I’m back! :)

So been a long time huh? Where have I been? What was I up to? I know you all are dying to know, the few handful of you who read me.

Well, this is the second Diwali I spent in another country. It’s been alternate years now since marriage that I am in different countries celebrating festivals. The biggest excitement this year though was that Shantanu was able to comprehend some part of it. He realised that something is different with all the lights and sweets. Sweets! my parents and in-laws sent in packages of sweets and Diwali mithai. It really brought out the festive mood in our home. With lights and diyas and firecrackers we had a fantastic Diwali.

I want to note here that this was the first time that Shantanu ate the Diwali sweets and enjoyed the lights so much so that he wanted to keep them turned on the entire day. We shot a lot of videos of Shantanu playing and laughing and talking and sent them back to my parents and in-laws.

The kiddo has come a long way now since my last post about him. He can now easily climb up the chairs and tables, can speak up a lot of words and keeps adding to the vocabulary every day. Touchy-feel books are his favourite and he can recognize a lot of objects in them. Pushing the TV buttons, eating and gnawing the remote controls, mobiles and books is another of his favourite activity. He is even strong enough now to pull and push the TV. He loves to pick up the letters that arrive by post and brings them to me. He leaves all that he is doing when the mailbox flap makes a big sound and runs to collect the letters. When they are quite a few and heavy ones, he ponders and brings the light ones first and keeps the heavy ones for his last trip. He helps me with the laundry by putting clothes into the washing machine.

During Diwali, when we dressed him up in new clothes, I realised that he was a little boy now and not a little baby anymore. Hmm, I miss those days when he was a baby with all that baby smell. Now I have a tot tumbling all around me.

The other woman

I have been meaning to write this post for quite some time now and this Ganpati festival gives me the perfect opportunity. Yes dear readers, I am one of those who have to deal with the other woman in their lives. Now before you go berserk, let me tell you that by the other woman, I mean my mother-in-law (MIL). There comes a time when a wife realises that she’s not the only woman in her husband’s life, he also has a mother.

What makes me think of her, you ask. Well just about everything. To start with, hubby has been in love with her since he was born and she is the focal point around which our household revolves. So what’s new? Isn’t that the case with every other family? But she is different.

If you look at her, you might notice only a thin person with a frail body who is perhaps subjected to malnutrition and arduous work. That’s true but with a twist. Her physical persona might give you the impression that she is fragile and weak but on the inside she is just as strong. It amazes me to see the amount of work that she can put into a single day. Not only does she cook a variety of dishes a day (in the morning as well as evening) but she also cooks them to perfection. She is a perfectionist. I have developed a taste to many a dishes all due to her delicious cooking. She has told me many a times that she doesn’t like to cook but that doesn’t stop her from going to the kitchen every morning. I guess I mimic most of her cooking methods and processes.

Now before a certain lady in Mira Road starts raising her eyebrows, let me assure you that you are my hallmark for cooking and almost all other things but my MIL comes so close to it that I cannot help but appreciate. Observing the MIL’s cooking is like watching Sachin Tendulkar bat. It appears to be very easy but when you actually try it yourself, it’s very difficult specially the puranpolis and kanavale. You got to see it to believe it. I haven’t seen her complain about cooking, well maybe just this time. 🙂

She has been a stay at home mom, a home-maker from the time hubby was a small child but her problem solving skills are amazing. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She is shrewd but wise. She has a solution to your every problem. She has a remarkably adroit memory and can so easily remember where things are kept around the house. She is quick as a wink, fast as a hurricane in the kitchen, serene and calm while performing her daily pooja. She may appear to be flustered and excitable when presented with a problem but underneath she is unperturbed. She believes in god with a passion but doesn’t compel others to follow suit. Her infectious laughter and approachable nature make her a very pleasing personality.

So why am I thinking so much about her today? It’s festive time in India and that too Ganpati. Here, so far away from the family I am missing the festive mood. The house looks like a bachelor’s pad – everything scattered. Back home, I know the house would be clean, the plants watered, the gods adorned with flowers and ornaments – all the MIL’s doing. Her idiosyncrasies about cleanliness and the poise that she exhibits during such times has a celestial charm to it.

That is what I am missing.

