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Posts from — January 2013

Book V/s Movie Review: The Help

Over the years I’ve come across a lot of books that have been made into movies, and since I read a fair bit I usually land up reading the book before the movie. Asked off my head I can’t think of even one movie that out-shine’s the book (Life of Pi might be the exception when I see it, since I gave up on the book after 3 pages); though maybe if I give it some thought some book might just pop up.

With the thought of comparison on my head last week I came across ‘The Help‘, a book I read in 2011 and then watched as a movie last year. It’s a movie I liked so I’d watched it a few times and now I couldn’t remember what were the differences between the movie and the book. There’s no better way to sort this out then to read the book and watch the movie, again. That got me started on reading the book again last week.

Growing up when I got to the age of idolizing romance, there was no better ideal than Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. I read the book repeatedly until in my dreams I was Scarlett and there stood Rhett before me. But as I grew up the book became more than a romance and one of my favourite characters became Mammy. She was loving, caring, the perfect mother alternate. She loved Scarlett truly knowing all along just who Scarlett really was. At that age of course I didn’t have any understanding of colour and being brown myself helped. 🙂

In college I took up a 100 hours course on American Literature and there discovered Afro-American writers, musicians, speakers and more. (I wish I could have just said Black Writers, I know its politically incorrect and all that but I love my colour and am all patches and colours of brown; however that’s a topic for another day). I read about life as a slave, the fight for freedom, for equality, apartheid and more and I saw Mammy in a very different light suddenly.

Kathryn Stockett’s book ‘The Help‘ is just that, the voice of Mammy telling what life was on the other side of the fence. I love the book and at some places I tear-up every time reading about how inhumane we can be to people who are also human. The book’s a wonderful read just the way it is, I just wish it had really been written by an Afro-American. If you haven’t read the book yet, this book is a must read!

The Help isn’t a small or thin book and considering this time I wanted to compare the book to the movie I was reading quite slowly and mentally making notes. I finally finished the book a few days back, after a whole week (the migraines did not help). It was time to watch the movie and with Che being away, it was the perfect day to concentrate and watch a movie. I switched on the the computer, opened up notepad to make notes through the movie and settled-in to watch.

But I didn’t land up using the notepad at all and not because there were no differences. There were tons of differences. Shortening a long story like the Help into two and a half hours isn’t easy, and to still keep the core of the story I guess things have to change a bit or rather quite a bit. But I must say none of the changes take away from the story. The core and crux remains and the changes only add to the telling. The movie is also a must watch! It makes you sit up and realise that life isn’t all Gone With the Wind.

But I have to stick with what I set out to do. I have to chose between the movie and the book. Well my choice is…, the award goes too… 😀 Yeah, alright, ok, I’m cutting it out. I would still choose the book over the movie. The book has so much more in terms of the story and drama but if you aren’t a reader, watch the movie you’ll definitely appreciate it.

Have you read the book and watched the movie? Which did you prefer?

Buy the Book: Amazon | FlipKart
Buy the Movie: Amazon | FlipKart

January 31, 2013   2 Comments

2012: As Seen In Books

Books of 2012

I’ve already started with my reading for this year but thanks to being ill I haven’t done any major reading (I’ve been reading Harry Potter, the Enid Blyton of today) yet. Now before I start reading my lists for this year I thought I’d take a quick look at my book stats for 2012 and compare them to 2011 and see how I did fare in two years.

Here’s what I found –

Top Rated Books
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Books that stood-out for me in 2012
I experimented quite a bit in 2012 with books, genres and authors, especially since a lot of authors started to give away their ebooks on Amazon for free through the KDP program. Here are the books and series that were interesting finds for me in 2012.

