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Category — My Life

Once Upon A Time, An Empty #TBR This Week

Once Upon A Time

This week has been a rather quiet week. Elu seems to be recovering well after her foreign body adventure last week, she’s back to being her rascally self. I on the other hand have been lazing a bit, relaxing after all the excitement of last week.

I didn’t get much reading done this week but I’ve been binge watching Once Upon A Time (TV series) and have finished 3 seasons, just one more left to catch up with the current airing of Season 5. 😉

This is a TV series I absolutely love and I’m hooked. Once Upon A Time is all about those fairy tales we grew up to but with a twist or rather many twists. The Evil Queen curses all of the land and sends all the people to our world in Storybrooke, Maine.

Caption Hook in Once Upon A TimeThat’s Colin O’Donoghue/Captain Hook, and isn’t he just gorgeous xxx 😉

The curse is supposed to last 28 years before Snow White and Prince Charming’s daughter arrives to break the curse. That’s where the series begins, and as it progresses tales get woven in, Peter Pan, Mad Hatter, Elsa (of Frozen fame), The Wicked Witch of the West, Mulan, Jack and the Beanstalk are some of them. But all of them have a twist.

I love fairy tales, folklore and mythological stories so this one has me completely addicted. I can’t stop watching but as I’m getting closer to the end of Season 4 and I’m also wishing it’d never end.

And that makes for an excellent segue to two blogs I’ve been enjoying reading in the #AtoZChallenge. Csenge’s (The Multicoloured Diary) theme is Representation and Diversity in Traditional Stories. She’s tackling questions like –

“Why are stepmothers always evil? Are there any kind ones out there?
Can you name any folktales that feature female friendships?
Why are there so few traditional tales with LGBT+ representation?
Are there any stories where a male and a female hero fights side by side?
What about legends where heroes of different religions coexist?”

and I am so enjoying reading the stories she shares. They come from all over the world and there are even some from India. :)

Erica’s doing a Greek Mythology series on Modhukori, most of these characters I know about but she is still surprising me with some I don’t know or somethings I don’t know about them.

As with my last two years, my challenge even this year is keeping up with other blogs daily, reading and commenting on them. I’ve been missing a lot of days and have a large backlog to read but with themes like Csenge’s and Erica’s, this year it might be easier. Once I’m done with Once Upon A Time, that is. 😀

My #ForeverTBR

 
For the first time there are no books to be added to my #ForeverTBR this week. And it isn’t completely Once Upon A Time’s fault, surprisingly I haven’t come across anything on podcasts or through friends either.

It feels odd, but considering my teetering TBR pile, maybe it’s a good thing.

What have you been up to? Do you have a favourite TV series you are addicted to?

April 17, 2016   No Comments

Elu and The Foreign Body Adventure, and Other Books

Elu happy before surgery

This week was a week of adventure, not the fun kind, but adventure still. And I can say that, now that it’s over.

Two days ago Elu started throwing up in the early morning. Throwing up is fine, the dogs do that once in a way but Elu continued doing so at regular intervals. She was drinking lots of water but throwing it all up; in three rounds she must have thrown up about a litre. That’s a lot!

A vet visit late in the evening and an x-ray revealed a blockage in her intestines. I admitted her as she needed to be kept under observation and surgery was scheduled for the next day. I returned home to a quieter house and a restless me.

Elu's first x-ray

Come time for surgery the next day Elu looked frisky and happy; she looked too happy to be going into surgery. Another x-ray revealed the obstruction had moved from the intestines to the rectum. That’s a simple statement but there’s nothing simple about it, it’s a big deal. It’s super good news!

Elu's second x-ray

Foreign body surgery is a big deal. One – it’s a delicate surgery, two – recovery from it takes long and three – it’s expensive. A Gastrointestinal Foreign Body surgery involves opening up and re-closing the intestine. Any leaks left behind would cause a toxic leak. The surgery leaves the intestine weakened and it’s takes time to strengthen it. This is a surgery best avoided, if it’s possible.

And that’s why the movement of the obstruction was a big deal. It meant the surgery got called off, and Elu got sent home, along with instructions to be constantly observed, to be given some more laxatives and lots of bananas. She’ll be back to normal within a week.

