Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Breakfast worries resolved :)

A healthy breakfast is a must to start your day with great vigour. It should not be skipped even when you are running late. But we don't always have many delicious options when it comes to daily breakfast. Repeating the same age old menus adds to the boredom and thus we tend to not enjoy the meal. And with small kids this comes across as the biggest worry - "What's for the breakfast?"

While I enjoy eating street food and anything that is delicious, but the tension of gaining weight keeps me worried all the time. For the past few months, I am keeping a strict check on my weight. And for that purpose, I make sure my breakfast is diet-friendly and offers all the nutrients in as tasty form as possible. Colors play an important role too. The food should be welcoming! I like my food to be colorful because the more vibrant the food is, the more willing you are to eat it. Nothing’s better than food that’s a treat to both your eyes and mouth simultaneously. I believe that it is with the eyes that you first decide whether to taste that meal or not. If you see the same food looking different every day, the keenness to explore its taste manifolds and you end up with a happy and filled stomach.

Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/anaajkanashta
Kellogg's Waale Guptaji ka Nashta has recently inspired me to experiment with my own breakfast recipes. They have over a 100 mouth-watering recipes in their kitty, no wonder everybody want an invitation for breakfast at their house. Being a foodie, it was very difficult decision for me to give up on the regular fattening meals and switch to bland salads and plain vegetables and fruits.

Then, I decided to treat myself with Kellogg's Cornflakes. But not just cornflakes, I added chocolate and walnut to it to make it lip smacking! And that's not all... The next day I changed it completely by adding bananas and strawberries to it. Taste and health together in a bowl, what can be more delightful? After a long workday, I often want to eat light and take rest as heavy meals can make you feel more lethargic and adds unnecessary calories. I prefer adding few veggies and fruits to the bowl of cornflakes and enjoy it while sipping a cup of green tea. At times, I add honey to sweeten it. It is refreshing as well as a healthy option.

It's a meal that every age group can customize to match their taste buds and relish. Also, it's easy and quick to make, not letting you skip on your breakfast even when you are in a hurry to get to your work.

So, are you guys ready to experiment and lavish on a bowl full of health and happiness? Check out the awesome blossom recipes here :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lip smacking Singaporean cuisine

Every cuisine carries with it a flavour of its culture that brings you close to its ethnicity. In Singapore, food is viewed as crucial to national identity and also it is a unifying cultural thread; Singaporean literature too declares eating as a national pastime and food as a national obsession. It's a popular take that when in Singapore, be sure to try the 'fish head curry' and 'chilli crab' that will keep your taste buds relishing for a long time.

If you love sea food, you must try what Singapore offers in terms of its seafood cuisine. Their popular seafood dishes include - 'sambal stingray', 'black pepper crab', 'fried Chinese buns', 'oyster omelette', etc. In addition, they have a many different versions of Prata too.

Image Source: http://memegenerator.net/Takeaway
Before heading to some restaurant, if you want try cooking some Singaporean cuisine at home, here's a recipe that will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Laksa Pulao - These are aromatic rice made from french beans, almonds, herbs, masalas, veggies and laksa leaves (they are spicy and very common in Singapore). If you can't get your hands onto laksa leaves, just use mint or coriander leaves.

Ingredients: 300 gm fresh French beans
                    50  gm almonds
                    500 gm basmati rice
                    60  gm desi ghee (clarified butter)
                    30  gm laksa leaves, chopped (or mint or coriander leaves)
                    20  gm fresh turmeric, chopped
                    20  gm ginger, chopped
                    20  gm garlic, chopped
                    40  gm onion, chopped
                    3-4 fresh green chilli, chopped
                    A pinch of pepper powder for seasoning
                    A pinch of salt for seasoning

For Garnishing: Sliced golden fried onions
                          Slit green chilli
                          Chopped laksa leaves

Method: 1) Clean the french beans and boil until they turn tender. Remove and place them into ice cold water to maintain their crispiness and color.
2) Blanch the almonds and then peel and slit them in half from the center.
3) Clean and the soak the rice in water for 20 minutes.
4) Heat the desi ghee in a pan, add the garlic, onion, ginger, and saute till onions are translucent.
5) Add fresh turmeric and green chilli and stir fry. Then, add the beans and laksa leaves. Cook till the beans are done.
6) Season with salt and pepper powder.
7) Take a flat, thick bottomed  pan, add oil and heat it to saute the rice for a minute. Add 500 ml of water, the sauteed vegetables, almonds and some chopped laksa leaves. Place over a very low flame till the rice is cooked (all the water should have evaporated from the pan)
8) Spoon the pulao onto a platter, garnish with fried onions and green chilli. Serve hot with raita.

