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.
Afraid! It’s synonymous to when one is scared or lack in courage.
Fearlessness is a virtue of the brave. And we all want to be brave to do the good things our hearts want us to do.
So, good things happen when people, societies, organisations and governments are brave and fearless to stand for good things.
Freedom is a birthright, more than a fundamental right and which is often taken for granted. The thing about freedom is that you feel it only when it’s denied.
Freedom is denied in many parts of the world. But still some rights are protected through law and independent institutions.
But when such institutions get off the track, the protected get afraid. And everything become different.
Then people lose the ability to react to injustice. The fearlessness is gone. We become silent spectators to innocent people getting smoked out of their dream homes, writers getting handcuffed for being brave.
We don’t then react when we are denied of our rights. We suffer terrible infrastructure and watch helplessly when the responsible try to pass the buck and get clapped for blaming subordinates.
Perhaps the dream homes would be standing if facts are presented correctly and wrong doings accepted. Roads would have been in good shape if responsibility is owned and the buck is not passed down. Bridges would have eased the traffic if money was used to buy cement instead of buying personal properties.
Actually we the people are the masters, but we are afraid to react, as we don’t know who will help us in time of need. Not those who we pay the salaries through our taxes nor the ones we voted to work for us.
Afraid because they may consider us enemies and use the machinery we paid to build, to silence us, if we react.
Like the ‘Frankenstein’s monster’.
“Kithane Admi Thay” (How many were there?) the most famous dialogue by Gabbar in the all time great movie Sholay was ringing in my ears when we were passing Ramanagara en route to Bangalore.
These rocks are part of the Ramanagaram hills where the movie scenes were filmed.
Though it’s my fourth drive to Bangalore, I have not done it for a few years. With the result, we forgot some of the mandatory checks before the journey.
If we had checked, we would have avoided the Kuthiran climbs and road, but had to face the block abruptly. I thought it was some major accident that caused the jam and innocently asked a policeman passing by as to what had happened!
He gave me a long smile and later I realised the meaning of his smile. It’s obvious that you are to crawl in there.
I must take a different route on return.
The road after that is good, but heavily tolled. I have collected the numerous receipts and should find out how much it came to, when I find some time.
Just a thought, why don’t the national highway authorities use smart cards where road users can ask for and get the cards loaded with the toll amount depending on the destination. For example I ask for toll loading till Bangalore and use the electronic and automated gates and barricades, instead of waiting in the queue for a dozen or more places.
Last time the highways were under construction, but it’s all mostly complicated now.
Of course, there are these overloaded trucks, like buddies walking on the roads each occupying one of the two available lanes as if they are holding hands and walking in the park.
Truly painful when they struggle with a climb, and maintain the uniform 8 kms per hour speed.
Roads, A Journey With Verses by Vandana Bhasin and Smitha Vishwanath.
Publisher: Notion Press
I love poetry and even wrote a few here and I thought I could also come out with poetry, as well wishing friends commented positively on them.
Then I was reading some of the comments elsewhere from people who are good in poetry, rubbishing random people like me writing crap in the name of poetry.
That’s when I came across this book, Roads. Frankly, the first thing attracted me was that the authors are both ex-bankers like me.
With that connection established, I got the book and started reading.
The collection of poetry has one striking feature. The authors start with a summary giving a background to the poem that follows.
For me poetry has the superiority over literature as the reader gets to interpret the lines in a beautiful way. The verses add to this edge.
The book is of 60 poems arranged under nine virtues. I think the poets have contributed 30 each. Of course I didn’t count, which is a deliberate decision.
But then, one may not be able to find out who the poetess is by reading the poem as both have similar styles for a reader like me trying to follow their expressions of the heart. Perhaps all hearts speak the same language. In fact the poets have hinted that it’s a reflection of their life journey.
Though not an expert, I can say that I enjoyed reading each and every poem. Bankers also can be good poets. And the poems here are really good.
By the way, I am sure that the experts that I spoke about initially will endorse these beautiful poems.
The banker colleagues have made us proud.
Available on Amazon also.
Rating: 4.5 ⭐️
It was not a planned one, just that I had some excess apples to be handled in the house. The three AAAs are also accidental but convenient solution. Apple, Adjust and Adapt.