Books –
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Indian Maidens Bust Loose by Vidya Samson
Sikander by M. Salahuddin Khan
The Loom by Shella Gillus
Bitch Goddess for Dummies by Maya Sharma Sriram

Series –
Little Blue Envelope Series by Maureen Johnson
A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
Ghost-in-Law Series by Jana Deleon
An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Series by Chanda Hahn
Chronicles of the Kings Series by Lynn Austin

Most Read Authors
George R.R. Martin – 5
J.K. Rowling – 7
Chanda Hahn – 2
Maureen Johnson – 2

Books Read each Month
May – 13
August – 12
January – 10
February and June – 6
March, July and September – 5
April and November – 3
December – 2

Last year I read the most number of books in February (11). This year in October I didn’t read even one book :O

Out of the 70 books I read 59 were eBooks! The Kindle has completely paid off; it’s officially the best gift I’ve got in a while. Another significant number is 11 – the number of books I read by Indian Authors. I’m hoping this will be a higher number in 2013.

Looking back my choice of books says so much about the year. I’ve read a large variety of authors this year and alot of Indian authors that I made a concsious effort to find. I didn’t always find good books but mostly the books I’ve read I enjoyed and would recommend. Indian Authors have gotten better over the years and so has publishing. I’ve seen some very nice book covers this year, specially the ones from Rupa Publishing.

I found some great books by chance trolling through Amazon. Don’t miss out on Indian Maidens Bust Loose and Sikander. If you are looking for something different yet enjoyable then read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The Palace of Illusions.

What have you noticed in your reading in 2012? Which books stood-out for you? What would you recommend I read in 2013?

January 29, 2013   3 Comments

My 2012 vs 2011 GoodReads Challenge

GR Challenge

2011 was the first year I took part in the GoodReads reading challenge. I decided to read 50 books in the year and exceeded that target by reading 66. Feeling all motivated by my success I set my target in 2012 at 100 books. Sadly 🙁 I didn’t achieve it and read only 70 books but it is still more than 2011. Sticking to my guns I’ve set this years target at 100 again, I’m gonna try my best to beat it this year.

At the start of 2012 I looked at GoodReads and reviewed my year in books. Not breaking away from tradition I’m doing it again this year to see what did I do in terms of books through 2012.

So here’s the stats in comparison to last year (2011).

GR Pub Date Chart

Unlike 2011, in 2012 all the books I read were published after 1995 and not earlier than that.

GR Pages count

Last year I read 25,397 pages, thats 751 less than 2011. 🙁

GR Rating chart

I gave 6 books 5 stars!! (10 in 2011)
And 32 books got 4 stars. (32 in 2011)
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin was the longest book I read with 1,177 pages. (Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, 985 pages in 2011)
And there were no books that I did not finish! (1 in 2011)

How many books did you read in 2012? Notice any trends in your reading?

January 24, 2013   2 Comments

Taking Care of My Money Plant in Water

I grew up to a saying that if you stole a piece of money plant and it grew and flourished in your house you would prosper and get rich. So its a plant most houses had and its a hardy plant so we had a few of them at home too.

Some months back in an attempt to add some green to my house, Mom got me a cutting to grow in a bottle. Now that the plant has grown at bit and has settled into the bottle, I got down to do some reading about it.

Some things I didn’t know about the money plant –

  • The scientific name for the Money Plant is Epipremnum aureum or Scindapsus aureus.
  • It is found from Northern Australia through Malaysia and Indonesia into China, Japan and India.
  • It flowers in the wild.
  • The sap of the money plant is poisonous if consumed. The presence of insoluble raphides make it toxic to dogs, cats and children. Symptoms may include oral irritation, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. I need to keep it out of reach of the dogs.
  • It has even caused enough ecological damage to be listed on the USDA Florida Exotic Pest Control Council list 1999 as an invasive species.
  • Other names of the money plant are – Australian native monstera, centipede tongavine, devil’s ivy, golden pothos, hunter’s robe, ivy arum, silver vine, Solomon Islands ivy and taro vine.
  • Money Plant is efficient at removing indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene.
  • It can be used in aquariums, by placing it on top of the aquarium and allowing the roots to grow in the water. The plant absorbs many nitrates and uses them for growth.