Bon appétit!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Few of my favorite things :)

So, I sat under the moonlit sky, pondering on what happiness means to me. Yes, happiness has indeed got different meanings for different people. For me, happiness is staying close to my brother, bringing a smile on my parents' face, and yes buying gifts for them. Because I feel a sense of achievement when I see them smiling and I am the reason behind it. It instantly makes me feel proud of myself. 

Apart from this, a sense of faith that someone somewhere exists who will truly love me and make me believe that I'm the best thing that has happened to him. And that he breaths under the same sky makes me blush even more! The wait for true love to hit you can be romantic too. *wink*

Chocolate and ice cream - the stress busters are always welcome to add happiness to my life along with pizza and cold drink to go with it. And then there are the small little things that we often let go unnoticed... these things are like fresh air and can take away all the gloom in seconds. The morning dewdrops on flowers looking like pearls, snowflakes in winters falling like cotton, the romantic drizzle that vanishes all pain, the fragrance of the wet sand, reading a good book with a cup of hot coffee while tucked in a cozy blanket, or picking up my pencils to make a sketch... everything feels heavenly. 

Playing with my cousin's dog and clicking his pictures, pouting with friends for a selfie, laughing like a carefree baby, crinkle my nose at the silly thoughts, and then tickling my best friend to annoy her all these things make me happy.

That's not all. Recently, I experienced a different kind of happiness that felt eternal. Spending a day at the orphanage, listening to them is such an unparalleled moment of untainted joy. Eating with them, playing with them and simply looking at their maturity made me feel so delighted. And when they let me hold their pet 'rabbit'... oh the bliss! I can never put that feeling in words because they flaunted the rabbit in front of me as if they are showcasing priceless diamonds. In that moment, I realized how small little things can be bigger than the biggest things in life as they hold so much importance in somebody's life. 

So, whenever I'm feeling a little low or sad, I simply remember one of my many favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad! In fact, I feel refreshed to indulge in many more naughty tricks and pranks. While recollecting happy moments from past, I end up creating more such moments in present, perhaps to cherish in future!

And when it comes to cherishing the moments and make them memorable, what better than gathering over a canteen table and make some noise, laugh endlessly along with 'thanda matlab coca cola'. :) After all, it's not rocket-science to be happy and make others happy! #Iamhappy

Saturday, March 21, 2015

#ChooseToStart with Moto E

First is a first after all, and that is why they are so special to us... the first travel experience, the first crush, the first friend, the first school, and of course that first mobile phone that we all seem to cherish for an eternity. Why do we do that? Well, because we made a lot of efforts to get our parents' permission to buy one. *wink*

So, my first phone happened when I was in class eleventh. Coincidentally, it was a Motorola W220 and I confess, I chose it because of its stylish look and yes the flap cover. I used it for almost one year before going for more advanced options. I remember how I took extra care of that phone, not letting it go out of my sight, and the fun of exchanging messages in that self developed SMS language is unforgettable. How I miss those days when I sneaked the phone in my coaching classes and all my friends crowded around me as we switched to the FM to hear the latest songs. Soon, as school got over, the market kept filling with newer technologies. Android phones flooded the market and as the choices increased, my confusion kept fuming up too.

Every phone looked attractive but the price tag kept me wondering... Until many companies started launching phones at an affordable price. In the midst of this, Motorola launched Moto G, Moto E, and many more smartphones that have a variety of features and are user friendly too.