The foreign body inside Elu

She passed the obstruction out this morning. Turned out to be a bone, of a size that should never have gotten stuck. In my 5 years of feeding my dogs Model Prey RAW, this was the first time this had happened. Guess the freak weird odd thing can happen anytime!

Special thanks are due to Anitra and Preeti who stood by me as always through it all (couldn’t have done it without you guys xxx), the Cessna Lifeline Team with extra thanks to Dr. Pawan & Dr. Nitin and loving hugs to Akhil and Dr. Anusha for watching over my girl during her stay there.

And there ends the Elu adventure, but this week also had me falling sick with what looked like a simple eye infection turning out to be conjunctivitis. Between my sickness and Elu’s adventure, I missed out on my running and will have to buck up next week.

conjunctivitisYep, scarrry… 😀

I did finish Menaka’s Choice by Kavita Kané this week and have started with Mastani by Kusum Chopra.

Mastani by Kusum Chopra

We’ve also reached the letter ‘H’ in the #AtoZChallenge and I’m so proud of managing to write in spite of all that’s been happening. I’ve also found some interesting blog that I’m enjoying reading everyday through the challenge. I share the posts I enjoy on twitter so connect with me there – @freya3377 and I’ll also list them here on the blog sometime.

In other news, I had my first mangoes of the season and enjoyed attending the Decutter Flea Market held to help Roxanne Davur’s Probably Paradise Animal Shelter.

Declutter flea market

First mangoes of the season

 

This weeks additions to my #TBR

 

Happenstance by Carol Shields
Happenstance by Carol Shields
(The Readers #149)
Two Novels in One About a Marriage in Transition: one direction is the wife’s story and turn it upside down to read the husband’s story. Just that makes me want to read the book!

One Point Two Billion by Mahesh Rao
One Point Two Billion by Mahesh Rao
(The Readers #149)
13 stories from 13 different states of India, should make for uninteresting read.

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
(All The Books #47)
I’ve heard of those before and even then this book about cancer had piqued my interest. Maybe it’ll get picked this time.

Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julie Quinn
Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julie Quinn
(All The Books #47)
The lastest from Julia Quinn in the Bridgerton series. I enjoy Historical Romance and I should pick up this series sometime, especially since I’ve read her before and liked her writing.

What news from you this week? Any adventures? 😉

April 10, 2016   No Comments

Menaka’s Choice, Association of Small Bombs: This Week in Books

Elu and a Book

It’s been another week with not much reading done but I did get started and I’m halfway through Kavita Kané’s Menaka’s Choice, which I’m enjoying so much, I’m unable to put it down and complete watching the last two episodes of House of Cards.

Kavita Kané’s Menaka’s Choice

I spent another week with my niece and family and here are some pictures from it.

Pani PuriI love Pani Puri, it’s my favourite chaat. (It’s a crisp fired ball, filled with boiled peas & potatoes and topped with sweet chutney and spicy water; sorry no description can do justice) Since my Ayurvedic medications do not allow for tamarind I haven’t eaten these in over a year but my Aunt and Mom made these for me with out tamarind! You should have seen me hog!

Garden ProduceThe harvest this week. We got some early brinjal surprises, lots of methi, some tomatoes and even some spinach. I’ve been trying to grow spinach for a while now and failing. This bunch had me so excited, I was doing a little jig.

Garden ProduceTwo ends of a family tree. My Granny and her Great grand daughter.

Garden ProduceMom’s been wanting to do this for a long time. Finally she got her chance!

This week also started off the #AtoZchallenge in which participants blogs a letter a day through the month, A to Z in order, except for Sunday. This year I’m sharing 26 Android Apps I use, so if you use an android phone, do stop by and see which ones I like and do tell me which ones you use. I’ve got A and B done until now.
A for Audio Books: Audible App
B for Books Books Books: Goodreads App
 

Adding to the #TBR This Week

 

Just one book this week! [And maybe that’s a good thing considering my overloaded TBR list 😀 ]

Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan
Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan
(All The Books #46)
Small bombs explode almost all the time around the world and these bombs don’t get much of a mention in the news or don’t get noticed much by the world as the devastation they cause is just too small. But the destruction isn’t small to those who experience it.