Some I didn’t know but had figured out over time –

  • The money plant is a hardy plant and its leaves last longer that most other plants.
  • It grows in both soil and water but once planted the medium can’t be changed.
  • The simplest way to get a new plant is to take a cutting off an existing plant and planting it into soil or water.
  • Water grown money plants are smaller and more slender that soil ones.
  • The first couple of weeks require constant changing of water. As the plant settles-in the die-off causes a lot of foul smell.
  • The water tends to stay clear longer after the roots have settled in.

Notes to myself from around the internet to help me keep my plant healthy –

Temperature – Requires temperatures between 15-30deg C, below 10deg the leaves develop spots and turn yellow.

Sunlight – Leaves turning yellow and shedding  is a sign of excessive sunlight. Money plants don’t like too much heavy sunlight so in summer you could place a wet cloth above it and put some ice cubes in the plant in the afternoon.
Update 26/09/’16: My plants are kept in a mostly cool and mildly lit place. Not much sunlight reaches here so my plants have been growing very slowly. In an attempt to make them grow faster, last month I put my plants out for some light and by mistake put them out in direct sunlight and forgot. By the time I remembered again some hours had passed and most of my leaves had gotten sunburned. I did try salvaging them with lots of TLC but only 1 out of 4 plants survived. DON’t put your house plants out in direct sun!

Watering – It is advised to change water every 2-3 days. (I did this in the initial weeks but now the plant has settled so have reduced the change to once in a week or two based on water quality.)
Update 10/07/’15: After losing my first plant to a virus and taking care of 3 new cuttings for a year now, I’d add that after the plant has settled with a good number of roots and if the water quality is good and doesn’t get messy, the change of water could be done once a month. If the water is clean, you need to change just half the water. If it looks dirty and has a lot of debris, rinse the bottle and change the water completely.

Gel – I have to try gel out for my bottled money plant. Theoretically the gel should absorb the water and the plant can take from it as and when required.  I’ll have to top up water every week or so but it solves any mosquito problems. That said  I’m not sure if this would work for a water grown plant.
Update 10/07/’15: I bought some gel last year and tried it out for a year in two bottles while the third stayed as a control with water. I didn’t see any marked difference between the plants growing with gel and those without. It also meant I couldn’t change the water in the gel bottles through the year and had to just keep toping it. That’s an upside though as it made it really low maintenance. But as such the gel didn’t make a difference to my plants wellbeing.

Trimming – New leaves grow out from the tips of the creeper. Trimming side shoots will give a  single long stem or cutting off the tip will encourage side growth to give a more fuller plant. Also as the plant is growing I keep pushing it back into the bottle a little off and on. That way the nodes that touch the water will give out roots and over time I will be able to snip off the bottom roots as they start to rot without affecting the plant much.

Fertiliser – It can survive on naturally found salts in water and does not require addition of nutrients to the water. But any nitrate base fertiliser can be used. A weak solution of liquid fertiliser to be added into the water keeping in mind to add it late evening because in strong sunlight the fertiliser can cause root burn. (Don’t add fertiliser to newly cut or trimmed plants as fertiliser can damage the plant. Roots and leaves have different types of fertilisers.)

Pesticide – The money plant does not attract a lot of pests however it sees its fair share of ants and mosquitoes. A water based household insect spray like Sheltox would get rid of the ants and mosquitoes. ( I tend to use narrow necked and clear bottles so I can keep an eye on water quality. )

Do you have a money plant at home? Do you have any advise for me? What can I do to make my plant flourish and hence get rich? 😛

