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.
With a parent organisation as powerful as Amazon, Audible the Audiobook application is a very interesting development.
I was introduced to Audible by a friend in the fasting group who recommended a book on fasting which she said is currently available on audible only in india.
So I subscribed to the free trial and bought the audio book. And I am to stay put.
I am enjoying the book being read out to me by someone with a sweet voice who I can definitely imagine as the author and for that matter the lead character in the book.
So, perhaps move over the paperback, kindle and tablets. And of course, there’s no need for the reading specs even.
I have been trying to get some authentic dim sum and it’s not easy in India where momos are also sometimes called dim sum. And when served dim sums, they’re invariably chicken and not prawns.
Then remember, I lived in HongKong and the entire third floor of my office building Citiplaza11 was one dim sum station where the steaming choicest ones were served on wheeled carts that used to travel along the aile feeding the hungry humanity.
I got hold of one authentic recipe which includes making the dough for the outer cover. I must admit that I have to make the dough next time as a new outlet ‘Host’ in Kochi was selling momo covers. The thinner dim sum cover would enhance the feel.
I got the dimsum steamer and ingredient ready to cook bamboo shoots from Amazon.
Ingredients for Har gow filling
150 g deveined unshelled shrimp , pre-soak in cold water for 1 hour
60 g minced bamboo , cooked
60 g minced animal fat , cooked
1.5 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1.5 tbsp. sesame oil
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. starch , potato starch or corn starch
Soak the shrimp in cold water firstly for around 1 hour. This can help to make the shrimp firm after steaming. On operating board, mince half of the shrimp and cut the remaining ones into smaller pieces. If you ever visit a dim sum hall, you may find har gow includes small whole shrimps. But whole shrimp is really hard to assemble, so we just find a balanced point here. Or if you are quite new for assembling dumplings, mince all of your shrimps.
Add salt to shrimp in a large bowl and stir for 1 minutes. Then add a teaspoon of starch and continue stirring the shrimp by hand in one direction for 2-3 minutes until they becomes quite sticky and there are lots of glue like liquid
Then add sugar, sesame oil, white pepper, bamboo and minced animal fat.
Set aside, covered and fridge for 30 minutes.
Take 3/4 teaspoon of the mix into each dough sheet and roll it in dimsum shape.
Bring water to a boil on your stove. Brush some oil on the lined paper (so the dumplings will not stick to the paper) and place them in dimsum steamer one by one. And then steam the dumplings for about 15 minutes with high fire. Then serve hot!
I have copied the method from the recipe.
I am doing a Cover Reveal for the book ‘A Beast So Beautiful’ by Carlyle Labuschagne, thanks to Shalini and her Digital Reads Blog Tours.
A darkness falls over the land when the Queen of Rurith dies.
Consumed with grief, King Ivar blames their son, Prince Leif, for her demise, and locks him away in the forgotten tower of the castle.
The Prince is left in total despair, until a girl, with hair the colour of a red sunset and green eyes shows him mercy.
For six years she visits him in secret, giving him hope where none existed before.
But Ruith hides many treacherous things that threaten to bring the Kingdom to its knees.
Until the Prince and his beastly curse are released.
Carlyle is a USA Today Bestselling, international bestselling and international award winning South African author – with a flair and passion for mixing genres, adding loads of drama to every story she creates. Carlyle has traveled the world with her books in hopes of connecting with all kinds of book loving people, to learn as much as she can from other book cultures with the hopes of bringing the knowledge back to her home country.
Her goal as an author is to touch people’s lives, and help others love their differences and one another by delivering strong messages of faith, love and hope within every outrageous world she writes about.
Carlyle uses writing as a healing tool, and that is why she has started her very own writers support event – SAIR Book Festival.
Founder of SAIR Book Festival
Co-Founder of Fire Quill Publishing.
Founder of Help build a library in South Africa.
AUTHOR SOCIAL MEDIA
I am back with the problems of people who grow seasonal produce. And this is on Kerala bananas.
Kerala bananas are unique and I have seen the same ones in some other countries like Ghana. It is used for making banana chips, banana fritters etc. Though available throughout the year, there’s bumper crops during the season.
Like all perishable produce, the excess in the season is a problem. And we see abundance along the highways selling at low prices like 4 kgs for 100 rupees.
We can help the farmers by buying this excess to process them for storage for later use.
Here it’s just a natural
The slices are then kept in the the sun to dry. A few days of good sunlight will process the slices into sun dried bananas.
These then can be stored in glass jars for over a year in room temperature. It’s delicious on its own. Fabulous with some grated coconut, honey, sugar or jaggery.
Cut into small pieces, the sun dried bananas can be used as dry fruits for any preparation needing dry fruits.
Banana planters get to sell their produce at a reasonable price when we individuals buy them in larger quantities and preserve for future use.
It’s again a win-win and provides the satisfaction of fulfilling a social responsibility.
My drive of 75 kms from Kochi to my hometown is always fascinating. This time for a new reason.
Throughout the journey, there are stalls on both sides of the road where fruits are sold in plenty. Attractively stacked up are oranges, pineapple, Kerala bananas, grapes and even dragon fruit.
Something common to the first four is that it’s 4kgs for ₹100 ($1.35). That’s quite a bargain for any standards. In fact the majestic tropical fruit pineapple is sometimes sold at unbelievably low prices.
Clearly the farmers get even less as the buyers pay middleman markup too.
Remember, all these are quite perishable and the producers can easily be taken for a ride.
This seasonal distress could dissuade a hardworking farmer from producing at all, which will then start the vicious cycle of food shortage.