That’s the story, the story of a survivor, his life and his guilt. The motivations of the bomb maker, what is it that lies behind these acts and those who help bring them fruition. It’s a story that’s calling me. :)

That’s it. Really. No more books this week. But tell me what have you been reading? What have you been upto this week?

April 3, 2016   2 Comments

Horn Ok Please, Long Born Family At Home: This Week in Books

The Summer HeatIt’s not Summer yet and the heat is already blinding!

The last week has been a packed one, loaded with fun, drama and excitement. My brother got married and the whole family turned up. (See the Wedding Pics on Chenthil’s FB Page)

I love it when my family comes together, it makes me so so happy. Che loaned me his Instax Wide and I had such fun taking pictures for a day. (sometimes he’s just chosweet) 😉

Family Collage

With all that’s been happening, I stuck to my running schedule and that made smile all the way though my weekly long run. I’m enjoying running, especially once I get into a stride but have got a nagging pain in my heel to be figured out. :(

We also harvested some potatoes and tapioca this week. :)

Potatoes & Tapioca

I also got two hampers this week. 😀

Burrp Hamper

I got this from the Burrp guys at the food tasting they organised at Horn Ok Please – a desigastro pub. The decor was fascinating and I really liked their posters, milk can seats and tiffin lights.

Bollywood Posters

Tiffins, Lamps and Milk Cans

Desi CocktailsEach of their cocktails has a desi twist and a found a couple quite appealing – do try the Kala Katta and Spice Trade

I also got a hamper from the ITC guys. A collection of four delicacies and two chutneys from their ready to eat Kitchens of India line. We’ve tried out the Yakhni Palao and Awadhi Halla and enjoyed both. Can’t wait to get started with the chutneys.

Kitchens of India Hamper

I haven’t been keeping up with the news in the middle of all this, so, got some catching up this week.

Some #TBR Additions

 

Longbourn by Jo Baker
Longbourn by Jo Baker
(Get Booked #20)

I had found The Help by by Kathryn Stockett fascinating, the story from the perspective of the house-help is an different tale. In Longbourn, Jo Bakers goes belowstairs and tells the Pride & Prejudice story from the view of the maids and footmen. The Help meets Pride & Prejudice, this one, I can’t wait to read…

At Home by Bill Bryson
At Home by Bill Bryson
(Get Booked #20)

I’ve read Bill Bryson’s A Brief History of Nearly Everything and I’m a fan. This one’s about the history of rooms in houses – bedrooms, dining rooms, drawing rooms,… Sounds interesting, nah?

Not many books this week and not much reading either. I’m hoping to fix it in the coming week. How has your reading week been? What are you reading? What have you been up to?

March 28, 2016   No Comments

This Week in Books: The Year of The Runaways, Hexed, Smarter Faster Better

Elu and the Kindle

This week has been a rather quiet week on the books front. Rather it’s been a binge of House of Cards seasons. I don’t understand politics much, not Indian, not American but I’m watching in the hope that I’ll understand the US Presidential Elections this year, better, if I can glean something from House of Cards.

In between all that watching though, this week I did finally finish How to Get Your Heart Broken, caught-up with my podcasts and, cleaned-up and re-potted most of the garden.

The garden has been needing a lot of my time and attention, so for this season, I’ve toned it down and re-planned so I won’t have to spend lots of time in there and yet will be able to manage it. Got to focus on my running for the next few months, May isn’t to far and I want to do the TCS10K in under an hour.

I started listening to The Readers Podcast last week and have listened to only two episodes but I’m quite enjoying listening to Thomas and Simon. This week Simon did a special on the ‘Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction’ long-list. (It’s odd but not one book hit the spot for me, maybe their review after reading might help and something might get added to my #TBR.)

It was on their first podcast I ever heard, Ep. 148, that I first heard of the Bailey’s Prize, formerly known as the Orange Prize. It’s pretty cool that women are getting attention in various spheres, we need the push. Gender Equality is something close to my heart and it’s what I’m fighting for, it’s not about women being on top or being more powerful, it’s about men and women being equal.

And frankly we aren’t, we are still a long way to go to get there. That’s why the only piece of news that interested me this week was what Lionel Shriver had to say about the Bailey’s Prize. This bit of news I read in an article by Vanessa Willoughby and also heard on the BookRiot Podcast. Here’s what she said,

“This whole thing of treating women specially, as if they need special help and special rules, is problematic and obviously backfires.”