Related Articles
How to Grow Money Plant at Home – Ace Gardener

January 22, 2013   98 Comments

Book Review: Bitch Goddess for Dummies by Maya Sharma Sriram

Title: Bitch Goddess for Dummies
Author: Maya Sharma Sriram
Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Rupa Publications (2012)
Genre: Chick-Lit
Read: Paperback
Stars: ****/5
Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart
Summary: (Amazon)
Edgy and wickedly funny, this is exciting debut novel that will have readers engaged and entertained throughout.
Bitch Goddess Rule # 52: Dont Mess with a Bitch Goddess. Ever. She Gives as Good as She Gets.
Tired of being a pushover and a wimp, Mira Iyer decides to change her life forever. Thus begins Project Bitch Goddess. She junks her Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes image and brings out the killer stilettos. She demands her bosss attention, and the next pro- motion, and matches her crafty colleague, the impossibly beautiful Sanya, move for move. But when Mira starts playing mind games with the suave Rohan whom Sanya is also desperately trying to woo things threaten to go too far. Then, Miras half-sister lands at her doorstep, and compels her to confront her estranged father and her long-closeted inner demons. Will the snappy Bitch Goddess Rules come to Miras rescue, or leave her scarred?
Set in Singapore and India, Bitch Goddess for Dummies is replete with dark humour and is a powerful antidote for those who must suffer because they are too nice.

My Review:

Note: Thanks to the guys at MySmartPrice for offering me this book to review 🙂

Cover: Eye-Candy! The cover is true to the book!

Paper and font: The paper’s ok, though I would have liked a slightly bigger and spacier font. It’s a tad bit small and tight.

Readability, language: The book reads well, with mostly simple language (there are words like solecism) and a subject every working girl knows about.

Why did I choose this book: Something about the name said ‘You must read this!’.

A racy chick-lit, I couldn’t keep the book down once I started. Mira the heroine is a simple Tam-Bram girl who has been brought up to do things properly. She doesn’t know the twisted ways of the world today and ends up being walked over constantly by Sanya in office. Sanya is the epitome of the girl we all called the ‘Bitch’ in office, the one who with her coy ways always gets her way. Mira tired of being a wimp and a pushover decides to take a leaf from Sanya’s book and become the bitch goddess. What results is an account of Mira’s conflicts between being her and a bitch goddress, the confusion for her close friend Vinay who can’t seem to understand what’s got into her and the upheavel caused by the entry of the hero Rohan in the midst of things as Mira finds the right balance of things in her life.

Mira is that girl each one of us was when we first stepped into the corporate world of today, stumbling along and learning the rules of the game. Sanya like I said before is the epitome of the ‘Bitch’, the one each one of us hated but secretly wanted to be. Vinay is a loveable charater and so remined my of my close buddies at work and how they were my family away from home. All Sriram’s characters are well sketched out and easily recogniseable with someone in our lives.

The book is set in Singapore and India and true to Indians working abroad Sriram brings out the Indian’isms’ displayed by them. Mira’s mother is the typical Tamil Brahmin parent back home trying hard to get her daughter married.

The book is a fast-paced read and I couldn’t keep it down once I started, I wanted to know all that happened to Mira. Sriram has mostly used simple language but there are some big words like ‘Solecism’ thrown in that made me reach out for the dictitionary. Not that am complaining 🙂

I loved the Bitch Goddess Rules that popped up in-between as I was reading the book. Also Mira’s new avatar made me smile big and wide everytime she whooped Sanya. I don’t have any complaints as such of the book. As a to-read-once-chick-lit it’s great.

I’d recommend this book to all those in the corporate world. Most women will associate with it and men like Vinay (who have ‘proper’ women friends) will have a good laugh. Definitely worth a read!

Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart

January 19, 2013   2 Comments

Chithirai Nela from Kadal: ‘If…’ set to music

It’s been a while since a Tamil movie’s songs have struck and stuck with me. Not since Roja and Alai Payude have I hummed a song without understanding a word of what was being sung. But over the last couple of weeks I’ve repeatedly found myself humming Chithirai Nela from the movie Kadal. The song’s just stuck in my head, so I decided today to look up the meaning of the words and my choice couldn’t have been more perfect.

