Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Written Affair : Her Beautiful Eyes

Her Beautiful Eyes is a poem about a blind girl... usually when we see a physically or mentally challenged person, we tend to be biased towards them. We think that those people are incapable of thinking, behaving or doing things the normal way... But God when takes away something from someone, he makes it a point to bless that person with other strengths. In this poem, I've tried to bring out the fact that even a physically challenged person is as much capable of doing normal things as we are... here the blind girl has same mysteries, same questions, similar dreams in her eyes... but we cease to notice them coz we are so full of our preconceived ideas...


No one saw her beautiful eyes...
No one saw
The depth in her eyes,
No one saw
Her curious eyes,
No one saw
The secrets hidden in her eyes,
No one saw
The questions rising in her eyes!


No one saw her beautiful eyes...
No one understood
The mysteries of the depth,
No one understood
Her curiosity towards life,
No one understood
How she hid her secrets,
No one understood
The questions in her eyes!


No one saw her beautiful eyes...
No one seemed to notice
The loneliness in her eyes,
No one seemed to notice
The pain in her eyes,
No one seemed to notice
The sad expression in her eyes,
No one seemed to notice
Her craving for the truth!


No one saw her beautiful eyes...
There was so much to be seen
In her beautiful eyes,
But those eyes could not see...
For she was blind!

No one ever noticed
Her beautiful eyes!

Book Review : Jaya

Book Title : Jaya - An Illustrated Retelling Of The Mahabharata

Author : Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik
Genre : Mythology
ISBN : 9780143104254
Publisher : Penguin Books India
Publication : 2010
Pages : 372
Binding : Paperback


Plot :
High above the sky stands Swarga, paradise, abode of the gods. Still above is Vaikuntha, heaven, abode of God.
The doorkeepers of Vaikuntha are the twins, Jaya and Vijaya, both whose names mean 'victory'. One keeps you in Swarga; the other raises you into Vaikuntha.
In Vaikuntha there is bliss forever, in Swarga there is pleasure for only as long as you deserve. What is the difference between Jaya and Vijaya? Solve this puzzle and you will solve the mystery of the Mahabharata.
In this enthralling retelling of India's greatest epic, the Mahabharata, originally known as Jaya, Devdutt Pattanaik seamlessly weaves into a single narrative plots from the Sanskrit classic as well as its many folk and regional variants, including the Pandavani of Chattisgarh, Gondhal of Maharashtra, Terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu, and Yakshagana of Kamataka.
Richly illustrated with over 250 line drawings by the author, the 108 chapters abound with little-known details such as the names of the hundred Kauravas, the worship of Draupadi as a goddess in Tamil Nadu, the stories of Astika, Madhavi, Jamini, Aravan and Barnareek, the Mahabharata version of the Shakuntaiam and the Ramayana, and the dating of the war based on astronomical data.
With clarity and simplicity, the tales in the elegant volume reveal the eternal relevance of the Mahabharata, the complex and disturbing meditation on the human condition that has shaped Indian thought for over 3000 years.

My Rating : 5 ☆'s

Review :
How many of us have read Mahabharata (excuse me elders, the question was intended for the teenagers and people in twenties) - guess, not many of us. No shame in that - I tried reading bible, trust me I couldn't read it. Truthfully, its not even our age to bury ourselves in religious scriptures - well that was what I thought, till I came across this author and his beautifully written books.
This wasn't my first book and it wasn't the last either. This book was recommended to me by my sister-in-law, who by the way, is 5 years younger to me about an year ago(the reason I mentioned the age difference was to point out how teenagers are finding the book interesting too).

Well, Dr. Devdutt's writing style is so different, that you will get hooked to the book. He doesn't narrate it like a religious scripture, but breaks down the story into smaller anecdotes and passages. What's even more interesting is, he adds his own perceptions and his own ideas at the end of each chapter that makes it an ever more interesting read. 

People who have read Mahabharata, the original religious scripture i.e., even they will find some new and interesting bits in this retelling. I read the book and then I asked my mom to read it and trust me, she found it interesting too - and she found something new in there too.
As if, this wasn't an inspiration enough to pick up a copy - reading these books and later discussing them leads to some real awesome discussions and chats.

And to add to the fun, pick up Ajaya (by Anand Neelakantan) before or after reading this one and you would really have some food for thought.
So, here's to hoping, these books would get a chance...