Now, as I am doing my masters, if I get a chance to #ChooseToStart with Moto E, I would obviously be keen on exploring some of its features like the selfie cam. The love for selfies has overpowered me off late and the first thing that I would want with Moto E would be a selfie test. Then, comes the navigation as I never happen to remember routes. The app certainly comes in handy at the time of traveling at odd hours, esp. being a girl in a city like delhi.

I love reading on the go, and the 4.5 inch display of Moto E would be perfect to open my documents and read or even edit while sitting for long hours in the metro. In today's world, hardly any one can imagine a phone without wi-fi and the need to be active on social networking sites is there too. So much so, that couple of mail ids are always open and the facebook and twitter are logged in. When I will #ChooseToStart with Moto E, I will make sure that I explore all its features to the hilt and give a direction to the world of possibilities.

I am not a gaming fan but when it comes to passing time, a few games pre-installed on the handset are a relief. Its quad core processor makes sure the phone runs at a super fast speed all the time. I am quite vivacious in my moods and choices and therefore the vibrancy that Moto E offers is super tempting - yes the phone can be personalized to match your style as there are 6 colorful bands to choose from. Now, battery life has always been an issue making us cringe all the time, but yahoo Moto E is here to bring a smile on your face. This phone doesn't consume much battery while running all the apps, so one can enjoy the smartphone experience without the battery issue coming in way.

I don't want to compromise with the quality, experience, or style and that is why I #ChooseToStart with Moto E as soon as possible.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Scarred for Life, Healed Forever - Book Review

Scarred for Life, Healed Forever
By Ashwati Menon
Review By Ila Garg

“Let the power begin from within!”

Scarred for Life, Healed Forever, by Ashwati Menon is published by Gargi Publishers, a fast progressing self-publishing house. The book has an apt cover, something that rightly depicts the plot. The colors and sequence is so perfectly chosen by Amol Karambe. The quality is obviously one of the best in the recent book industry. The title is well chosen and reflects the turmoil that awaits you! The book jacket is thus, appropriate and hooks the readers instantly.

The author has a degree in Masters in Computer Application and a bigger passion for writing. She has had the pleasure of writing many books in different styles and has been a part of many anthologies. Before Scarred for Life, Healed Forever, one of her short stories has been a part of Drenched Souls - Moonlit Matinee 2 (Read the review here). When she is not writing, she spends her time in either reading or strumming on her guitar.

The blurb reads as, Nishtha survived a terrible fate but that didn’t let her live in peace. She ends up being a victim of her own powers and there is very little she can do to get a normal balanced life.
What with strange visions and a mind that seems to be always active, Nishtha finds that she is suddenly very much able to sense when someone is going to get into accidents and mishaps. And thereby, she runs to their rescue.

But how long is she going to be the super-woman she did not expect she will be?

Is there a solution to bring peace? Will science have answers to Nishtha’s problems?”

The protagonist, Nishtha Vaidya is a girl next door and a simpleton. You can’t predict her inner personality just by looking at her. She hides a tormenting past in her smile and everything about her seems normal. A perfect family, a handsome brother, great educational qualifications that lands her in a grand job - she appears to have it all.

The story begins interestingly and doesn’t let you get bored. In fact, it grabs the reader’s attention from one page to the next. The story doesn’t go straight though, it rather moves in zig-zag. The readers have to concentrate as it goes back and forth between different time zones. It’s an unusual genre with an engrossing plot. However, non-regular readers may find it difficult to comprehend and the pace might not be comfortable to them. On the other hand, regular readers will enjoy it and appreciate the writer’s efforts for traversing on a road less traveled. After all, the author has shown the ability to think out of the box!

The author has indeed taken a bold step while penning down something like this with a lot of grace. Author’s language is really fresh and the language can be a little problem but the author has given a glossary in the end for the readers to be able to understand the plot well.
The 126 page book comprises of an author’s note, 22 chapters, an epilogue, and a glossary for scientific terms and references. It manages to be a wonderful read despite the different genre. This book is definitely a page turner and a very quick read. Ashwati Menon has used the right amount of words to grip her readers. The plot and thrill element kept me glued to this book.

The downside of this book is its climax that comes in too fast and makes the narrative lose its impact. Though the theme is well chosen, the problem arises in its handling. It could have been built more comprehensively to give a sense of completeness.