Book Review: 2 States

Author: Chetan Bhagat


Welcome to 2 States, a story about Krish and Ananya who are from two different states of India, deeply in love and want to get married. Of course, their parents don’t agree. To convert their love story into a love marriage, the couple have a though battle in front of them. For it is easy to fight and rebel, but much harder to convince. Will they make it?

My review: 

I picked this up after hearing some rave reviews from my friends. It was not very gripping to me. I read it in parts and after a point, I wanted it to just get over. It was predictable after a point. Why was Krish’s father shown as such a villain? And what made him so? His character seemed totally out of depth with no explanation whatsoever to his psyche. Also, why was the Punjabi clan made out like a bunch of idiots except Krish? Were the two protagonists exception to the qualities demonstrated by their respective families?

It was entertaining in parts but at times too far-fetched, specially when Krish proposes the entire family with the four rings. It was genuinely funny at times but the characters sounded very dramatic and sometimes immature.

Maybe I was expecting a lot more from Chetan Bhagat.

My rating: 2.5/5


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 13; the thirteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

She wiped her eyes and stared at the stick. Two lines. It was positive. She knew her parents wouldn’t understand. Her boyfriend had broken up with her yesterday. Her graduation exams were coming up next week.

She craddled the bottle of sleeping pills in her hands.

“Goodbye”, she whispered as tears trickled down her cheeks.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Book Review: The Pact

Author: Jodi Picoult

ISBN: 978-0688170523

Website: http://www.jodipicoult.com/

The Pact is the second Jodi Picoult novel that I have read after Picture Perfect.

The synopsis: The Hartes and Golds have lived next door to each other for about 18 years and are best friends. The Hartes have a 17-year-old son, Chris and a 14-year-old daughter, Kate and the Golds have a 17-year-old daughter, Emily.

Chris and Emily have been inseparable since a 6 month old Chris was placed in the hospital cot beside newborn Emily. The plot is mainly around Chris and Emily, though Emily dies in the first paragraph of the book.

Emily dies from a gun shot wound to her head and the question is: was it suicide or did Chris, who was the only person present there, do it? From here, the book flicks from the present to the past showing us flashbacks to when they were born and their relationship and bonding over the years and the present showing us how the two families deal with this tragedy.

I thought that the characters could have been developed more in-depth and many of the storylines quite implausible. The fact that Emily and Chris would end up in a relationship, the book presents this as something that was bound to happen however as you read the flashback chapters it becomes clear that these two were brought up like brother and sister and I thought it was quite unlikely that they would fall into such a relationship. Whereas, as Emily is confused about her relationship with Chris and has her misgivings, Chris has a lot of conviction in it. Chris is Emily’s best friend and confidant so then why does she not share her dark secret with him – try him out. She finds sex with Chris incestuous. Her emotional turmoil, compounded by her pregnancy, which she keeps secret, leads to depression, despair and a desire for suicide and she insists that Chris prove his love by pulling the trigger. Throughout reading this book, I wondered when would the real reason come up. The starting point of it all that led to the suicide pact and I was disappointed that it never came up. I thought in the end it would be revealed. Unconvincing behaviour and dialogue inappropriate to the situation (most importantly, the fact that the parents fail to discuss crucial topics) never touch the essence bereavement and thus destroy credibility.

Chris’s mother is referred to as the star witness and is the last defence witness to take the stand. She isn’t at the crime scene and she isn’t there to provide an alibi, it would seem that the central plank of defence is to be based around the defendant’s mother saying what a nice boy he has always been. Chris had been awaiting trial for eight months and this is the best his lawyer could do?

The ending though predictable could have been written well. I could not believe that was it and was not aware that I was so close to the end as the last pages were devoted to a discussion group and excerpts from the author’s other books.

This book purports to be a mixture between a love story and a legal drama but I did not think it worked on either count. The love story I found unintentionally disturbing while the courtroom drama quite far-fetched.

My rating: 3/5

Happy Birthday

She shut her eyes against the strong winds. There was a chill in the air. The snow all around had almost blinded her. The freezing air had made it difficult for her to breathe. The blizzard cut through her skin which now started bleeding. She wondered whether she could survive this.

She took one deep breath and opened her eyes…

…lush dark green blankets of grass and beds of flowers filled her vision…tender sunshine caressed her skin and warmth filled her heart…she breathed in the scented roses and the wildflowers…and smiled..