Happy Reading!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Personal Musings : Materialism

Most of us, whether we accept it or not are materialistic, true the degrees vary - but how many of us can really accept our materialistic natures? Live with this fact? Or maybe try to keep it under check, curb it?
I am one hell of a materialistic person, and though it's not something to be proud of, I'm happy that I can at least accept it unlike most of the people. But is accepting enough? Shouldn't I be doing something about it? Can I even do something about it when it is a part of my nature, a part of who I'm?
But then again, what I'm most materialistic about is books - yes I'm a book hoarder. So how bad can materialism in my case be, if it's about books? How can surrounding oneself with books be a bad thing? 
I collect books - collector's editions, box sets, hardbound illustrated editions etc. etc... but I also read them - I have at least one suggestion for almost all the genres though I definitely haven't read all the authors - so there is scope for me to still be materialistic and hoard more books. So how bad is my materialism?
But then I also like to own latest gadgets (not that I always do our have everything - a laptop, a mobile, a decent pair of earphones - that's where my gadget list ends), have a cupboard full of clothes and 6 to 7 good pairs of shoes - but aren't those like basic necessities. Will owning these things make me materialistic?
True I may desire a lot more, my amazon wish lists would be a living proof of that - but I also know the difference between 'want' and 'need' and I have the strength to walk out of a store empty handed. I would call that an achievement - to have that much self-control when I'm materialistic.
Having said that, I also know that I'm neither reasonable nor that strong when it comes to books. Walking out empty handed from a bookstore is near impossible for me or spending humongous amounts on buying books is not beyond me... it won't be wrong to say, I'm obsessed when it comes to books.
And this eventually leads me to the internal debate with myself, how is being materialistic about books bad, for isn't it good to surround oneself with books? A debate, neither side of me will ever win - and thus I tuck it away in one corner of my big head and go on giving in to my temptations and buying books. And when I have the time to rattle my brain, in moments like these, these thoughts come rushing back to me where I once again never reach a conclusion - and this becomes an ongoing vicious cycle...

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Recipe : Kurkuri Arbi

Arbi... one of the humble vegetables, I loved eating it, but never dared to cook it. Reason was simple - the whole exercise of washing them, drying them, peeling them and cutting them like my mom, was too much of a task - it was time consuming and difficult. 
But then, I learnt a new way of cooking this humble vegetable post marriage from my mum-in-law. Not only, it was the easiest recipe but at the same time, it was even more delicious - made using most basic of ingredients.
Here's my mum-in-laws super simple recipe...


Difficulty Level : ☆
Time Required : 
          Preparation - 30 minutes
          Cooking - 30 minutes


INGREDIENTS:
Arbi 500 gms
Oil 2 and 1/2 tbsp
Ajwain 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida (Hing) 1/4 tsp
Salt To Taste (I used 1 and 1/2 tsp)
Red Chili Powder 1/2 tsp
Haldi 1/4 tsp
Dhaniya Powder 1 tsp
Coriander for garnishing

PROCEDURE:

1. Boil arbi. Let it cool and peel the arbi (this is the most easiest way of peeling arbi).
2. Cut it into pieces.
3. Take oil in a wok and let it heat.
4. Add ajwain and let it splutter.
5. Add remaining spices and mix.
6. Add arbi to the wok. Mix it well.
7. Cook on slow heat till its golden brown and crispy. Mix occasionally.
8. Transfer to serving bowl, garnish with coriander and serve hot.




ADDITIONAL NOTEWORTHY POINTS:
1. Keep the pieces big in size about 1 inch by 1 inch.
2. When leaving on slow heat to cook, spread the arbi across the wok so that it cooks evenly.

Cook with Love...

Friday, January 22, 2016

Nerdy Talk : Reading Challenges

So I thought, I will shed some more light on the reading challenges I have undertaken for the year. Like I mentioned in my previous nerdy talk post that I have taken up 3 challenges which are sort of interrelated in the sense that one challenge complements another and so they sort of overlap each other - let me discuss them in detail...

