My Bucket List had a book in it and I was not sure as to what and how I should be writing one. Some well-wishers suggested to write a travelogue as I used to travel for work or otherwise.
I was also lucky that I am a member of this blog group and help came up instantaneously. The sum total was the realization that I should be writing from the heart.
Encouraged by the support I decided to start writing and brought up an idea of forming the ‘Book Writers’ Club’ which was joined by a few friends. And I wanted my first few pages to be seen and reviewed by the club members.
I got a real review, ably correcting the plenty of mistakes and telling what should be taken care of from one of the members. She had one book published and here I am talking about her second and lovely book ‘Love.Exe’
If you have downloaded a complicatd software on an unreliable computer with moody internet, you get a picture of how the author unfurls the story. The story progresses like the exact stages in the software download, with the several yes/no, true/false confirmations concluding with the finish button.
That alone would make the book a hit among the tech savvy new generation. Particularly since the background is set on the dream destination for Indians for study and work – the U S A and Ivy League colleges, full scholarships and dream jobs with new gen tech and online companies.
About the Author
Manju Nambiar, originally from Kerala in India, after higher education in USA, now works in a leading frim in San Jose California and lives there with husband and daughter. Her first book ‘The Money Lender’ has been a hit.
The book is available on Amazon
The main character is a bright and beautiful girl from an orthodox South Indian family with ambition set on the typical Indian youngster intention of living the American Dream.
Marriage is what the parents think of daughters and that is what the compromise for any dream.
There is a transition from an attempted arranged marriage to love led marriage. Imagine the situation when the parties involved are the same in both the scenarios.
As a reader, I have a weakness of getting attached to the lead character. That is not the problem. The problem is that whoever is a villain to the good character (mostly heroine) has a red mark on him from me. And when the author cleverly brings the two close to where they work, I am not happy to see the villain making any gains on the heroine.
But I am unique. Almost all the others love the twist and are fascinated by the details of a real Indian experience in the campus and workplace in USA, especially when the love dominates the details. The book is a complete success in meticulously detailing every steps in the life of Indian Americans living the American Dream in the University and work office.
That’s when, though I wouldn’t like the villain coming anywhere near my heroine, all except me will be thrilled at the way the two get closer and closer and closer.
That makes a reader to get hooked on the book. That is everybody, young, old and even me.
Great romantic book and highly recommended.
Some things catapult to top news by mere word of mouth and that’s how I heard about the Machli Restaurant in Kochi, Kerala. Top foodie friends told me about it and I was waiting for an opportunity to test it out.
Machli is Hindi word for fish, but please don’t get confused, the place is all Kerala and traditional one for that matter.
I have covered here in my blogs, similar exclusive, relatively most inexpensive and delightfully tasty places like ‘Madhu’s Restaurant’ and ‘Vella Kanthari’.
The opportunity came today when a relation based in United Kingdom and now in Kerala, messaged inviting us for lunch at a place to be suggested by us. And I had no hesitation in making the selection.
Five of us, the husband wife and daughter from UK, my wife and me reached the place and found ourselves in a queue in a crowded first floor restaurant where diners were entertained with sizzling fried fish straight from the cooking tawa.
We managed a small conversation with the owner manager who is managing the crowd and promoting his new items which on the day was a fish platter. His trained eyes identified the table which would be vacated for our queue number and pointed to the place saying that it will be free in 15 minutes.
The wait was actually fun, watching the satisfied diners buying the seafood platter temptingly displayed by the manager in a friendly but aggressive sale. The fun was also in swaying this side and that to avoid the piping hot tawas with freshly cooked seafood brought out of the fairly large sized kitchen.
And then we were seated. The cleaning lady did a good job in cleaning the table swiftly and the Kerala traditional fish curry meals arrived in steel thali plates with provisions for various vegetable preparation and rice in the middle.
My friends had recommended ‘Machli Special’ as a must have special order and we promptly ordered it. It’s a fair sized portion of tawa fresh fried ‘chemballi’ (red snapper) and it was truly delicious and so very fresh. We also had a couple of sea food platter of prawns and squid and some fried sardines.
