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Saturday, 13 February 2016

Color Me Rich 
Mohan Deep


A sensitive love story of a handsome and talented struggling painter Akash Saigal. What happens when he marries an extremely rich and beautiful artist and art investor Zenobia Taraporevala?

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Prologue ( A teaser)

J J School of Art, Mumbai.
Taking a charcoal pencil, Akash Saigal started drawing the wood-and-stone structure, popularly known as „Kipling Bungalow‟. He was sketching sitting on a bench on which, in another era, K K Hebbar, M F Husain, Syed Haider Raza, Sadanand Bakre, V S Gaitonde, even Dadasaheb Phalke had sat with their sketchbooks, sketching the house where the author of The Jungle Book was born.
Ganpat Gupte appeared along with two of his gang. Gupte was the nephew of a minister, or so he claimed, and had the arrogance that comes with power. 
“Ae Akash, kae karto?”
Akash looked up at the trio and said, “Nothing much. Just a drawing.
“Okay. What is the day today?”
“I should have known.Tere ko blue shirt hai na?”
Akash didn‟t get the connection, but Gupte‟s chamchas laughed knowingly.
The three boys sang in unison, “Monday, blue shirt. Tuesday, black shirt. Wednesday, blue shirt. Thursday black shirt. Friday, blue shirt. Saturday, black shirt. Sunday...laundry!”
If Akash was hurt, he didn‟t show it. He laughed sheepishly and continued sketching the bungalow.
But he would never forget this.

About the Author 

Mohan Deep, is an Indian author, painter and Feng Shui Master. Mohan Deep is the author of ‘The Mystery and Mystique of Madhubala’ (1996), ‘It’s My Life’ (Novel) (1997), ‘Simply Scandalous: Meena Kumari’ (1998), ‘Eurekha!’ – an unauthorized biography of Rekha. (1999), ‘Four Options’ (2000), ‘Feng Shui for the Bold & Beautiful, the Rich and Famous’ (2001) and ‘Nehru and the Tantrik Woman’ (2002). After a sabbatical of a decade, during which he touched upon the lifves of people as a Feng Shui Master, he is back with The Five Foolish Virgins, a book of fiction, to be launched in April 2013. Mohan Deep is arguably the only Indian author to write what is often described as controversial, unauthorized star biographies in India. Columnist-journalist and former editor of 'Illustrated Weekly of India', Khushwant Singh called him 'a truly gifted gossip writer'. “The maverick writer”, like columnist-reviewer-poetess Tara Patel described him has also been called William Goldman of Bollywood’s stars (By Behram Contractor, the Editor of Afternoon Despatch & Courier) (Source) Kitty Kelly of India (By R K Bajaj, the Editor of ‘The Daily’). Interestingly, almost every book he has wrote/penned has invited controversies for its bold content.


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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Sands Of Time 
Neelam Saxena Chandra

'SANDS OF TIME' is a collection of twelve interesting stories which bring out the different moods and moments in the lives of women.
Watch it 

Some Facts About the Author 

NeelamSaxena Chandra, an author of thirty-two books,is a record holder with the Limca Book of Records for being the author with highest number of publications in a year in English and Hindi (2015). She works as Joint Secretary (U.P.S.C.).  She has won award in a poetry contest by American Embassy, Premchand award by Ministry of Railways, Rabindranath Tagore international poetry award, Freedom award by Radio city for her lyrics. She was listed in the Forbes list as one of the most popular seventy eight authors in the country in 2014.

Awarded by eminent poet/lyricist Gulzarji in a Poetry Contest organized by American Society on the topic ‘Poetry for Social Change’.

Received the Rabindranath Tagore International poetry award -2014

Awarded PremchandPuraskar by Ministry of Railways (II prize)

Awarded by Children Book Trust, India in 2009.

Neelam also debuted as a lyricist in Shankar Tucker's composition 'Mere Sajan sun sun' and the song has won the 'Popular Choice' award  in Folk Fusion category in Radio City Freedom Awards.

Neelam is a record holder with Limca Book of records for highest publications in a year in English and Hindi.

Neelam and her daughter hold record for being the first mother-daughter duo to write a poetry book for the book 'Winter Shall Fade' in Limca Book of Records, Miracle World Records and India Book of records.