‘Yay’ Factors: The out of box thinking.

‘Nay’ Factors: The poor execution and the narration that keeps lacking as we near the end.

My Verdict: To find out what keeps tormenting Nishtha, how long will she be able to keep this past bundled up and pretend as if nothing happened, how is her power of forecasting going to affect her, will she find her solace, will she get what she is looking for; you will have to read the novel, Scarred for Life, Healed Forever.

Ratings: 3/5

Buying Links: Infibeam | Amazon | Flipkart

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

And that made all the difference...

Image Source: pixshark.com
Changes, small or big, are part and parcel of our lives. Even as I am vigorously typing in this blog post, something around me is changing, evolving. May be it’s me, who is recollecting a life changing experience that I went through and in that process realizing how necessary that first step was! Every second, time changes, so does the situation, our emotions and many more things. From childhood to adulthood, our body grows and our mind accompanies it. We dream and our dreams as Sigmund Freud has said have different interpretations.
Not everyone is bold enough to face the challenges that these dreams pose on us and thus, many of us often quit the path midway. However, I was not born to give up on my ambitions, without fighting. So when everyone turned deaf to my needs, I decided to make my own way! I was always fascinating by words, the power to express through writings always mesmerized me. May be that’s the reason why I took to my laptop at the first place. My parents never liked my prolong laptop uses, but I was adamant to prove that it’s not going to be a futile task in the long run.
I keyed in day and night, and soon with all my efforts I managed to complete my first book in just two months. After that, I gained ample confidence and never ceased to give words to my imagination. I wrote a couple of short stories over the next few months. I read voraciously and acquired the knowledge. Every book seemed to cast a varied spell on me and I was enamored by a couple of authors.
Image Source: addicted2success.com
I decided to work as a freelancer and in no time, as I marketed my skills through social media, offers started pouring in. I got few editing projects and I passionately completely each one of them. These projects got me enough income, sitting at the comfort of my home and finally I made my parents realize that I can be good at something too, that all my efforts were not going vain, that if I decide to put my mind to something I can definitely be successful. I can’t take the sole credit for this though, a lot many friends guided me through this path and helped me reach my dream.
Now, I am not saying that you should not listen to your parents but you should show them that the changes you are bringing in your life are shaping your future in a positive way. One has to understand that there are few involuntary changes around us too (situational changes, any unfortunate events, unexpected failures, etc.) but if you keep hoping to reach the destination, you will. Breath, be optimistic, enjoy, dance when you can, and be willing to accept the changes around you. Be open to new ideas, you never know what might act as a game changer for you!
Start A New Life, for the change starts here!

Monday, March 16, 2015

To be or not to be!

Image Source: quoteimg.com
And yet again, you made me go blank.
And yet again, I am left to wonder...
To be or not to be (in love),
Is the question still unanswered...

Why it is that happiness is always short-lived? Life is complicated and tends to be unfair at times. One moment, it makes you so happy that you almost feel like flying in the air and in the very next moment, it hits you so bad that you don’t even have strength to wipe off your own tears and heal your wounds!

I wondered why on Earth I ever fell for him. I almost regretted it when things went bad. Numb, wordless, emotionless, forlorn, weird, suffocated – Not even a single word could define my condition! Moving on demanded a lot of courage, more than I had thought. Isn’t it amazing how stupid you can be when you’re in love? You literally become blind for a while. 

Life was being more than unfair to me now. Was it testing me? Oh yeah it was testing me, trying to weaken me. But I have always been strong and I was determined not to give up so soon. I was a fighter, a survivor.

My friends always managed to bring out something new in me though. At that moment, I realized I don't really need him, all I need was to reunite with my dear friends and delve into the power of togetherness and find a new path to optimism!

When someone brings more problems in your life than happiness, it’s time to show them the door where they can exit! My friends motivated me to realize this and distracted me enough to come out of that temporary sorrow in no time. Just a hug from them, and everything seemed to straighten up on its own. Things started looking up for me the moment I decided to take charge of my life. In that moment, I was not alone, I had positive energy surrounding me all the time, shielding me from all pain that the outside world had to offer me! 