Music by AR Rahman, Lyrics by Vairamuthu and Sung by Vijay Yesudas, Chithirai Nela is a beautiful lullaby about the first moon of the New Year, about rising from the ashes and reaching to the sky. A father sings to his child to try walking, to stand tall and walk to the sky. He sings about the good in everything that happens, the silver-lining; from affliction come deep poems and from losses knowledge. He sings to his child to be strong and face tomorrow with self-confidence. There is only one New Year’s Moon, just as there is only one of everything else, everyone is standing alone but he exhorts his child to walk, to walk towards the sky.

I love the song even more now that I know what it means, it just resonates with my soul and so reminds me of the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling. I remember reading ‘If…’ for the first time years ago; I could so see Rudyard Kipling swinging in a hammock with his son and giving him life advice. ‘If…’ has been a poem I had tried to live by and I love going back to it over the years for a bit of motivation. Chithirai Nela touches that spot. It’s ‘If…’ set to music. 🙂

Kadal is a Mani Rathman movie with Arvind Swamy set to release on 1st of February 2013 and I’m looking forward to it. A romantic thriller the movie is about the life of Christian fisherman and the role faith plays in their lives. This should be an interesting watch, definitely worth first-day-first-show 😀

BTW Chithirai Nela isn’t the only stand out song. Almost all the songs in this movie are awesome. A.R. Rahman spinning his magic again finally. His work hasn’t shaken me up so much lately but this one has that thing that Rahman is known for. Don’t miss ‘Adiye’ in the list, it has this absolutely surprising jazz influence that will make you sit up and listen. A fisherman song set to jazz; you rock Rahman!

Have you heard any stunning sit-up-straight music lately?

January 18, 2013   2 Comments

Migraines, Massages and More

Sometime about the time we returned from TfN I had an allergic attack, by New Year’s it was a full blown sinus cold & cough and last week despite precautions and medications it moved to becoming a migraine. I hate migraines, I wouldn’t wish them on my enemies and sinus migraines are the worst.

My sinus migraine follows a wave, it goes away for a while and I rejoice, then suddenly when I least expect its back in full force. It’s like someone hammering a nail into my head. Only in one little spot in my head. I feel hot and in hell, my eyes feel red and I literally see red. Oh!, it’s horrible. After a while I don’t even enjoy the time when the pain is gone because I know its going to be back and I’m dreading the moment. On a scale on 1 to 10 I’d say the pain fluctuates between 7 and 10. I not yet screaming only because I have a higher pain threshold than normal.

Ah! That felt good. Thank you for listening. I’m in so much pain that I really wanted to tell someone, so I wrote it down 😀

I’ve managed the last few days to do the physical non-thinking work but all mental stuff like my blog posts are just beyond me (it took me four days to slowly complete this post). I can’t; I’m unable to think and its blaady frustrating. I’ve been quite a burden these past few days, mopping around holding my head and moaning at the weirdest of times. I refuse to let a migraine stop my life but it’s horrible and frustrating.

Since medication hadn’t worked and I needed some serious sinus relief, Che did some research on YouTube (hurray for the internet). Here’s a couple of things we watched and tried.

Dr. Veera Gupta’s massage technique works and it did help. It did drain my sinuses a bit and gave me some relief but I guess my sinuses are really clogged and this isn’t enough by itself. Maybe if I did this massage regularly or when the cold starts it’ll help a lot more and I won’t get to this situation. The other drawback to this is that its not easy to do on yourself, it’s better done by someone else on you.

I tried doing these yoga positions but with an all-out migraine bending over caused excruciating pain and I couldn’t do most of the steps Chaz Rough shows. But I guess doing this yoga routine regularly will help stay away from the migraine situation. The breathing step is great and easy to do just after a stream session though.

I also found this video with Michelle Ebbin on ModernMom talking about how to use reflexology to reduce migraines. I don’t really know how well reflexology works but at this point in time I’m happy to try almost anything.

The other thing I’ve been doing a lot is steaming. I’m doing at least two rounds of 10 min. each everyday for the last few days and that has helped too. The steam relieves the nasal block and clears the head at least for a while.

All said and done, I’m trying everything to help me deal with my allergies and migraines, especially since Bangalore isn’t the best of cities for someone with allergies. I’m off to the Doctor again tomorrow to see to the migraines; I can’t live with it anymore.

