Arziyaan from Delhi-6. The song is soothing

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?
She is super awesome( The phrase is borrowed from another friend I made last week – She too is Super Awesome). I get to know bits and pieces of her every day from her blog. I hope I get to meet her someday and btw she has lovely eyes – See the bride tag on her blog!

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
London, UK. I am absolutely in love with that place.

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?
Sleeveless tops, cotton kurtas, shorts, linen skirts, my slip-ons, glares and deodorants

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
To Mumbai, our princess is getting married, her wedding preps on in full swing and I so want to be there soon!

10. Which language do you want to learn?
German – Completed Level 1 at Max Mueller and never continued it:-(

Tamil – I have a decent collection of A R Rahman original Tamil songs. I’ve seen Kandukondain Kandukondain, Thevar Magan and Anjali in Tamil with English Sub-titles and loved them in their original form.

11. What’s your favourite quote?
Win as if you were used to it. Lose as if you enjoyed it for a change – Ralph Waldo Emerson

12. Who do you want to meet right now?
If God would permit – My Papa

13. What is your favourite colour?
Two – Blue and White (Most of my wardrobe comes in these 2 colours)

14. What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own closet?
A lovely white kurta mixed ‘n matched with blue chudidaar and crushed chunni!

15. What is your dream job?
Exactly what he does. I tried in 2004 for this but as luck would have it, I did not get past the city rounds:-(

16. What’s your favourite magazine?
None at present – do my reading online!

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
That is almost AED 400 – On some nice SIA Jewellery to go with my new Saree for our princess’s pre-wedding party!

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?
I’ll borrow this from Sands since she summed up my feelings to a tee – “Wearing clothes that don’t suit you even if it is the latest craze.”

19. Who are your style icons?
My friends – They have an excellent dressing sense

20. Describe your personal style.?
Whatever I’m comfortable in and makes me look good;-)

21. What are you going to do after this?

22. What are your favourite movies?
Too many to list but will list some


DDLJ, Andaz Apna Apna, DCH, Lagaan, Chak De, MunnaBhai Series, Chup Chup Ke, Golmaal (old one), Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Masoom, Sita Aur Gita, Mr. India, KHNH (sentimental value – MDH told me the story was all about me! So how can it not be on my favourite list). KKHH (Only only for Kajol), BluffMaster etc….


A Few Good Men, Ocean’s Eleven, Transformers, The Incredibles, Catch Me If you Can, The Hangover, Speed, A walk in the clouds, All HP Films, Lord of the Rings, All Superhero films, Little Miss Sunshine


Anjali, Kandukondain Kandukondain, Thevar Magan,

24. What are three cosmetic/makeup/perfume products that you can’t live without?
Olay Day and Night Cream, Revlon Lipstick, & Dior Perfume

23. What inspires you?
Super –achievers, out of the box thinkers, exceptions to the norm! People who dare to question and stand firm when they are right no matter what!

24. What do you do when you “have nothing to wear” (even though your closet’s packed)?
If I have the time I go shop, else I mix ‘n match and produce something not tried before!

25. Coffee or tea?
Both. Coffee in morning and tea in evening

26. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?
MDH and S (My Rock of Gibraltar) are at the receiving end. Talking to them helps me get back to normal

27. What is the meaning of your name?
I’m not so sure. Some books say it means small fish while a Sanskrit dictionary I have says it’s a precious gem.

It was given to me so that it rhymed with my cousin sister’s name( She too was an only child like me!). I don’t think her or my parents gave it too much of thought in terms of the meaning!

28. Which other blogs you love visiting?
Check my blogroll and bloglines listing – You’ll find the answer there.

29. Favourite Dessert/Sweet?
Triple Dare Chocolate Cake from Coco’s – Dubai It is delicious.

30. Favourite Season ?
Winter here in Dubai

31. If I come to your house now, what would u cook for me?
Sad that it is Shravan and I cannot make my famous cheese omlette or egg bhurji if you decide to drop in suddenly, if you give me time I would’ve cooked my famous Prawns Green Masala & Chicken Curry with Roti and Fried Rice

Since it’s Shravan and I’m a Veggie: Quick Fix – Thikhat Shira/ Beetroot Cutlets. If told well in advance – Palak paneer, paratha, cauliflower-potato-green peas-kala masala veggie, dal fry and rice

32) What’s your current mood?
Restless – can’t wait to get to Mumbai!