That’s what happened, when A is for Apple and Apple is for Strudel.
Adjust and Adapt for convenience is a better way to put it than to say it was innovation.
Another compelling reason was that I have not shared anything for sometime, with my friends in whatsapp broadcast group ‘Cooking Exotica & Fitness’. And some of them were asking, which is a pleasant surprise, as I didn’t know!
Making it the Viennese style needs real skills. So I took the easy way. Chappathis were available and I quickly made the filling.
Two apples, skinned and cored were sliced fine. Took a fistful of ‘craisins’ (dried cranberries) instead of raisins and made it drunk in some brandy instead of rum. Added to these were a couple of sliced Nagpur orange peels with flavedo and albedo, instead of lime.
(New words for me but apparently the orange peel consists of a thin outer layer called the flavedo and a thicker, fibrous inner layer called the albedo).
Smeared the baking tray with virgin coconut oil and applied melted butter on the inside of the chappathis. Carefully rolled the chappathis with the filling nicely spread inside.
Baked on slow heat (180 centigrade) in the oven with heating on top and bottom for about 20 minutes.
The easy and desi (domesticated) Apple Strudel was done. It was a little burned on the top but still soft and moist. Perhaps I should keep the top burner off.
I clearly forgot a sprinkle of cinnamon, but it was still good, I am sure, as I saw my wife taking a second one.
This time it was not a planned visit to a seafood speciality place, we went there for lunch as it was near to the place where we had to go yesterday in Kochi, Kerala.
And we stumbled upon a novel food plan. This place must interest a thali food lover, particularly the South Indian thali.
For the uninitiated, thali is a wholesome meal served with several small portions of side dishes for the main item rice. And the best of the thalis are usually vegetarian.
We were served the food in the exact style of a thali meal with several small portions of side dishes, pickles and the must have pappadam.
Instead of the usual vegetarian items, the thali had five side dishes of seafood. There was a mackerel fry, fish curry, seafood avial (meen peera style) with fish and calamari rings, dried and powdered prawns, and kallummel kaya (Kerala mussels dish).
Of course there were vegetables and even kappa (tapioca) with ‘uppum mulakum’.
Many of the diners in the packed restaurant were ordering special dishes where they select the fish from the fresh fish display and get their favourite preparation done in the kitchen, like in the oriental style.
We didn’t go for any such specialities as we were in a hurry. But enjoyed the meal thoroughly. A highly recommended place.
Of course there was payasam (kheer) for desert.
And then the price is ₹ 150 for the meal (just over $2).
‘Karim Kurangu Rasayanam’ (Black Monkey Potion) was touted as a health enhancer and sold to those seeking health many years back.
A definition on rasayana says:
‘Rasayana therapy enriches rasa with nutrients to help one attain longevity, memory, intelligence, health, youthfulness, excellence of luster, complexion and voice, optimum development of physique and sense organs, mastery over phonetics, respectability and brilliance’.
It sounds good but this particular one had the beautiful innocent monkey as ingredient.
That’s pathetic, humans used to kill these beautiful creatures for cure of sins out of bad living habits and seeking better health.
Thankfully it’s all changed. Co-existence is the norm, warmly embraced by all good people and forced on those, if any living, with the evil intentions.
I found about 20 of them visiting the beautiful nature resort ‘Spice Village’ in Thekkady, Kerala.
And one can see them moving effortlessly from branch to branch on the forested shores of Periyar lake while taking the magnificent boat safari through the Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary.
By the way, it’s said that the black monkey, when cornered by the gun pointing wicked hunter, used to fold their hands pleading for life before the trigger was pulled.
Ashamed of such cruelty.
What’s in photography! Usually the great photos are reflections of the skills of the photographer.
The camera, of course, plays a part. And like in a great painting, the object or the model also play a significant part.
Here’s an example of that third aspect. The photographer is me, and I know more than anyone else that I am not a great photographer.
I like my camera and it has good features of a gift when my daughter decided that I needed an upgrade.
But here the star performer is the Oriental Darter posing beautifully, perched on top of the driftwood in the beautiful lake through the Thekkady wildlife sanctuary.
Ready for a perfect hug.