A very satisfying lunch. Interestingly they had kept along with water ‘kanji’ a healthy traditional thick drink which is called common mans soup. This is the drained water from cooked rice.
And there was payasam, the local dessert.
I heard the parent’s exclamation pointing to the fact that the daughter polished off her potion of the fish specialties. Apparently she’s not a fish person.
Quite intrigued, I asked the young pretty lawyer from London about it and her response sums up the quality of food in Machli Restaurant.
She said that she felt ‘fish’ when she used to try seafood earlier (and I immediately translated to local expression ‘fishy’in my mind). But, she continued, ‘this fish was so fresh and tasty and I enjoyed it’.
Best was the host’s expression when he paid the bill, less than 15 British Pounds for the lovely lunch for 5 people!
Congratulating the restaurant-er and assuring him that I will recommend the place to my acquaintances and also that I will blog about it, I got an extra payasam.
I am a blogger, trying to put down my thoughts of the time as blog post in the morning.
I am grateful to the many good and beautiful people who view, like and comment on the posts.
There’s one blog post, titled ‘ Tertiary Education’ which has already secured over 500 views in just over a year.
For all it’s worth, it’s an attempted poem from a ‘not at all a poet’ who tried to summarise some of his fantasies into a poem like structure.
But the title has ‘education’ in it, with a high profile and confusing adjective ‘tertiary‘.
That’s it, all the education business thinks it’s something new and great in education.
So they congratulate me on my great contribution to education and of course give the link to their advertisement, promoting some educational business.
So my poor romantic attempt at poetic representation of a ‘crush’ equating it to a volcanic eruption with lava flowing, lovingly white and bright, as it’s manifestation, perhaps known only to one, is misunderstood by many.
Actually it’s education, and because of it’s exclusiveness is tertiary.
But certainly not business!
It’s a good thing. You know that!
ചിങ്ങമാസം വന്നു ചേർന്നാൽ നിന്നെ ഞാനെൻ സ്വന്തമാക്കും!
(A Malayalam romantic dance song saying “when the month chingam comes, I will make you mine”).
Today is the first day of the new year in Malayalam calendar. Happy New Year.
Onam, the most exclusive and genuinely inclusive festival comes in the month. And it’s a month of hope for the Malayalee.
Then all hopes begins at the end of something sombre. The twelfth month Karkidakam traditionally is the month of famine (relatively as it’s now) or at least a month when people don’t celebrate, hold auspicious functions but ward against possible diseases with even a special diet.
Karkidakam is the month with heavy monsoon rains. For that matter alone I used to rejoice in that month, for I am a Water person and Kerala used to look best when it rained.
But for the last two years, the climatic change has been sadly severe with floods and damages.
Like all Malayalees, I look forward to a new beginning in the new year with hope for a smooth and pleasant return of the normal monsoon season.
Let’s join in respecting nature so that Mother Earth will be kind to us.
ചിങ്ങം വന്നു (Chingam has come), let’s romance with nature.
My experience; well it’s a sad story through and through.
We are all used to horror stories of the insured getting harassed while trying to claim the amount insured. This is normal except when you have contacts within or have clout with them to affect an overall financial equation.
But I am forced to write also about the times when the insurance company is not even asked to compensate, but offered higher premium payment.
They are sweet only at the time of getting the business. After that the insurers are invisible.
The immediate provocation is my car insurance which is for renewal today. I had taken precautions and paid the amount well in advance, but a cover note or the policy copy was not forthcoming.
I checked my bank account to realise to my horror that they haven’t even presented the cheque. When I called to read the riot act, they promised to deliver the policy today. But it looks like I am grounded.
Another insurance giving sleepless nights is health insurance. By the grace of God, we didn’t have to make a single claim for the past several years.
But the health cover remains the same and the reward for diligent payments of premium every year without claim is a small bonus amount which is subject to a ridiculous ceiling.