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We leave you with a wonderful song penned by Neelam Saxena Chandra

Monday, 8 February 2016

Voyagers Into the Unknown 
Ruchira Khanna

In the historic Indian town of Agra, you can find a very unusual tour company, which is owned by a charming young man named Raj. Although Raj's official job is to show off the historical landmarks of Agra, including the legendary Taj-Mahal, his true mission is to heal the souls of his broken "birds," as he affectionately refers to his tour participants. His business operates purely upon word-of-mouth referrals, ensuring that all of his tour members arrive in Agra with their hearts in their hands, ready for the spiritual growth and cleansing that Raj is known to provide. Healing the hearts of the spiritually damaged can be a difficult job, and in this particular tale, Raj finds himself faced with his most challenging tour group yet. First, there is Ira, a stunningly gorgeous but fragile young woman on the brink of suicide. Next, we meet Darci and Lennard, a couple on the verge of divorce. Then there is Carl, an irritable, antisocial workaholic who has burned all of his bridges. Lastly, we meet Asha, an elderly widow who still yearns for the company and comfort of her late husband. When disaster strikes the tour group, everything is thrown into jeopardy, including lives, relationships, and Raj's very reputation as a tour guide. Raj must find a way to lift the spirits of these five special travelers, even in the face of death and despair. Venture into the unknown and discover how Raj Touristry heals the brokenhearted, one soul at a time.

Dawn had risen over the historic Indian town of Agra. Agra was a city of monuments, which stood tall, their unmatched grandeur telling of their long and fascinating history. The morning air was filled with the sounds of roosters calling, birds chirping, and morning prayers and salutations. Dogs and cows were being hustled through the streets and errand boys on bicycles hurried along to their respective chores and deliveries.

Amidst this vibrant chaos, a man in his late thirties with an athletic physique, broad shoulders, and unkempt black hair was briefing his colleague in a quiet, affable tone. He held a bunch of papers in his hand, and the other man nodded obediently as he glanced through them, making notes on the pad in his hands. “So, are you all set?” inquired Raj, the black-haired man.

“I think so,” replied the other man confidently, as he took his seat behind the wheel of a mini-bus.

“Call me if you have any questions, Albert. You know where to reach me,” added Raj as he shut the door of the driver’s seat, giving his driver two thumbs up. Albert started the engine quickly and began to roll away from the curb. He was abruptly halted by a sharp knock on the door of the vehicle. The driver slammed on the brakes and looked to see who was doing the hammering. Raj reappeared on the other side of the glass with blank boards and a sharpie. Albert opened the door and reached out for the additional items. “Write the names of my birds on these planks. It will be easier for them to spot you,” explained Raj.

“Birds?” inquired Albert with a confused expression.

“Sure, Birds. Since they will fly back to where they are coming from in a week’s time.”

“Aha! Yes, boss!” Albert winked and started his journey.

About The Author 

A Reiki Master where she passes out information about channeling universal energy and conducts sessions. The author of “Choices”, “The Adventures of Alex and Angelo” but just another soul trying to make a difference in this lifetime.

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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Author: Ishani Malhotra
Published by: Harlequin India
ISBN: 978-93-5106-796-2
Genre: Fiction, Romance
No. of pages: 205
Price: INR 250 (Paperback)

On the jacket: Alisha Chopra is a drop-dead gorgeous, smart and happily in love with Mayukh. Life is good for a girl in her early twenties: movies, parties, outings. But all of it comes crashing down when Mayukh tells her that he needs a break from the relationship.

Just when Alisha is trying to piece her life together - broken heart, pulled spinal muscle and all - along comes the rich, handsome and charming doctor Dishant Roy. He is exactly what she needs, everything she had dreamt of. Only, he has a fiancee. 

Should Alisha tell Dishant that she loves him? Will he love her back? Can she live through another heartbreak? Should she fight for Dishant, the man of her dream? Or just remain friends for life.

Review: Reading books from new and first time authors always give me an encouragement to write one. Well, that's a different story altogether. But, coming back to the book 'Until I Met You', it led me through a feeling of bonding which exists between two set of people. One of them is a bond of friendship and the other one is a bond of love. This clearly shows how the author has brought up this subject without even directly touching upon it. In fact, the author chooses to concentrate only on the love story as a prime plot.

The story is an easy read as I finished it in one go on a Sunday afternoon. Armed with a cup of tea, I finished the cup in less than a couple of hours and it left me with a smile on my face. A smile indicating the contentment of reading a good romance story as well as a happy ending.

The story is extremely well narrated revolving around Alisha's life. Some of the portions involving Alisha and her best friend, Aditi are pure fun which takes you back to the memory lane of college days. Yes, those where the days when almost all of us had most fun, crushes and were in awe of some professors too! 