Book Review: Picture Perfect

Author: Jodi Picoult

ISBN: 0425185508

Website: http://www.jodipicoult.com/

“To the outside world, they seem to have it all. Cassie Barrett, a renowned anthropologist, and Alex Rivers, one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, meet on the set of a motion picture in Africa. They have a whirlwind romance and declare their love in a fairy-tale wedding. But when they return to California, something alters the picture or their perfect marriage. A frightening pattern takes shape – a cycle of hurt, rage, denial and promises, thinly veiled by glamour.”

The synopsis doesn’t really give you a clue about the book.

Cassandra Barret wakes up in a cemetery, bleeding from the head and suffering from amnesia. She cannot remember who she is, or where she lives. Will flying Horse, a new LAPD officer, finds her wandering aimlessly near a graveyard and takes her in. Days later when her husband comes to claim her at the police stations, no one is more stunned than Cassie to learn that not only is she a renowned anthropologist, but she is married to Hollywood’s leading man, Alex Rivers.

As Cassie gets accustomed to her fairy-tale existence, fragments of her memory return, her whirlwind romance in Africa, her major anthropological discovery, the trajectory of Alex’s career. Yet she finds uneasiness nagging at her. When she finds a positive pregnancy test, all the dark memories come rushing back to her. To protect her unborn child, she runs to Will, who agrees to take her to live with his grandparents in South Dakota. Cassie is exposed to a culture and a lifestyle that is completely new to her. It liberates her.

Alex, Cassie and Will all had difficult childhoods, and all try to run away from their pasts. They struggle with the question of nature versus nurture and how it defines and individual. I loved this book. I loved the way she described the psyche of the victim, the helplessness of the abuser, and the tragedy of such an illustrious life.

This is my first Jodi Picoult book and it was interesting enough to want me to read more.

My rating: 3.5/5

Birthright – Book Review

Author: Nora Roberts

ISBN: 978-0-7499-4042-3

Website: http://www.noraroberts.com/

At a housing construction site, in the small town community of Woodsboro , a worker unexpectedly digs up some human bones. This causes the Antietam Creek Project to come to a sudden halt. It is said that the plot holds that part of the land in dread because of the haunted pond called Simon’s Hole. The bones are found to be more than 5000 years old. Lana Campbell, a widower with a son, a lawyer and member of Historical Preservation Society, releases a court order to stop further construction on the site. First to arrive on the scene is the famous archeologist Dr. Callie Dunbrook. She brings in many other university grads and undergrads to dig on the site, including renowned anthropologist and Callie’s irritating but irresistible ex-husband, Jake Graystone. Forced to work together on the project, Callie and Jake set aside their mutual differences temporarily, and intend to discover what the bones of people long gone have to say. Since a lot of people’s living depends on the construction site they don’t want these archaeologists on the site and hence decide to make life hell for them.

Little does Callie know that her passion for finding out the secrets of the dead is on the verge of becoming a mission of finding out answers to the questions of her own past. An unknown and distraught woman, Suzanne Cullen, turns up at her motel telling her that Callie is her long lost daughter. This turns Callie’s life upside down and though she is sure that she was not adopted she still insists on finding the truth because it’s her birthright. Jake acts as the strongest and only support in Callie’s mission of unravelling the secrets of her birth,which actually makes them realize that their divorce was a biggest mistake that they made in their relationship. While they are at it and digging the site, the people in their team start dying, one by one.

Is someone out to sabotage the work of the archaeologists or are there supernatural forces at work and haunting the ground?

Is Suzanne Cullen telling the truth?

‘Birthright’ is a superb work by Nora. This was the first time I picked her book and I’m sure I’m going to pick her other works. The novel takes you through lot of twists and turns of the puzzle and in the meanwhile through the relationships that are entangled in love, emotions and questions. How the families come together and the role of each family member is given fair importance and justice. All characters are perfectly etched out. Everything is in place as a suspense thriller. Not as stupendous as an Agatha Christie, I was still trying hard to guess the culprit, though I could tie up a few ends and could come up with a hypothesis. I guess after forty odd Agatha Christie’s that’s the least I should be able to do. But still it’s a very good read.

My rating for this book is 3/5.