So I finally started moving ahead in my life leaving all the flashbacks away from my mind and soul. I knew that things were going to be fine soon. It was time for me to come out of the depressing atmosphere and prepare myself for a new day, a new beginning. I promised myself that I am not going to be bitter, but I will get better by each passing day.

I was able to smile and move ahead like never before! When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.

So, once in a while, let’s surround ourselves with the people we love. Invite friends we haven’t seen lately, and see the love reviving in no time... Let's start a new Infinity to help us conquer the sadness and delve in a happy aura. Let's Look Up and bring optimism to the world.

Image Source: quoteimg.com

Saturday, March 14, 2015

From dark to light! #together

Image Source: quoteimg.com

It was a gloomy winter day of 2009 when I decided to stay put at my home, not wanting to face the world that stood at large, waiting to make me feel small, questioning my strengths, and demeaning me in that process.

Yes, I could have chosen to be a little optimistic and walk like nothing happened but then I was taken aback by the events that unfolded before me. I was shattered to see my dreams going down the drain! All I wanted was that one chance that could perhaps change my world for better but suddenly I felt defeated, all alone against the cruel world. Now, all this may sound a bit melodramatic but then I could not deny the reality. So, I closed myself in the comfort of my home, my peaceful haven; not sure of what the future had in store for me!

Amidst all the turmoil that I was going through that day, my best friend who was my sole confidant intervened my space, not seeing any other way to help me hold myself together. She came into my dead world to lighten up everything once again and fill it with cheers. She insisted me on speaking my heart out, she encouraged me with her kind words over the cup of coffee (just the way I like) to ponder upon my feelings. After all, it was just a change of plans, not a big deal... She motivated me to face the situation rather than shutting myself to all the happiness. She showed me the way, a path that could brighten up the things again. I had failed once, but I can't fail twice, not if I remain optimistic and be ready to put in some productive efforts.

Her words, her company, and the way she smiled at me without judging me - all of that lifted up my mood and I was re-born with a new found hope. I chalked out a plan to traverse on the crossroad ahead of me and remain positive about it.

Deep down, I know I could never have taken that first step without her by my side. Her company and the power that she brushed upon me that day, the inspiration that she left me with were very essential to me. That gloomy winter day made me realize how beautiful the bond of friendship is that we continue to share till date and how my dear friend is my ray of hope among all darkness that sometimes tries to engulf me but has to go back, feeling defeated.

That sweet little nudge from her was all that I needed back then to believe that optimism is the greatest strength, it can help face any adversity. It brought me out of my sadness and motivated me to hug my life again, and this time with more zeal. Yes, the optimism that she gave me that day helped me revitalize my whole future. I will forever cherish the #memories and the #togetherness of that day because it helped me to be what I am today!

Let's all take out time to be #together with our family, friends, and loved ones. Let's start this journey here, Together - Meet the New Housing. :)

~ One day, everything will make sense. Until then, dance on! ~

Image Source: www.positivityblog.com

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Project S.A.I. - Book Review

Project S.A.I.
By Srinivasa Gopal
Review By Ila Garg

Project S.A.I. by the debutant writer, Srinivasa Gopal is published by Frog Books (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd). The book cover is dark and mysterious and gives away no hint about the story which hooks the readers instantly. The teddy bear amidst the gory background looks a little out of place. This novella appears to be an in and out thriller.

The author has always loved writing as a leisure activity. He has also penned a few academic papers that have appeared in well-known journals and have been featured at academic conferences. Like all Indians, he loves Indian food, Indian culture and is a great fan of the Indian Cricket Team. He has worked for several leading multinational firms all over the world and has even set up his own software company. Project S.A.I. is his literary debut.

The blurb reads as, Sarangan & Lakshman are two brothers, who come from the same pilgrim town in rural Tamil Nadu but who live completely different lives. While Sarangan and his family are content to remain in their hometown, Lakshman raises his sons in the bustling metropolitan city of Chennai. Tragedy strikes when the two families come together for their annual pilgrimage. Now it's a race between Lakshman’s son, Ananth, and the police, to prove whether or not their deaths were really caused by an accident.