33) What’s your sun sign?

34) If you get to be one person(alive) for a day whom would you choose

Indra Nooyi. I would love to know what it is like to be a CEO of such a huge MNC!

35) If you could travel back in time where would you like to go?

To the time of Shivaji Maharaj and follow his and his mavlas achievements– Maratha history always always fascinated me!

The rules are:
Respond and rework – Answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, and add one more question of your own.Then tag eight or ten other set of people.
I would like to share these awards and tag these wonderful bloggers:

Absolute Lee, Sujatha, Mary, Sunil, Uma, Aditi, Radiance, Sakshi, Shoefiend, Megha.

P.S: I’d award Sands again but the tag says “öther set” set of people:-( Sands nevertheless – the award again to you from me:-)


Long break from blogging and I really missed it:-( Most of all I missed reading other blogs!
First half of the break dedicated to a fun-filled Diwali celebrations. First after marriage was special and boy I wish it would be the same every year!
Second half dedicated to some serious studies and getting back to the books after a break can be nerve-wrecking!!
Anyways am back to regular business. Too many things to discuss, and yes cricket is on the top of the list. Regular blogging will resume. Watch this space for more…

A Little Bit of Help…

You can’t always be there for everyone every time. You can’t always lend a helping hand physically, but there are small ways in which you can help. Little contributions go a long way in building strong foundations. This is one of the small things we can do.

Desipundit has called for Blog Quake Day on October 26th, 2005 to help raise funds for the South Asia Earthquake Relief Funds; join in and spread the word.

How often have we seen man collapse due to the fury of mother nature. Lessons are learnt and we rebuild ourselves again. There is a way to help them live again. Lest we forget, go ahead and extend your hand, they need it in these times.

50 Today…& Living Abroad

I never thought I’d touch this landmark in my blogging world. I am extremely pleased with myself for being a regular, laziness has often got in my way and I’ve left a lot of things that were ‘Well Begun but Half Done’! Not this blog! I intend to continue it cause it is just about opening a new world for me.

What should I post as my 50th post, I gave it a thought and decided to post a small writing of mine. I had given a shot at blogging sometime last year and gave it up! This was a small post of mine that I had written wondering what would it be like if I lived abroad ?

More on it after this post:

I Love My Life Staying Abroad…

Hey I’m just like most of you all today. Ya I’m staying abroad in the US of A, my friends are here too, studying in various fields, some majoring in medicine, some doing a PhD in computer science, some working, some married and settled with their hubbies.

We all know or rather believe that India’s under/post graduation system is not upto world standards. The truth and yes as always, is bitter. So I chose to write my own destiny, not get caught in the dirty bureaucracy surrounding Indian education system, leave my land, family and friends and come here to succeed. To educate myself, and but of course, earn big bucks.

The system is absolutely great here, excellent facilities, huge campuses, excellent profs, everything is wi-fi connected. It’s a world I couldn’t have dreamt of in India.

I’m living on my own (freedom from my family, taunting mumma and papa ; and irritating sis/bro); I do my own dishes( how I would crib about it when I was home) and manage to cook( no ways who misses mum’s food). I use canned foods or artificial masalas (I do not miss the taste of my nani’s masala) After all I’m in a modern country living an ultra-modern lifestyle.

On weekends we drive down to other friends’ places and get-together on festive occasions like Diwali, Ganapti. Holi.This will pretty much be my routine for the rest of my life if I plan to spend it here…

My mumma & papa complain they miss me, I do too, but I’m doing it for them only. They won’t shift here, but we will visit each other once a year.

For 21 years I saw them… everyday of my life,
Now for the rest of my life I’ll see them..Once a year

I remember the day we got our SSC results, we girls had a blast, I topped and threw a party. At home, mumma had made cutlets kheema pattice, wafers, and what not. After SSC, Graduation is most important for any student. But when we got our engineering results; none of us were together to celebrate our graduation as we all had started our post-grad courses and obviously we had no time!