If you have any tips or advise for me, please let me know. I need all the help I can get. 🙂

Update asof 12th Jan ’13: Been to the the Doc and he says it definitely looks like a sinus induced migraine however before we do any further investigation, I need to get out of the pain I’m in and the migraines and sinus build-up has to reduce. I’m on a course of medication for now. After the course and once I’ve got some relief I need to get a CT-scan done to see that’s constantly causing the sinus to flare up and not drain. Based on the scan further action can then be planned to resolve the issue fully.

January 10, 2013   No Comments

Samaithu Par and How to Make Venn Pongal and Coconut Thuvaiyal

Samaithu Par

I come from a family of good cooks, a place where almost all the men cook a mean meal and the women are just oh-la-la! Growing up in good food meant I never saw a need to learn to cook, I just ate 😀 And since cooking runs in the family, when I did need to cook, I didn’t burn stuff often. 😛

Now 32 years later I’m learning to cook!

As a Diwali gift this year I got a copy of Samaithu Par by S. Meenakshi Ammal. This is the quintessential South Indian cooking guide that has been passed from mother to daughter at marriage for the last few decades. Its even available in 5 languages.

My south indian cooking being limited and average I thought this would be a good challenge for 2013. I am going to learn south indian cooking from Master M. Ammal. (Like that Julia and Julia thing remember, only Freya and Ammal don’t sound as good)

The book’s great but it has two short-comings. It doesn’t have photos so you don’t know what your dish will look like and the layout is confusing if you’re not well-versed in south indian cuisine. The latter I overcame thanks to a friend who patiently talked me through the book. But I still need to make visuals of the dishes listed.

Though this year I’m going to try and cook the dishes M. Ammal has listed in book one and take pictures of them. I’ll post photos and my version of the recipe here on the blog as I go along 🙂 It’s fully Samaithu Par – Cook and See…

*** I am following Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes, however I’m using shortcuts like the cooker, etc. and adding some of my own twist to the recipes. What you see here are my recipes inspired by M. Ammal’s and in no way is Ms. Ammal responsible for its outcome should you choose to try it. Though she was responsible for the brilliant outcome of my dish, so, a big thank you Ms. Ammal for writing Samaithu Par.***

Pongal and Coconut Thuvaiyal

Venn or White Pongal
(Pongal is that soulful dish what can make any day and tummy better. Not spicy, but warm, soft and soothing, it’s easy and perfect for those days when you’re not up to it.)

Ingredients –
1 cup rice
1/2 cup green gram dal (the yellow kind called masoor)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh or preserved green pepper
4 cups water
Salt to taste
4 teaspoon of ghee
1 1/2 teaspoon of oil
10-12 curry leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 inch piece of ginger

Method –
1. Check the dal for stones and dirt, then fry it lightly in a pan.

2. Clean the rice and add the fried dal to it before washing them together.

3. Cook the rice and dal in a cooker with 3 cups of water, salt and peppers. I usually cook it on full flame until the first whistle and then on sim for 10 minutes.

4. Bruise the cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle and finely chop the ginger.

5. Heat the oil in a vessel and add the cumin, ginger and curry leaves.

6. When the cumin starts to splutter add a portion of the cooked rice and dal mix. Add the ghee and mix well. Add a bit of water if needed. Keep mixing and adding the rice mix and water until it all mixes and has a slightly sticky texture. Make sure not to over mash it.

7. Serve hot.

Coconut Thuvaiyal
(This is a sour textured chutney that I think would go well with something that needs a hit of flavour and feel)

Ingredients –
150 gms fresh coconut
6 dried red chillies
1 lime size ball of tamarind
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 teaspoons black gram dal
1/4 or less teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
5-6 curry leaves
3 teaspoons oil

Method –
1. Soak the tamarind in a little warm water, then mash and strain to get smooth pulp.