Coming to the characters, they are vividly written and are served fresh on the table. The more you start flipping the pages of the book, the more you will fall in love with them. At least, I did, especially the central characters of Alisha and Dishant.

There isn't any proof reading errors and the story is nicely edited too. 

Overall: If you want to read a light romance with a good story told like a pro, 'Until I Met You' is the book to be read. Go for it!

Ratings: 3.5/5*

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Presenting a Guest Post by Indrani who shares her travel stories and pictures through her blog isharethese.com. Do read the blog and drop a comment below. Thank you so much for such a lovely Guest Post, Indrani !

When I first saw locked locks on railings of Ponte dei Scalzi, one of the bridges over Grand Canal of Venice, I was a little perplexed. No sigh of any keys around. In India I have seen bangles or cradles being tied to branches of trees, that too in temple premises. That was in 2010, I was a little less traveled then. Little bit of search in Google and I was flooded with information on these locks.

They are no ordinary locks; they are Love Lock or Love Padlock. Couples in love, lock them to a public object, most often a bridge, and throw the key into water. It is believed that this act symbolizes their love which will never end. Obviously if one can’t find the key, the lock can’t be unlocked.

Love Locks by Indrani

What might have started as a simple innocent loving act has gained popularity and grown in huge proportion in the last twenty years! While to a tourist or passerby this may look amusing or uninteresting, for the city authorities it has become a nightmare. They consider it as litter, vandalism causing damage to public property. If you look at the mathematics of these acts you will be convinced why these acts need to be checked.

The weight of love locks on the pedestrian bridge of Paris had crossed 93 metric tones. Obviously when the bridge was designed it did not cater to this increasing weight over the years. Part of the structure that held the locks collapsed under this increasing weight. Officials then started removing the locks from the bridge to avoid further damage. Since June 2015 the metal grills have been replaced with lock proof plexi glass panels.

There has been mixed reaction to this. While some are of opinion public utility objects should be spared of such symbols of love, there are some who mourn over the removal of these icons. There have been demands and requests for putting them up in museums as its part of the romance of Paris.

A collective effect of these is causing damage but they can be removed at regular intervals. In my opinion these removable love locks is way better than defacing monuments by scratching and scribbling on them! What is your opinion?

Thursday, 21 January 2016


Soul Warrior: Age of Kali 

Falguni Kothari


Fight fate, or succumb to destiny? 
In the dark Age of Kali, the Soul Warrior alone stands guard over the Human Realm, protecting its denizens from evil-willed asuras or demons. When a trick of fate appoints him guru to a motley crew of godlings, he agrees to train them as demon hunters against his better judgment. Suddenly, Lord Karna is not only battling the usual asuras with sinister agendas, but also rebellious students and a fault-ridden past. 

Spanning the cosmic realms of mythic India, here is a tale of a band of supernatural warriors who come together over a singular purpose: the salvation of Karna’s secret child. 

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Kuru Kshetra Battlefield. 

Day 17 of the Great Kuru War, seven thousand five hundred years ago.

Death is hot. 

That surprises me. I’d imagined death as cold and brutal. Merciless. But in truth, death is hot as blood, and constant like a heartbeat. 

Thrum. Thrum. Thrum. My lifeblood ebbs to the rhythm. My head ripped from its torso by Anjalika, the arrow of death that burns even now with the energy of the sun. Struck from behind like some novice. Felled in battle by that lily-livered usurper the Heavens smile upon—Prince Arjun. Brother Arjun. 

What have I done? I harness the thought. Cease all reflection and wrench free of my mortal body. I soar up, up into the gloaming, snapping the ties that tether me to life. Dead, I have no use for ties. 

“A matter of perspective, Karna, O son of my godsire.” The unearthly words strum through the air, and I quiver like a plucked bowstring, overcome as much by the voice as its blasphemous claim. “Bonds of devotion nourish the soul, brother.” 

There is that word again. Brother. Unpleasant laughter wells up in me. Alive, I am abandoned, denied my birthright—Celestial or royal. Death, it seems, changes everything. 

A bright, nebulous light brings forth Lord Yama, the God of Death, atop his divine mount. His elephantine thighs ripple beneath a silken dhoti, ochre and crimson of color, as he guides the mammoth water buffalo to a halt. An iron medallion sways against the God’s powerful cerulean torso, its center stone an ethereal blood orange. 

Hypnotic. Pulsing with life. I am drawn to the stone. 

“Piteous waste,” Lord Yama mutters, surveying the carnage of war far below us. 

I trace the trajectory of his gaze and behold the battered remains of my army drenched in the evidence of its mortality. Is it true? Have we died in vain? 