My papa-mumma called to congratulate, I could not see their tears of joy or their proud smiles.

I was well-known for my cricket craziness in college, especially since I was the only girl who followed the game so passionately. I never missed a match at Wankhede. It’s been four years since I’ve been to the stadium. I dunno for how long I won’t see one again at the stadium…

Hey, you know what my childhood friend is getting married, I’ve known her for 20 years now but I can’t attend her wedding, well no holiday; just started a course…

My best friend from engineering days is tying the knot, he has been my best friend among guys for years now, and we have had a blast, but I just visited India a year back, and can’t again.
Will miss his wedding too…

It’s my wedding, I’ve dreamt of it for years, but certainly not this way; I will be in India for only 3 weeks and get back here again. I have not done any of my shopping, mum and sis have done everything. Have no clue how Indian weddings happen, the preps and festivities behind it. I’ve had no time to be there that long. My friends can’t make it cause they are all occupied with their jobs and work. It was a hurried wedding, cause we could not delay it further!…

My younger sister is getting engaged, the only one who has been close to me. She and I used to fight like crazy, cannot believe she is getting engaged. I can’t attend it, cause my job does not permit me so many holidays and trips to India. I cried my heart out to nani on the day of her engagement; but what am I cribbing about, my hubby and I chose to live here, did we not?…

It’s Diwali, the entire family is having a get-together, my sister was describing the shopping and the gifts everyone has got, I’m missing my brothers, it is Bhaubij, they are missing me too but they all are together and I’m not there…

My school pal needed us girls everywhere, the smallest of shopping, the minutest of things, today she is doing everything by herself, and not once has she complained to few of us here that she will miss us at her wedding and wedding preps. She says she has accepted the fact that we are not there, she knows we miss her and feel terrible about it, but neither can she nor we do anything about it, so no point cribbing, But she keeps sending mails, describing every little stages of her wedding preparations, she sounds so excited. Hey is it that big, I too got married but I never experienced that!

It’s her important day, she wants to enjoy it without such thoughts; we all wish we were there, we can’t be.

Why? Cause we chose not to…

My other sis is in UK, she just had a little baby, her parents could enjoy the joy of their grandchild only for a month and they do not know when they will meet her next, once a year maybe and the little kid will never know what grandparents are like! She won’t even know her mausi; who could not be there for her birth, naming ceremony, her first birthday, I do not know if I will ever attend her b-days or keep merely sending her gifts through the internet and make phone calls.
I remember my b-day when the whole house was filled with my family, my mama-mamis, chacha-chahis, mausi, sis-bros, friends; now it’s always me and my roomies, or maybe a few batchmates, colleagues at work…

Mumma-papa-sis-bro all call. It’s great hearing their voices. I dunno when I will see them, work is getting hectic, trips getting postponed…

My mum recalls all the events in her life with so much glitter in her eyes, her life today is complete, the memories will stay with her forever, she can recall each event as if it was happening in front of her right now.

I have only voices to recall, cause I’ve not met my closest ones in years…

I’ve missed all the important events in their life; and will keep doing so…

I know they understand…
Ya I chose it, the great education and money abroad…

What am I complaining about?
Now for some reality check, I’m very much in India and never went abroad. I was feeling awfully bad that few of my closest family members and friends had missed my engagement and some of them would be missing my marriage too.

I wrote that piece placing myself in their shoes and thinking about life there. The writing flowed in cause as much I felt bad and missed them at such an important day in my life I knew they’d be feeling worse than me.

However, at the end of the day all I could tell myself was, Minal, Such is Life!

Off the mark

Hey There,
Blogging, bloggers… Heard it all. Read it all.
Did I get inspired or just thought let’s join the bandwagon and see where it takes me…
Will try to be a regular as much as I can. 
I don’t have an answer to that but just that it’s a nice medium to put down your thoughts and be heard.. oops ..sorry Read!
And even if I’m not read, it’s a great way to punch in thoughts as and when they come, unedited…
Started a bit too late, but then it’s better late than never, Hmmmm the age old adage to start with. 
Right now, as of today, I’m finally off the mark… 

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