This unless authorities step in and guarantee a minimum sustainable price. It’s been lobbied for producers of items like wheat and rice.
We too have a social responsibility of supporting the farmers. However it’s difficult to consume or store larger quantities.
But we can try certain things like processing them to last longer.
I bought grapes more than I could consume. And here’s what I did for processing it.
Wash/ clean the grapes keep them with skin (I bought the seedless ones). In a hard bottom vessel melted palm jaggery. Added the grapes to it kept in low flame till they become tender.
Squeezed two lemon juices and continued processing, mixing periodically for uniform heating.
Used a potato masher to mash the grapes and continued on small flame till it became thick for a jam consistency.
The outcome is quite tasty and can be used as jam or spread. It has a shelf life though no preservative was added. And longer life when kept in the fridge.
If we do this with the seasonal produces, we can have the satisfaction of contributing to the food security. A win-win for all.
I was listening to a motivational speech, targeted at people in older age. She said incoming calls will reduce, but nothing prevents you from increasing the outgoing calls.
There’s a problem here, I think. Busy people won’t have the time to receive those outgoing calls.
That’s where a‘good morning’ message on social media could make a difference. The recipient gets to see and respond, if desired, at a convenient time.
It’s happening. See the footnote on the picture. 100 crore is a billion. Wow.
Another thing the motivational speaker said was not to have too much of an expectation. But do what makes you happy.
All the one billion good mornings would not have been responded. But some would have. And those would have helped the recipient to start the day on a happy note. And made the sender super happy to get a‘good morning to you too’ message.
It’s difficult to find such a unique location. Right in between a beautiful Sandy beach and miles of sprawling backwaters.
That’s what Indriya Sands is and that’s why it’s unique.
That’s not all. There are 12 well appointed guest rooms, ample dining space, large entrance lounge, two swimming pools and a party hall. One can even catch the fish in the backwaters.
Three kayaks and three paddling boats keep guests busy over the calm backwaters. And the sea keeps guests washing back to the shore draped in frothy white waves.
Rooms are comfortable, fairly large sized, clean with tall wooden roofs.
Then there’s this specialty of Kerala resorts, the amazingly friendly staff, just eager to please you.
You know what happened to us! We checked in previous day to our wedding anniversary. My wife asked the resort to fetch a cake with icing and happy anniversary written. They used the information.
A candlelight dinner table was set up to surprise us at dinner time. The general manager and staff came up to us to extend anniversary wishes. They even played malayalam romantic songs. The cake was declared ‘on the house’. Just got touched.
We’re sure going back. I am recommending, highly, you to consider Indriya Sands, Kuzhippally near Cherai in Ernakulam, Kerala your next holiday location.
‘Shivettante Kada (Shivettan’s shop) is a fish specialty local roadside eatery in Cherai beach in Kerala. And it was an ideal lunch place for us celebrating our wedding anniversary at the beautiful resort Indriya Sands in the adjacent sandy beach Kuzhippally.
Interestingly, I am following the restaurant on Instagram. And the place truly lives up to the expectation. Certainly fish is the hero there (മീനാണു താരം).
For the sumptuous lunch we had Karimeen fry, prawns and squid to the set meals. And tasted excellent.
Certainly a must eat place, if you happen to pass by anywhere near.
Fear is felt before the cause happens. Once it happens, it’s just a feeling of resignation.
Covid pandemic is a cause for great fear and unfortunately it’s not going away.
There are others, albeit minor in nature in our daily life.
I felt one of those, this morning when I went to the ATM to take some cash.
With a background familiar with cards and it’s operations, I was comfortable in navigating the keys and strokes in asking for the amount required.
And fear struck me when the ATM accepted my PIN and when I looked at the slot where the money would come.
It’s not anxiety, it’s fear of the red notes coming out.
₹2000 denominated notes are a burden to an Indian consumer. The market is enabled for electronic transactions, big and small. But use of physical currency of that value is not.
Declared policies on digital transactions and cash avoidance do not support the existence of such a currency note.
Perhaps the banks find it convenient to load cash machines with it so that they don’t go cashless.
To cut it short, I admit to be a victim of fear of seeing red notes out of an ATM slot.
‘Chandrakkaran’ is an unusual name for a mango, and it’s perhaps an exclusive Kerala privilege to enjoy delicacies made during the various stages of the fruit’s growth.
Grown on tall big trees, the early use is for kannimanga achar (tender mango pickle). It’s for kaduku manga when it’s a little more bigger when the pickle with a liberal use of mustard seeds has mango cut in small pieces.
There’s a uppu manga stage when the fruit is practically matured. Here the whole mango is pickled by keeping them in salt water and closed securely in earthen jars.
This variety of mango fruits in plenty and in bunches and are of small in size. The taste is extreme at every stage with a pronounced tinge of the sap or the penchant latex, even for the ripe fruit.
Ripe Chandrakkaran is a delight, and traditional Kerala has a method of preserving the goodness of the seasonal manga by making thera.
It’s the most difficult process of any food and it takes a number of days of the mago pulp mixed with some roasted rice powder and sugar and dried in the sun after spreading on paya (kaitha mats) with new pulp mixture added everyday till it’s dried.
My niece’s house had the mago and we were given some for uppumanga, but I had other ideas. The mangoes were allowed to ripen, and I used a crude short cut to make this thera.
The pulp mixed with rice powder and palm jaggery (I avoid processed sugar whenever possible). Since I don’t have the paya, baked the mixture, cut into small pieces and I am drying them in the sun.
Perhaps I will make it the traditional way sometime during the season.