Words form inside me and I will them out. “Shall we go, my lord?”

 “Ha! Impatient to be judged, are you? Anxious to have your fate revealed?” asks the Judge of the Hell Realm. His red-black eyes burn with intelligence and compassion in a blue-tinged face that is long and lean and hard. “Rest easy, brother-warrior. You are not bound for the Great Courtroom.” 

Not bound for Hell? Where then? Fear has eluded me for so long that I take a moment to recognize it. A hollow-bellied feeling it is, as annoying as a bone stuck in my throat. 

“My lord, I have done bad deeds…terrible deeds in my life. I have waged wars, this horrendous bloodshed, and all because my pride could not—would not abide rejection. I have sinned. I must atone for my actions.”

Lord Yama smiles in a way I do not like. “You have redeemed yourself admirably, Karna. You forfeited your life for the greater good today. The deed far outweighs any misguided ones. Be at peace, brother, and enjoy the fruits of your karma.” 

There is but one place to enjoy such fruits—the Higher Worlds. 

I’d rather burn in Hell for eternity. I say so. “I won’t live amongst the Celestials.” Coexisting with the very souls who’ve spurned me is unthinkable. Watching her—for she would surely reside in Heaven soon—will be eternal torture. 

Yama shakes his head, the horns on his crown slashing to and fro. “I thought you might say that. Relax. Your destiny lies elsewhere.”

 “Am I to be reborn then? Am I to begin a new life, and forget the past?” Pain, sharp as a blade, lances through me at the thought. Forget my past? My family? Even her? Was that my punishment? To forget all that made me human? It must be so. For have I not betrayed them as surely as I’ve betrayed my prince regent? 

“Human rebirth is not your destiny, either. You are chosen, brother. Your war skills are needed for a higher purpose.” The God slips off his mount, his garments rustling in agitation. “This unjust war has pushed the Cosmos to the vortex of a cataclysm. Tomorrow, the Kuru War will end. Fearing its outcome, the Celestials rolled the Die of Fate and have unwittingly bestowed on Demon Kali untold powers.” Lord Yama bares his fangs in disgust at the foolish gamble. “Imagine the havoc that asura and his minions will wreak on the weak if left unchecked. The Human Realm must be safeguarded during Kali’s dark reign.”

 I can imagine the horror only too well as I have battled with evil all my life. But I am done with wars. I am done with defeat. I won’t waste another lifetime fighting. 

“With due respect, my lord, I am not the man for this task.”

 “You are not a man at all,” Yama thunders, fists shaking. “You are the son of Surya, the Sun God. Accept that you are no ordinary soul.”

 I say nothing. I think nothing. I feel something but I squash it down. 

Lord Yama’s thick black brows draw together. “Demon Kali will try to pervade every particle of good that exists in the Cosmos, beginning with the corruptible Human Realm. Once he obliterates all of humanity, he’ll set his sights on the Celestials. Kali will not stop until he’s destroyed our way of life. But you can stop him. You are light to his darkness. Do you understand now why you had to betray him? Your beloved humans need you, Karna. I need you. Our father believes in you. Claim your rightful place in the Cosmos.”

 Impatiently, Lord Yama removes the iron medallion from his neck and holds it out. The vermillion sunstone glows as if its soul is on fire. Nay! It is my soul that is on fire. 
Indescribable energy curls through me. I gasp, though not in pain. I shudder and feel myself grow large, grow hot. Was this rebirth? 

I am strong, full-bodied and lethal once more. Then I roar as light bursts forth from my very core and I throb with glorious, blinding power. When I come to myself, my world has changed again. Bubbles of color shimmer all around me: cobalt and saffron, azure and rose. By karma! They are souls. Infinite floating souls.

“Behold the spectrum of life: the worthy, the notorious, the righteous and the sinners.” The God of Death’s soul was a worthy sapphire blue with a tinge of silver. “Your duty, should you choose to accept the office of the Soul Warrior, is to hunt down the red-souled asuras and crush them. Whatever you decide, I wish you a long and successful Celestial existence, Karna,” Yama booms out and vanishes into the purpling sky.

The parley has stunned me. The world of color holds me in thrall. I was dead. Yet, now I am not. A new path lies before me. Unwanted, unwelcome, I insist on principle. I close my eyes. Open them to stare at the medallion cupped in my hand—a golden-hued hand at once familiar and not—and know myself for a fool. I do want this. It’s what I am. 