‘Project S.A.I.’ is the story of two young men overcoming their own personal grief, to help others discover the truth behind the troubles plaguing them. And all this with the help of a device, whose existence most people would deem impossible - a device that allows a person to have conversations with those who no longer belong to the realm of the living.

This pocket-sized book is set in Tamil Nadu. Sarangan & Lakshman are two brothers born and brought up in a rural pilgrim town of Tamil Nadu. It is interesting to note that apart from this, they hardly have anything in common - their beliefs, life styles, ambitions, ideologies are all different from each other. While Sarangan and his family are content to remain in their hometown, Lakshman moves to the metropolitan city of Chennai with his wife and kids. The beginning doesn’t give even a slightest hint that where the story is heading to. It is only when the two families come together for their annual pilgrimage that the story takes a turn and turns into a tragic thriller.

The story will appeal to all those readers who want to read something different from the mainstream drama. The way this narrative is written and the plot is woven compels the readers to read on and get involved with this fantastic tale. The author has managed to keep the story tight knit and though it is fast paced, yet it seems comfortable for the readers. The story is kept short and crisp; to the point, no exaggeration is done which is the USP here.

The language is easy to comprehend, with a little use of vernacular words like AdirasamPuliyodaraiThambi, etc. All characters are sketched very well and they make the plot even more interesting. Author’s language is really fresh and the narration is entrancing too. Readers will find it interesting and will not be bored.

The 86 page book manages to be a nice read, though it could easily be more descriptive. This book is definitely a page turner and a very quick read. The blurb almost reveals everything, leaving not much excitement to be unveiled. For a debut writer, Srinivasa Gopal has presented a nice book with a different storyline. The plot and thrill kept me glued to this book, although the grammatical errors kept irking the flow.

The downside of this book for me is its editing and the under developed storyline. It left me disappointed. To err is human, but to err and err again is not justified. The narrative has a lot of spelling, punctuation and basic grammatical errors that slipped through the writer's and editor's eyes.

‘Yay’ Factors: The genre.

‘Nay’ Factors: The too many editing errors right from the first page to the last page.

My Verdict: To find out what happened at the annual pilgrimage, was the tragedy just an accident or was it planned, who suffered the greatest and why, who was at fault; you will have to read the novella, Project S.A.I.

Ratings: 3/5

This (Unbiased) book review is a part of "The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program". To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com. Thanks Nimi Vashi for giving me the opportunity to read this book!

Buying Links: Flipkart | Landmark | Amazon

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Drenched Souls (Moonlit Matinee 2) - Book Review

Drenched Souls - Moonlit Matinee 2
Compiled By Pulkit Gupta
Edited By Harshita Srivastava
Review By Ila Garg