Lionel Shriver has a point, and I’d be inclined to agree with her but if she had maybe said this 20 years from now, or at least at a time when gender equality was actually real and true, or almost true. Not now, not at a time when we have just started out working towards equality!

#TBR Additions This Week

 
Moving on, here’s the list of books I added to the TBR this week. 😉 I’ve been vacillating the last couple of weeks but I’ve finally taken the plunge. I’m taking up the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge for 2016. (More on it in the the coming weeks, click on the link to know more)

I am not much of a horror person, both in books and movies, too vivid an imagination I guess, I have weeks of nightmares but Amanda Nelson convinced me on the show to give it a try, when she talked about how she has similar fears and nightmares to mine and yet is also now a horror fan. So, here’s my two picks to try.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
(Get Booked #19)

Considering my fear of horror, this one seems appropriate as it has no visual of the monster. It is just Something, something that if seen drives people to kill themselves. So people have to keep their eyes closed all the time.
In this craziness, Malorie must blindly navigate 20 miles downriver with her two children and she knows she’s being followed, but by what. Sounds scary and yet maybe, it’s my entry into horror.

Hexed by Michael Alan Nelson
Hexed by Michael Alan Nelson
(Get Booked #19)

A graphic novel might make it easier to deal with horror, since it would take my imagination on to the picture by providing visuals. It would also help me check-off my graphic novel to-do. 😀

The Year of The Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
The Year of The Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

It was the authors Indianish name that first got my attention, then the premise clinched the deal. This is supposed to be the story of three young Indian men living in Sheffield and trying to make a life in a new country. One of them even has a visa-wife. Add to this Sheffield, I’ve been there and reading a story about a place I’ve been to sounds exciting.

Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg
Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

Now this one’s a book on productivity; not my usual fare but it got lots of praise in one of the podcasts (not sure which) and considering this year I want to do sooo much I thought it would help.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
(Get Booked #19)

I missed adding this book in last week but the ladies reminded me again this week. The premise of the book is an interesting tangent to the usual Sherlock fare coming out these days. This story is about Sherlocks Grand-daughter and Watson’s grand-son, who land up in the same school and in the middle of a murder mystery.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
(Get Booked #19)

And continuing with the Sherlock frenzy here’s another I liked. This one’s about a girl who stumbles (literally) into Holmes who is living a retired life in Sussex. Holmes takes her under his wing and starts training her. Sounds interesting right, what also caught my ear, was Amanda Nelson’s brief complaint about Watson not being portrayed well. Got to check it out.

So, what have you been unto this week? What are you reading? Got some new books?

March 20, 2016   No Comments

My Week in Books: StoryWeaver Dead Wake Pandemic and The Underground Railroad

One of my reading nooks

This year along with reading I want to spend more time getting to know the book space, exploring it to see all that happens it, how it works and learning it’s pulse.

One part of this project is tweaking my Twitter feed for this and getting more active on it. With this in mind, I’ve been pushing myself to spend more it on it and this week it paid off big. I came across Pratham Books StoryWeaver Project.

StoryWeaver offers a range of books for kids at different learning levels and ages, it even offers them in a large number of Indian languages. The cherry on it all, though for me was the bilingual books they offer. I printed off one to see how my househelp’s kid enjoys it. I’m excited to hear about her experience.

Story Weaver Books

If you have kids at home, you should check out the StoryWeaver project that apart from books also offers ways to create your own books and help translate others.

In other news this week I heard of another book site BookSlut shutting down on TeleRead. It’s sad to see and there’s speculation as to why Jessa Crispin is doing this but she says she doesn’t want to comment on it right now and that all the content will stay available ever after the last issue publication date of 14, May.

On the podcast front there wasn’t much news this week, though I did find a couple of new book podcasts to try out and see if I like them. There were two pieces of news though that did catch my eye. One was about an open ebook program for low-income groups in the US (crazy coincidence that I found StoryWeaver in the same week).

The other piece of news Jeff and Amanda talked about over on the BookRiot podcast was about how Middle Grade books have gotten bigger after Harry Potter, almost as if HP opened up new possibilities. Amanda’s point about fantasy becoming popular that that age group being a reason and HP helping the cause stood out.