Inflation has taken the cost of medical treatment up considerably but the cover remained the same.
The discussions (responses are always lagged) for increasing the insurance cover is depressing. I am thinking about self insurance, having been betrayed for being a loyal premium payer.
They are at their worst when in partnership with our bankers. They grease the banks with higher commission to dupe customers.
The banks are saying “we don’t screw our customers, we just hold them down so that the insurance companies can screw them royally”.
Surprisingly the income tax department is more considerate than the merciless insurers. The tax people come up with a slew of rebates for medical expenses, particularly for senior citizens.
Insurance companies on the other hand, hate older people!
Today is India’s Happy Independence Day. The day when we celebrate the anniversary of the end of British colonial rule.
Independent India is recognised as a democracy with citizens voting and electing representatives for a parliamentary form of Government.
On that score, we are doing very well.
However, it may be wrong to equate the democratic form of governance with freedom. Freedom is at the individual level also. And it’s the most important at that level.
The duty of the government is to guarantee the freedom for each and every citizen. Of course, this is subject to well documented and judicially protected rules and responsibilities.
Freedom is violated when denied due to any reason. I wrote about the bullying on the roads by reckless buses. They deny others the freedom of free and peaceful use of public roads.
When a newspaper succumb to pressure and distort news, it’s not only the freedom of the press but also the general publics right to true information that is violated.
Then think about the interference in right to choose one’s food and belief.
We need to ensure that freedom which is constitutionally guaranteed is protected at individual level.
Water is precious, the absence of which is the end for everything and too much of which is frightening.
Frightening, well I thought I would never use that word for my favourite element, but that’s what it is now.
I have always loved water, enjoyed the rain and played happily in it.
Actually, water is much more than that. The picture here is showing something beyond just the eye.
The nearer ones are fishing coracle boats. Those husband and wife team are from another state who came here to earn a living from water.
The boat in middle is a daily ferry used mainly by office goers residing some 40 kilometres from Kochi to commute every day.
And the farther one is gunboat security for the vice admiral.
The third boat’s idea is unfortunately more in focus now, the security. I have just heard friends cancelling important travel fearing the forecasted heavy rain.
Schools are closed and residents on hilly areas of my hometown, vacated their houses based on a voice whatsapp message by the local MLA.
Precautions are good and save life. The need of the hour is to find solutions.
We need to treat our rivers with respect, keeping them clean and free of any obstructing materials. These rivers are to take excess water in heavy rains to the larger ones and to the mighty sea.
It’s also important to channel gushing rain water from the hills into these rivers, smoothly. For this, sufficiently large storm water drains are to be built by studying the flow and keep them clean and unhindered always.
Such welcome to rain and water is what is expected of us. Not the unmindful constructions hindering the nature’s flow with concrete blocks and cutting trees.
Mother Nature will help us, if we respect her.
Kerala, the southern most state of India is used to have one of the most disciplined weather seasons.
The monsoon, known as ‘South West Monsoon’ used to arrive first in India in the state, on the first of June. Ironically, that’s the first day of school for the new year.
It used to be somber sight to see waves of coloured umbrellas, moving along roadsides, hoping to protect the new dresses, bags and shoes of the lovely schoolchildren.
But it’s all changed now! The rains don’t arrive on June first. Worse, like this year, it took well into July for the heavens to open.
The land, people, the flora and fauna are all ready to receive and absorb various climate situations, which are very well orchestrated by the nature.
But it’s not so when the rhythm is upset. The late monsoon, when arrived in excess, upset the equilibrium.
Like one expert puts it “the total seasonal supply of rain, when arriving in just three days, make the earth a water bomb”
This is the apt definition for Urul Pottal.
And most of the losses of lives and damage during the current floods are due to the Urul Pottal.
There’s no warning systems or preventive steps available for this disaster, other than that it can occur unexpectedly in extreme rains.
Perhaps a detailed study and solutions like constructing strong storm water drains are urgently required.