The anthology comprising of 23 remarkably beautiful short stories, Drenched Souls - Moonlit Matinee 2, has been published by Gargi Publishers. The printing quality of books by this publication house has always been its strength. All the stories are well written and deal with the various different shades of love.
Let’s start with the cover. One word - A breath of fresh air! :D Well, yes the cover of the anthology, Drenched Souls - Moonlit Matinee 2, is interesting, and not a mess. The back cover has all the names of the contributors and an apt blurb. The anthology has a beautiful foreword by Tanya Shrivastava. Next, let’s talk about the stories one by one. As I personally feel that without talking about each story individually, the review wouldn’t be complete and it wouldn’t be a justified review of this anthology. I don’t want anyone to feel left out, so here you go:
  1. IT TOOK ME FOREVER TO FIND YOU by Bhavya Kaushik: This story has nothing new to offer. I had high expectations from Bhavya but the story left me disappointed. The language is simple, a few clichés used here and there, all in all not too impressive. Quoting from the story, “People say that time travels at different pace for different people. At that moment, when everything around me was moving at its usual speed, my insides were halted for an instance.”
  2. ONE MORE KISS IN THE RAIN by Rachna Sheth: This story is engrossing. Kabir and Stella make a perfect pair and take the readers along with them as they get drenched in their rain-romance. The language is equally engaging, and the short poetries in between keep up with the mood. The climax sure is appalling! Quoting from the story, “Rain, isn’t the word enough to take your heart away? Well, I just didn’t lose my heart but everything else that was possessed by me, on that rainy day.
  3. I PROMISE YOU by Abhishek Vipul Thakkar: This story moves around a surreal experience. After it ended, I felt a sense of incompleteness, maybe the author can work more on building up a climax. It was a different kind of plot, though not well put up. I liked how Lord Krishna became the integral part in this story. Quoting from the story, “I promise you that I will love someone else but that someone else would be our daughter.
  4. IN THE NAME OF LOVE by Nikita Nepali: Grandma narrating her love story to her grand-daughter! Indeed, an interesting plot! It is no doubt, a nice read, though the end was slightly predictable. The climax will leave the readers with tears in their eyes and a smile of satisfaction on lips gathered from the firm belief in love. A story written with a deep emotional touch. Quoting from the story, “Just two lines and my heart melted. I started smiling. I knew Jay was not a very good singer but when he sang, I just loved it. The rains were definitely a catalyst to our love. I hugged him tight as he again sang those two lines. I was blushing.”
  5. BLESSINGS FROM HEAVEN by Elora Rath: I loved the manner in which Elora started the story; the description seemed flawless! The language and vocabulary used is tasteful and impressive. I felt, the plot could have been presented in a better manner though. Quoting from the story, “The story was unfolding beautifully in her mind and making its vivid impressions on the MS Word document as she was furiously typing on her laptop to complete the story somehow that night.”
  6. A MAN OF WORDS by Chandrapal Khasiya: This story was engulfed with a sense of mystery. I had goose bumps by the time I reached the end. A well written story. Language is easy to comprehend and pace too is comfortable. Quoting from the story, “And I am a Sharma. We are men of words and we don’t usually give up so easily.”
  7. A DOLLOP OF ROMANCE by Barkha Parikh: A simple story of love laced with romance and few unsaid words. All in all the letter and note was the highlight and so was the sweet surprise. Two words for the story - Cute and Romantic! Quoting from the story, “There she was sitting at the coffee-table by the window watching the drizzle outside and sipping her favourite Orange-Hazelnut coffee… just the way ‘HE’ liked it- Strong, Rich and Frothy.”
  8. LOST IN THE CLOUDS by Nitin Shill: Simple, easy to understand language. Even the pace is kept sooth for the readers; could have been developed a little more. Quoting from the story, “The imprints of the cake were still there on the wall representing the romantic celebration of their first anniversary which then transformed into an even more romantic cake fight. Those marks too irritated him. He wanted to flee away from everything that reminded him of his less fortunate past.”
  9. FORBIDDEN LOVE by Jonali Karmakar: A story that is overpowered by hope and despair. The climax comes as soon as the story begins but the pace and language is comforting. Quoting from the story, “Surprisingly, it wasn’t her beauty that caught his attention. Rather it was the endless sorrow that Barkha so carefully pursed in her unsmiling mouth.
  10. THE MONSOON MAGIC by Durgesh Shastri: An unfulfilled story of love, ending with a ray of hope. It was a good narration. The plot was well developed too. Quoting from the story, “The rain had completely stopped by then, leaving me alone to cherish those memories. As I wiped my entire face using a kerchief, the white piece of cloth gathered stains of crimson color on it. The traces of her lipstick had adorned my lips all the while.”