And on the reading front, I made progress with ‘How to Get Your Heart Broken’ by Rose Fall. It’s slow going, I guess coz it’s not really my kind of story. :(

TBR Adds This Week

 
Dead Wake by Erik Larson
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
(Hush #86)

I came across the book on the Hush Podcast, a new podcast I listened to this week. The Titanic has always been a fascination for me, so something to do with it’s sister ship immediately caught my eye. Thad, Lissa and Julie discussed the book with spoilers but I don’t think that would spoil the book for, especially since its as Narrative Non-Fiction as Julie called it.

The story of the role The Lusitania and The German Uboat play in getting America into the war, should be interesting. Plus it’s been a while since I read non-fiction.

Pandemic by Sonia Shah
Pandemic by Sonia Shah
(BR The Podcast #147)

Another non-fiction on my list this week, this one’s about tracking Pandemics. Epidemiologists are in agreement that we are due for a pandemic and Sonia Shah explores Cholera (one of the deadliest diseases) from it’s source to it’s current state to reveal how a new pandemic might develop.

The last book I read about something similar was Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond many years ago and I remember enjoying it. Can’t wait to get started on Pandemic.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
(BR The Podcast #147)

The story of a slave trying to escape the horrors bondage via a secret underground railroad caught my ear. That Colson Whitehead comes highly recommend by Jeff O’Neal helped and that he is excited about this book releasing in September 2016 was the clincher. It’s on my list!

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
(Get Booked #18)

This isn’t really an addition as it’s a book my already reading (had stopped somewhere and have got to pick it up again) but it’s a cool moment for me to have the Get Booked https://bookriot.com/listen/also-some-camels/ guys mention a book already on my list. It’s like that ‘pat on the back’ saying ‘yep girl, right direction’. 😀

This books a memoir, self-help and life hack guru, all mixed into one, and I’m enjoying it.

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
(Get Booked #18)

I like fairy stories and the premise of this one sounds soo interesting. The story of the eldest who gets cursed by a witch and then goes on an adventure to get the curse of becoming an old woman removed. There’s also a fire demon and a witch war to clinch the deal!

This week I seem to have picked a lot of non-fiction but it’s been a long time since I read some good non-fiction.
What did you read this week? What have you added to your TBR this week?

March 13, 2016   6 Comments

My Week in Books: Sherlock Holmes, Umberto Eco, Muslim-Themed Books & Americanah

One of my reading nooks

This week I didn’t get much reading done, but I did finish Sherlock Holmes The Missing Years: Timbuktu by Vasudev Murthy and my review is up. It’s long one for the book as heavy and detailed, but do check it out. I’m looking forward to reading How To Get Your Heart Broken by Rose Fall in the coming week, and who knows if all goes well, I’ll be able to squeeze another one in too.

But it’s been a good week, I managed to catch up with a lot of old podcasts and I am now back on track and listening to the latest ones. I had a fairly huge backlog, actually I still have a few pending but those I’m not very keen on so it’s ok.

That’s been one of by big learnings last year – saying no. I’m pushing myself to say no to books I don’t want to read, ignore podcasts that don’t catch my interest, say no to things i don’t want to do, and be ok with it, i.e. not feel guilty. Usually the guilt drives me nuts and I land up feeling miserable.

Twin edged sword that since doing it also leaves me miserable. So, now I’m working on saying no and enjoying it. :) Anyway, like I was saying I got a lot of podcasts out of the way but that means lots of news and books. So, here’s the stuff that caught my eye/ear this week. 😀

News That Caught My Eye

 
It’s pretty old news now, that Harper Lee died but I’m still grieving her. To Kill A Mockingbird had made an impact in my mind and I still remember it. I did get Go Set a Watchman but with all the drama surrounding it I’ve been putting it off. Time to get to it now. Have you read it?

Lee’s death was big news, such big news that I completely missed out on the death of Umberto Eco, and he passed away on the same day Feb. 19th. I’m not a huge Eco fan but I do know of him and even own a copy of Foucault’s Pendulum. It came highly recommended so I’d picked it up but couldn’t get past 20 pages. It’s a heavy book! His most popular/famous book though is The Name of the Rose, which you should read if the things in DaVinci Code by Dan Brown intrigue you, for this ones way better.