Goodreads Challenge :
40 books | current status : 3/40
It's s simple challenge, where you just set a target to read a certain number of books in the given year. Last year I had set myself to read 30 books, I managed 43. This year I have decided on 40 books which coincides with my PopSugar Reading Challenge.
The picture on the right is my summary from Goodreads for the year 2015 --->





PopSugar Reading Challenge :
40+1 books | current status : 2/41
This is the first time I have taken up a challenge like this. Basically PopSugar has provided with 40 different categories without specifying the book, which you are supposed to cover in the span of the year. I'm using this challenge to diversify my Goodreads Reading Challenge as well as put a dent in my TBR pile by including as many books as I can fit under various categories listed.
Right below is my book list that I'm using for various categories of the challenge.
I have checked off two categories in the list (marked in bold) and I'm still undecided of the books for some categories (marked in bold and italics)
  1. A book based on a fairy tale ---《The Lunar Chronicles : Cinder (Marissa Meyer)》
  2. A National Book Award Winner --- 《Salvage the Bones (Jesmyn Ward)》
  3. A YA bestseller --- 《The Lunar Chronicles : Scarlet (Marissa Meyer)》
  4. A book you haven’t read since high school --- 《Lolita》
  5. A book set in your state --- 《Delhi : a novel (Khushwant Singh)》
  6. A book translated to English --- 《The Girl In The Spider’s Web (David Lagercrantz)》
  7. A romance set in the future --- 《》
  8. A book set in Europe --- 《Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy)》
  9. A book that’s under 150 pages --- 《Hogwarts Library : Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (J K Rowling)》
  10. A New York Times bestseller --- 《Hopeless (Colleen Hoover)》
  11. A book that’s becoming a movie this year --- 《Allegiant (Veronica Roth)》
  12. A book recommended by someone you just met --- 《Burial Rites (Hannah Kent)》
  13. A self improvement book --- 《Ramayana - The Game of Life : Stolen Hope (Book 3) (Shubha Vilas)》
  14. A book you can finish in a day --- 《Hogwarts Library : Tales of Beedle and Bard (J K Rowling)》
  15. A book written by a celebrity --- 《Mrs. Funnybones (Twinkle Khanna)》
  16. A political memoir --- 《Mein Kampf (Adolf Hitler)》
  17. A book at least 100 years older than you --- 《Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)》
  18. A book that’s more than 600 pages --- 《》
  19. A book from Oprah’s Book Club --- 《Love In The Time Of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez》
  20. A science fiction novel --- 《Gone Series – Lies (Michael Grant)》
  21. A book recommended by a family member --- 《Swiss Family Robinson (Johann David Wyss)》
  22. A graphic novel --- 《》
  23. A book published in 2016 --- 《Cometh The Hour (Jeffrey Archer)》
  24. A book with a protagonist who has your profession --- 《Where Did You Go, Bernadette (Maria Semple)》
  25. A book that takes place during summer --- 《A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare)》
  26. A book and its prequel --- 《Divergent Series - Four (Veronica Roth)》《Divergent Series - Divergent (Veronica Roth)》 
  27. A murder mystery --- 《The Girl On The Train (Paula Hawkins)》
  28. A book written by a comedian --- 《My Horizontal Life (Chelsea Handler)》
  29. A dystopian novel --- 《Divergent Series – Insurgent (Veronica Roth)》
  30. A book with a blue cover --- 《Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights (Salman Rushdie)
  31. A book of poetry --- 《Twenty Love Poems : And A Song of Despair (Pablo Neruda)》
  32. The first book you see in a bookstore --- 《Dumplin》
  33. A classic from 20th century --- 《Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)》
  34. A book from the library --- 《Shadow of the Moon (M. M. Kaye)》
  35. An autobiography --- 《》
  36. A book about a road trip --- 《All The Bright Places (Jennifer Niven)
  37. A book about culture you are unfamiliar with --- 《Pavilion Of Women (Pearl S. Buck)
  38. A satirical book --- 《Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
  39. A book that takes place on an island --- 《Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe)
  40. A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy --- 《Gone Series – Light (Michael Grant)
I will of course return to this post from time to time when I have decided on another book to fit an earlier empty category. 


A to Z Reading Challenge :
26 books | current status : 1/26
This is another simple challenge wherein you read books that have their titles and/or author names starting with each letter of the alphabet - so 26 letters - 26 books
As for my part of the challenge, my first preference would be for the book title and if I am unable to read a book starting with a particular letter, then I would consider a book I have read by an author name starting with that particular letter
As of today, I have managed to check of the letter(s):

H : High Heels (A. V. Scott)

I can consider the two books:
> The Girl in the Spider's Web
> The Girl on the train
for letter 'G' but I am putting that on hold because of the word 'The' at the beginning, if by the end of the year I cant fill up a G spot, then these two can fill up that spot.
I will be using this strategy for all my future reads where a/an/the would appear in title.

That's all from my side, what reading challenges have you taken up - do leave a comment...
Ciao Fellow Nerds!