  11. AND THE REASON IS YOU by Arunima Kumar: The editing errors in this story were a major put off - ‘sight’ was spelled as ‘site’ and many more such mistakes. The story majorly lacked in its grip. Quoting from the story, “Every girl dreams of a perfect date with that perfect MAN. I feel the same. Obviously I am yet another girl who is just too romantic at heart. But luckily, I have never been in the dreadful relationship mess.”
  12. DOWN THE MEMORY LANE by Harsh Rai Puri: A well-knit story that doesn’t bore the readers. Also, the pace is gripping and plot is engaging without any artifice. Language is flawless too and the story runs in a continuous stream of memories. Quoting from the story, “An accidental brush with his arm sent a tingle up my spine and I tried to capture the pain and pleasure of the moment. I do not recollect fully what happened later but that moment lingers on and I can still feel the gasp of pleasure whenever I think of it.”
  13. WHAT IS LOVE… by Aashi Dahiya: A story that delves deep to find the real meaning of ‘love’. Indeed a nice narration, though could have been a little more interesting. Quoting from the story, “Someone once told me that love is an indefinable emotion which brings down every other emotion and stays at the top. The elderly love in front of me had grown over in the past.”
  14. REVENGE OF HUMILIATION by Alok Vats: This story is well thought of. The narrative could be a little better but the story line was good and overshadowed the flaws. Language is simple and easy to comprehend. Quoting from the story, “I was running like Milkha Singh ran in the last shot of Bhag Milkha Bhag, and the thought of DDLJ was going inside my mind.”
  15. AND SO IT HAPPENED… by Anshulika Bansal: Language used is good and so is the vocabulary. A little more concentrated editing would have been great. The story was well developed. Quoting from the story, “From the corner of my eyes, I can see him mesmerized by my laughter, awestricken by my cute dimple on the left cheek and intoxicated by my voice.”
  16. TEARS AND RAIN CHANGE DESTINIES by Anmol Ratan Sachdeva: A nice and impressive storyline, with an equally good language and pace. Nisha and Adarsh blend in the story perfectly. Quoting from the story, “It was in these moments that he wished that the monsoons should pay him back what they had snatched from him years back. He wanted a loving person in his life.”
  17. A FISHERMAN’S LOVE TALE by Rakshitha Girish: A simple and sweet love story that begins with a tragedy. Pace is comfortable and there is nothing complex about this story. Quoting from the story, “I began picturising myself as Bella (from twilight) and he was my Edward. He had saved me from being more hurt.”
  18. LOVE THAT COMPLETES by Ummul Fazal Fatima Khan: A very quick read and different plot! It is narrated with grace, though the climax comes in a bit too fast. Quoting from the story, “I have been a spectator to the celebrations of the marriage of my three sisters. I had seen them becoming brides in those red wedding dress and leaving home with their husbands, later indulging into their own household affairs.”
  19. HALE AND HEARTILY, YOURS FOREVER by Ashwati Menon: A well-developed story and umbrella becomes an integral part of the plot. Language is simple and I loved the way the story unfolds; can be visualised while reading! Quoting from the story, “Out of nowhere, a clap of thunder and a deep rumble set off the first rains. Many of the office-goers remained marooned as the rains drenched the thirsty land of Gujarat.”
  20. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Shishir Dhingra: A beautiful story, captivating narrative, and a nice blend of emotions. Pace is comfortable and goes well with the readers. Quoting from the story, “While my conscious mind was dreaming about my best friend’s love at first sight heroic story, my subconscious mind passively ordered me to apply breaks on sensing the red light in front.”
  21. THE SKY’S TEARS by Shravya Gunipudi: The narration is done well. The language is easy to comprehend and the story seems interesting from the beginning. Quoting from the story, “He saw her on the side of the street, kneeling over something. Upon looking closer, he realized it was a tiny puppy. She patted the top of its head before bending forward to kiss it in the same place.”
  22. THAT RAINY AFTERNOON by Shruti Patole Clarence: This one is interesting, laced with romance. This love story reaches the climax as beautifully as it begins. Quoting from the story, “He had bought ‘her’ favourite box of chocolates and had rushed over to her house to give her this news. It was about the same time of the year, the rains were showering their blessings all over the earth.”
  23. PHENOMENAL LOVE by Mangala: A very maturely written love story. Language is profound and pace is comfortable. Readers will enjoy this ride. Definitely a good story to end the anthology with! Quoting from the story, “It became a daily practice for them to meet in the park and talk about their children, grand-children and the phone calls received from them.”
Overall, a nice anthology with all the shining contributors. It begins on a low key but gradually as we reach towards the end, the stories get gripping and impressive! Though on the editing front, a lot of improvement is required because it really kept coming in the way of the reading experience. The typeset was as beautiful as the cover. Pulkit Gupta has compiled the stories very well as he selected stories that brought out different flavours of love perfectly.
Rating: 3/5
Buying Links: Infibeam | Amazon | Flipkart