Bastard-born. Rebel. Son. Husband. Father. Warlord. And protector. I fist the talisman, buoyed by its concrete warmth. This is who I am. 

I am the Soul Warrior.

About the Author  
Falguni Kothari is a New York-based hybrid author, and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful and cultural threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. She is published in India in contemporary fiction with global e-book availability, and launches her mythic fantasy series, the Age of Kali, with SOUL WARRIOR. When not writing, dancing or being a domestic goddess, she fools around on all manner of social media, and loves to connect with readers.

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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Few days back, I just happen to switch from one TV channel to another. While flipping through the channels, one interesting thing caught my attention. That interesting thing then further lead to me to watch the entire program. That program was on CNN IBN with the title 'The Hot Seat' and it was none other with the Most Searched Person on Google for the year 2015 - Sunny Leone.

After viewing the entire interview, I was left disappointed with the way in which the questions were asked. Mind you, the interviewer is a highly experienced and a seasoned journalist who goes by the name Mr. Bhupendra Choubey and I won’t be wrong if I term him misogynist while conducting the interview.

At first, the way in which he introduced to the interviewee with the use of contradicting words such as loved and loathe, curiosity and hatred and as completely opposite of what we perceive as the idea of an Indian women, made me cringe. No! You cannot introduce a person like this, how much ever you feel the person to be controversial. A simple few words praising her journey in Bollywood would have be perfect. But now, what better then to sensationalize it with the use of such words? Right?

Anyways, I thought that as the interview would start and questions would flow, I would get to see some questions on her movies, the projects that interest her; basic questions like favourite actor and actresses whom she would like to work with in future, about her journey in Bollywood and more about her upcoming film Mastizaade. But, but, but... if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. 

So, he started the interview by addressing her with her actual name and went into asking who calls her by that name. Seriously? Why would anybody want to know that?! Have you ever asked Akshay Kumar what's his actual name and who calls him by that name ever? 

Then, he says he 'researched' and read some articles. I thought that would be of her films she has done, but no, I was wrong again. 

Now tell me, if you are interviewing a person, will you straightaway, in the second question itself, ask for a thing that you regret?  You would have probably asked something which will be positive in nature and keep that question at the latter stage of the interview. This is a text book case of how NOT preparing the questionnaire beforehand leads you to. Moreover, to add to it, he further asks categorically, 'what sort of mistakes' to her reply. At this time, he seemed hell bent in bringing her past in, that of a porn star. It was highly disgusting, to say the least.

He continued with his tyranny of asking negative questions which revolved around people not comfortable sharing screen space with her.

By now, the way he was anchoring the ship towards her past and not willing to ask any questions on her present and future in Bollywood was evident. But Sunny stood ground against him and answered each and every question thrown at her with grace. However, he was hell bent in bringing her past to the hot seat.

So he took this maxim of 'when ghee seedhi ungli se na nikle, to ungli teedhi kar lo' seriously. When he couldn't bring Sunny Leone talk about her past as a porn star, he chose to be blunt and direct.

Here are a few of the questions that he asked:

1)  Are you worried that your past as a porn queen will affect, haunt you or continue to pull you back?

2) Is your past, a past?

3) Would you still do what you did?

4) How many people will think of growing up as a porn star?

5) How it did happen? (Yes, he asked this.)

Then there were questions on corrupting Indian mind, morality, politics and politicians view about her and housewives women perceiving her as a threat. Gosh! 

After he felt that he has grilled Sunny by asking such questions and receiving a direct and a straight forward reply, he chose to ask the main question, on her upcoming film. But, only a question. Yeah. Just a question on a film which is releasing this Friday and for which she he is giving an interview; to obviously promote her film. 

At one point of time he even says that, 'when people see Sunny Leone film, people get corrupted.' He continues further, 'I am wondering whether I am getting morally corrupted seating in front of you.' Yes, he had the guts to say this directly on her face. I don't know how would she had felt but she took it at her stride and politely said that if that is the case, she would be pleased to leave.

Again, a deviation here when he asks what kind of movies she will be associated this year. To which she replies that there are three films releasing this year and in one of them she will be seen in a different role. To which he asks, different role like completely dressed and COVERED up. I really fail to understand what was he smoking while conducting this interview. Once she has mentioned clearly about the role, there shouldn't be any need to prod further by choosing such words. 

Thank God, the torture ended finally both for the viewers and for Sunny Leone too. I am pretty happy with the way in which she has handled this television anchor with grace, dignity and for once not even backing off to reply to a single question. Bravo! I guess you have probably won many hearts with this interview.

You can watch the entire interview here...