In other big news Simon and Schuster is launching an imprint for Muslim-themed Children’s books – Salaam Reads. This is a big deal and it’s been a long time coming. With all the nonsense the world media (read US) has been putting out about Muslims, a balance for future generations can only be struck if we teach them about the Muslim culture at a young age. Understanding other cultures and religions will only lead to more tolerance. (I hope.)

“We have a chance to provide people with a more nuanced and, in my estimation, a more honest portrayal of the lives of everyday Muslims,” Zareen Jaffery (executive editor at Simon & Schuster)

Jeff O’Neal on the BookRiot podcast also had an interesting point, which was that the imprint shouldn’t become the only place where such books get published. These ideas and themes should become a part of regular publishing. Inclusion and diversity is the way forward and it should happen everywhere and all the time.

And the last bit of news that stuck with me was that Banned Books Week (in Sept.) this year is going to focus on diversity and books written by people of colour. This is such awesome news and a big step forward. I’m looking forward to this and I’m going to try and read at least one of these banned books. Are you?

Books Added This Week to My TBR

 
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
(Get Booked #17)
This book called out to me for a couple of reasons –
Culture and how as people we create and deal with it is a topic that interests me. This books seems to be about life in a different country and culture and how the main character Ifemelu deals with it’s challenges. She even has a blog about it.
Another strong reason is that in our area we have a large population of Nigerians who come to study in a college near by. The culture clash is making for an almost tangible tension here, and I’m hoping this book will help me understand them better.
And lastly I’m looking to add more diversity into my reading and this book will do just that. 😀

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
(Get Booked #17)
This book got on my list the minute Amanda (or was it Jenn, hmm) talked about the heroine’s wig flying off and leaving her there bald and nak-head [couldn’t resist that 😀 ] for the world to see. It was a plus that the story is also about people, who are clearly not of the societal-mould, trying to fit in and their struggle to appear normal and have a normal family life. Hit’s close to home, me thinks.

Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
(Get Booked #16)
A story about a fantasy world that you can get to only by sleeping with someone who has already been there and then getting marked for being there by a tattoo that is a a partial map of the place. That’s the premise I absorbed on the show. How can I not read this!!!

Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra
Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra
(Get Booked #16)
I’m going through Indian books/authors phase right now, so imagine my astonishment when the guys at Get Booked talked about a book based in India by an Indian author. I actually stopped by the side of the road and rewound to listen again. The mention of this book was like the universe telling me, ‘Read This!’.

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
(Get Booked #16)
This book has been mentioned so many times now on podcasts I listen to by gushing hosts, that this time I figured I must add it to my list. I’m not really sure if it’s my kind of book but it’s reviews have me wanting to definitely try it out.

In the coming weeks I’ve got to get more active on twitter, the idea being that I would like to stay on top of book news while the news is still fresh. Lets see how that works out.

Have you read any of these book I chose? Got any of these on your TBR? What book news was most interesting to you this week? What did you read this week?

March 6, 2016   No Comments

The #FlipkartOutdoors #Indiblogger Meet: A Recap

#FlipkartOutdoors #Indiblogger Meet

Indiblogger meets are all about product promotions and yesterday was no different with Flipkart showcasing outdoor products from Altec Lansing, Samsung Gear S2, Red Chief Shoes, Polaroid Cube, Coleman and Garmin at this #FlipkartOutdoors meet.

But that isn’t why I attend, my reasons have nothing to do with the promotion or freebies. My attendance is all about friends and fun – meeting the bloggers I’ve grown close-to over previous meets and who I look forward to catching up with. Though the freebies are definitely welcome too. 😀

An hours bus journey took us from Ulsoor to Mango Mist Resort yesterday morning, where breakfast awaited us before the day started with a warm-up Indiblogger style. 😀

Here’s the line-up of products we got introduced to before the fun started.

Red Chief Shoes

This desi company makes casual shoes for men. These shoes are great if you want to give the impression that you are the that cool outdoorsy man, but make note these shoes are not recommended for actual hiking or trekking.
 
Red Chief Shoes

One thing that I thought was really cool was that these shoes are supposed to be biodegradable, yep the sole too!
 
Biodegradable Red Chief Shoes

Sadly they don’t have anything for women, and won’t have anything on offer for the fairer sex for another three years!

