Wednesday, August 30, 2017

PERSONAL MUSINGS : FROM MY BEDROOM TO THE KITCHEN

No, no, no… I am no chef, just an ordinary girl who likes experimenting in the kitchen. But before I started experimenting, I had my experiences in the kitchen – seeing mom make the cake or the naankhatais in the oven, helping her with the preparation of the batter or how I would stand awed as my daadi made rotis in the tandoor… but I never tried making anything in the kitchen for a very long time.
In fact, my first experiments in the kitchen started much later and my first experiments were a thanks to school assignment in 8th standard – we had to write about two things we tried during the summer break, one where we succeeded and one where we failed. My mom asked me to write about making tea as my success story and kneading dough as my failure story – of course, before writing I had to actually try doing those things too.
Interestingly, kneading dough, which is actually a difficult task was my successful task as for making tea, well mom took a cup, pointed to the two-third line and said – this much water and then pointed one third line (at the top of the cup) and said, this much milk – no prizes for guessing how much water and how much milk I had put in that cup of tea.
But then, after that, I never went into the kitchen again till I got married and moved to Pune with my husband. Initially it was all about basic cooking, which I was, surprisingly good at. But then, as a photography enthusiast I stumbled upon the niche of food photography. Now that was something fun and interesting and thus began my experiments with cooking.
Because of the busy lives and long working hours, we couldn’t go out to dine very often – which meant I had to cook and present food beautifully and then click it. And thus, began my experiments – I would learn new dishes from mom and mom-in-law, scour net for recipes and then sometimes add my special touch to the recipes. Even the basic daal-sabzi would be well presented just so I could click a picture of the dish.
Another contributor were the parties we had at our place – at the end of each semester, my classmates would turn up at my place for a semester end party, which meant cooking for 10 people and then some hostel-ites would just drop by for some ghar ka khana.
Slowly but steadily, the cooking improved and so did the photography – and had it not been for the photography, maybe I would never have started experimenting with newer dishes and ventured into unknown avenues. But then again, it was probably inherent too – for even though my mom also cooked only what she knew and hardly experimented, the food has always been delish.
And that is how my experiments in the kitchen and this journey with food began because after all, good food feeds the soul.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Book Review : Release

Book Title : Release
Author : Patrick Ness
Genre : Young Adult, General Fiction
ISBN : 9781406377279
Publisher : Walker Books
Publication : May 2017
Pages : 287
Binding : Paperback


Plot :
Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume's Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It's a big day. Things go wrong. It's intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches...

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It's a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won't come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.


My Rating : 3 ☆'s


Review :
Release was my first ever from the author and having heard such great things about Patrick Ness, I was excited to read the book - but I was careful enough to not have much expectations.

I won't go to the length of saying that the book disappointed me, but for me, it did lack the punch. The book started off well and had me in its grip. I especially looked forward to the parts where the spirit's journey was described. But then it felt as if suddenly the story had stopped moving forward or that the author was just trying to drag the story on so that it becomes a novel instead of a short story. Until it is moving again and then it had me in its grip again till the very end. But the end lacked the true definition of "release" for me.
All of this is what I thought about the book till I read *Malvika's Review*. Her review made me see the book in a different light and helped me appreciate the finer things that the author was trying to point our attention to in a subtle manner.
Malvika's review reminded me that the book spans a day in the life of our protagonist Adam Thorn. But it also spans the day in the life of the dead girl in form of her rebirth through queen spirit. They both awaken each other and help the other achieve release. But what needs appreciating is the fact that all the characters in the book found their release throughout the course of the book.
Release is...
For a brother to accept his brother as he is and realise his love for him
For a father to come to terms with the fact that he can't turn a blind eye to what his children truly are
For Adam to realise what love really is and who truly loves him
For the spirit to realise vengeance has only trapped it further and only kindness can release her

But more than anything, the book makes you realise, very subtly indeed, that it's okay to hope and that it's okay to dream.

Happy Reading!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Review : Charlotte

Book Title : Charlotte
Author : David Foenkinos
Genre : Biography (Retelling)
ISBN : 9781782117940
Publisher : Canongate
Publication : 2017
Pages : 224
Binding : Hardback


Plot :
Charlotte Salomon is born into a family stricken by suicide and a country at war - but there is something exceptional about her. She has a gift, a talent for painting. And she has a great love, for a brilliant, eccentric musician.

But just as she is coming in to her own as an artist, death is coming to control her country. The Nazis have come to power and, a Jew in Berlin, her life is narrowing - she is kept from her art, torn from her love and her family, chased from her country. And still she is not safe, not from the madness that has hunted her family, or the one gripping Europe . . .

My Rating : 5 ☆'s


Review :
Charlotte is not just a Jewish girl, she is not just an artist either - Charlotte is an obsession! Her story is laced with melancholy but that depression is addictive - its gripping. This depression becomes your obsession.
It is not a fiction but a reconstructed retelling of a biography. The original work itself was written and depicted in a unique style - through texts, sketches and music. The author here had adopted the prose format - and there is everything in that format, from his wanderings to conversations between characters to scene descriptions to internal conversations.
Biographies, normally written like an essay seem repetitive and difficult to read, but this style of writing has actually made the book an easy and fast read. There is no rhyme or rythm but the writing is powerful and the writing style is impact-full.
Set amidst the German Nazi war, touching upon the horrors that were let loose on the Jews as well as the curse that the Salomon family had looming over their heads - each one of them killing themself and that too in a similar fashion... the story just grips you, it is addictive and it engulfs you.
At the end, you are left to wonder, how can tragedy strike a person in such a brutal manner and so many times - normally at such instances, I'm left with tears in my eyes. But this book left me shaking and shivering to the core. And the obsession had hit me too.
It was a classic read and a complete page turner that got better page after page.



Happy Reading!