2. Fry 4 chillies and remove from oil.

3. Grind the chillies to small flakes before adding coconut and tamarind pulp. Grind the coconut to a fine paste. Add water if necessary. When done empty into a bowl.

4. Heat the oil again and add mustard seeds, black gram dal, remaining chillies broken in two and curry leaves. When the mustard splutters add asafoetida.

5. Pour the oil and spices into the bowl and mix with the coconut.

6. Mix and add salt to taste.

If you try out these recipes do let me know how it turned out.

January 4, 2013   No Comments

Review Yesterday, Plan for Tomorrow, Party Tonight

It seems like yesterday that it was New Year and here we are with a new year starting again. The years seem to be flying past as life slips by me and I watch it all unfold in slow motion. Ok, enough moroseness; switching topics – Happy New Year to you. May 2013 bring exciting times in your life. 🙂

This is the only 13th year in our lifetimes. 2013 for those who are triskaidekaphobic, must not be something to look forward to but I think 13’s lucky for me so, bring it on 🙂 But before I start the new year I thought I’d look back at what I had planned for 2012, and just what came of all my grand plans.

So here’s some of what I’d listed out on January 1st, 2012. Warning: the following may get introspecty and boring, so skip to the end if you like 🙂

Learn to use the Mac well – I did try to do this and succeeded to a comfort level but not maybe an expert level. However as things turned out the Mac become more Che’s travel computer and I got the iPad that I seem to be using more and more these days. (I’m typing this post on the iPad. 😀 )

Learn a new craft – I didn’t get started on this for a long time but in the last quarter I put it together and bought three potted plants. I’ve learnt a lot already and I still have a lot of learning ahead but plants are still alive right now. 🙂 I did a bit baking through the year though and tried a new recipe every time. Most of it turned out well, but my breads still need some rising 😕

Blog regularly – I wasn’t very regular but I did write the highest number of blog posts ever this year, 103! And there were a couple of cool high-points for my blog this year – a few authors got in touch with me for reviews (I’m still smiling about that one); I’m not all that bad a book reviewer after all. 🙂 I also got to blog the Tour of Nilgiris as their official blogger – TfN is this cool hip must-do tour in cycling circles and having seen it I heartily agree.

Mission Cuckoo – I didn’t get much done on this front. I had hoped to teach Cuckoo some new tricks but I just didn’t get down it. I did experiment with new toys though and surprise of surprises I found a toy that Buddha finally showed an interest in.

Read 50 books and watch 50 movies – This is one section where I excelled. I read 70 books and I’ve definitely watched over 50 movies though I can’t remember all of them. I really wish someone would make a GoodReads kindof site for movies.

In retrospect its been a good year. I didn’t really follow the plan but I did get most of what I had planned done, or at least somewhat done 🙂 I hadn’t thought of 2012 as a gret year but it was, with lots of travel packed in too. 😀

Looks like this plan and review thing works, well it did make me feel good this year. So, here’s a few things I’d like to do in 2013.

  • I’d like to spend more interactive time with Cuckoo. Senti needs more exercise and so do I so, that’s on my list too. Then there’s Buddha who’s getting older and needs more attention and care. And last but not least is William and Max, the new additions to my brood, who will take a while to settle in.
  • I need to learn a lot more about gardening, and set up a small veggies garden. I also intend to start composting at home.
  • Last year I tried my hand at baking and came away fairly successful. This year I want to learn some of the finer nuances. I want to try my hand at icing and fondant.
  • Start cycling. Yeah, yeah, ok, ok, TfN did inspire me. Not to cycle TfN 😯 but to take up cycling and explore the area I live in. 😉
  • I have a jigsaw that has been incomplete for a while now, I intend to complete it and start a new one.
  • Last year I set a target of 50, this year I think I’ll up it to a 100 books.
  • And of course it goes without saying – more blog posts than last year. 😛

Phew! that seems like a long list. Wonder how much I’ll get done. Well, either ways looking back next year will be fun.
Have you done this? Does this review thing work for you?

January 1, 2013   No Comments