Polaroid

I’ve used the GoPro a couple to times before and really like it. It’s great for those crazy things Che and I do, it’s why I was excited to see the Polaroid Cube. It’s size and feel are the pluses for me but its magnetism which is a great feature to use for in car recording etc. was a put as it’s powerful enough wipe clean data and hence makes the device unsafe for handbag carrying. :(
 
Polaroid Cube

I was also excited to see and try the Polaroid Snap. Che’s been using the Instax Wide over the last one month and a comparison was but inevitable. I’m not the best judge of quality but I did like the sticker format of images, the option to choose between b/w, colour and sepia and the size of the camera. I’d love to try out the next version of the Snap as it’s supposed to have instant photos and a data card so you can take multiple prints if you wish.
 
Polaroid Snap

Altec Lansing

Lately I’ve been on the lookout for good earphones for running, wired or unwired. The new Altec Lansing Bluetooth Headphones wowed me. They tuck in well into the ear, are water proof, have great battery backup and are offered at a good price. Only drawback was the battery like thing on the cable that feels like a weight hanging off the ears.
 
Altec Lansing Lifejacket Speakers

There were also the Lifejacket speakers which were a crowd draw with their pulsating water to the beat of music. These little babies are not at all delicate,we hurled them 20 feet away and they continued to play. They beasts are rugged and waterproof. Prefect for our doggie house, me thinks… but wait, are they doggie proof? 😛

Garmin

Ironically it was just last month that I bought the Suunto Ambit 2 R from Flipkart and I’ve been a satisfied user for a couple of weeks now. That said, after seeing and handling the Garmin devices on display yesterday, I think a Garmin device would have been a good buy too.
 
Garmin Gear for Runners

But when we were choosing the device, we’d been disappointed by Garmin’s prices in India. I bought the Suunto at Rs.15,000; the Garmin equivalent (Forerunner 620) is Rs.27,825 on Flipkart!!!
 
Suunto Ambit 2R vs Garmin Forerunner 620

I hope Garmin works on their pricing, this same watch is $239.99 on Amazon.com, thats Rs. 16,494 (at rate 68.73%). It’s cheaper to buy it in dollars!!!
Garmin on Flipkart
Garmin on Amazon India
Garmin on Amazon.com

Coleman

Don’t go by my photo of Shantanu investigating below, I was amazed that these guys have even a porta-potty! Aside from that they also had tents, bottles, compass, foldable chairs, insulated tiffin boxes and bungee cords on display. This was the most outdoorsy counter, if you ask me. 😉
 
Coleman even had a Port-a-potty, Shatanu investigates

Samsung Gear S2

I don’t really know how good these are for the serious outdoorsy folk or fitness addicts but they look really cool with colour display, phone sync, touch screen, etc. These would be cool everyday android wear.
 
Samsung Gear S2

 

Customary niceties over. Now on to the fun part (after a quick review of the resort of course). 😉

Mango Mist Resort
Mango Mist Resort is one those activity based resorts set in a Mango orchard. They offer a host of activities from zorbing to fish spa. They have a variety of packages available but almost all of them only have 4 coupons included (each coupon is worth Rs.50).

So what are coupons. Coupons can we used to do activities like rock climbing, crossing Burma bridges, climbing rope ladders, zip-lining, zorbing and more. There are a lot of activities offered but with just 4 coupons nothing much can be done, especially since it’s not one coupon per activity, some activities need 2 or 3 coupons. :(

I had to request for more coupons and as always the Indiblogger guys obliged. Thank guys for the extra fun. :) Before I go on, a quick note on Mango Mist Resort – the resort is nice and the food good too. I liked the variety of packages offered with cottage and tent accommodations too so you can stay over and have more fun.

I big drawback was the lake behind the resort. It smells obnoxious and looks dirty too. A little work and help of the resort guys might make this eye-sore a beautiful water body and a good addition to the resort, it’d nice to see resorts give back to nature. The other down like I mentioned before was the limited coupons.

Ok, all that formality done. Here’s some pictures and a video of all that happened for me. 😉

 

Burma Bridge
I thought this would be easy compared to the others but man was this scary, with my phobia for ledges I giggled in nervousness all the way across the bridge.

 

Burma Bridge
Here’s the one Parinita choose. When looking at someone doing it, it’s so easy to give advise and think you’d do it better. Doing it though is a completely different thing.

 

Mango Mist Resort Bar
After all that activity, like all good girls, we hit the bar. 😉

 

Inside the Zorb
After watching zorbing on TV many a time, I’ve always wanted to try it out. Bhawna and I had a screaming match in there and so much fun. That’s how we looked at the end of the roll. 😀
Another item checked on the bucket-list.

 

The Paintball Winners

And we finally ended the day with paintball and we won. That’s the team – don’t know what we were thinking but its an excellent capture. 😀 Below is what I won.A girly pink 3 box insulated tiffin system that keeps food both hot and cold.
Coleman Tiffin Box

I’d made instagram videos through the day, but putting up each one, just makes for a lot of video. (Plus Instagram is a pain with embeds). So, here’s a mash-up of the day on my Youtube channel.
 

 
It was a super fun day and tiring too. Catching up with friends and doing crazy stuff is tiring. 😀

A couple of shout outs at the end –
Thanks Flipkart and Indiblogger for a spectacular day.
Rajiv for the morning ride. That was exciting!
Che for taking over at home so I could get away… Thanks isn’t enough 😛
Bhawna and Pari for the wonderful company that made the day even better. 😉

February 21, 2016   14 Comments

My Top 3 Must Read Romances

3 Must Read Romances

I’m a sucker for romance. Nothing beats ‘love wins all’ and ‘happily ever after’ in my book and yet two of the books I’m going to share today don’t have the conventional ‘happy endings’.

Over the years I’ve read a large number of romantic novels, a mix bag of classics, mills & boons, historical, paranormal and contemporary romances. But of them all, three stand out for me and are my all time favourites.

These are the books I’ve read, re-read and intend to keep re-reading over the years. Each one of them has characters and elements I absolutely love and adore.

So in no particular order here are my top 3 must read romances… I’m not going into storylines here, (you can check out their blurbs on Goodreads or Amazon) but I’m going to tell you what I love about them.

Far Pavillions

(Goodreads, Amazon.in, Amazon.com, Flipkart)
Far Pavilions - Must Read Romance

Before I read this book, Gone with the Wind topped my list but after Far Pavillions, my world of romance was never the same again. This book has all that I love – a handsome dashing hero, a heroine with guts, Indian tamasha and drama, a mountain-desert setting and adventure galore!

What I love about this book is how well M. M. Kaye understands and portrays India and the people of India. As an Indian I can associate with the places, the people, their emotions, motivations and the people politics. This is a book I’ve read over 5 times now and yet in each re-read I’m just as hooked and enthralled as the first time.

Gone With The Wind

(Goodreads, Amazon.in, Amazon.com, Flipkart)
Gone With The Wind - Must Read Romance
Scarlett O’Hara is my all time favourite heroine. Her strength and attitude inspired me in my 20’s, she was the kind of girl I wanted to be, a go-getter who stands up to adversity and fights tooth and nail for what she wants. She did the not-done in her time, sometimes using guile and her feminine charms and at other times her stubbornness to get what she wanted.

She isn’t a character that is all good and yet I loved her for she seemed so human. Then there is Rhett Butler who forever in my mind became the epitome of a male hero. Suave, dashing and one who loves to a fault, he loves and knows Scarlett like no one else.

Pride and Prejudice

(Goodreads, Amazon.in, Amazon.com, Flipkart)
Pride & Prejudice - Must Read Romance
Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice is another woman way ahead of her time, she stands up for herself, speaks her mind and doesn’t backdown in adversity. She fights for what she believes in, is the strength of her sisters and doesn’t finch when she is wrong and has to apologise.

Darcy is the perfect foil for her, starting out as someone who comes across as snobbish with his nose in the air, he wins over Elizabeth as she gradually gets to know him for his quiet strength and loyalty to his friends.
 

All three of the books have strong female characters that I can relate to and heroes that make my knees buckle and my heart turn to mush. Interestingly all three are set in different times and on three separate continents.

if you haven’t read any of these until now, you should. Stop here, and go get the book. 😀 If you’ve read any of these I’d like to here your thoughts on them and I’d love to talk more about them with you. So leave me a note in comments. :)

February 11, 2016   No Comments