Friday, 24 April 2015

Excited mein rehta
Excited mein kehta
Get. Set. Bolt !!


Yes! Excited as a word is just a tip of an iceberg, when it came to the excitement levels on 19th April, 2015, where I was about to get my hands on the new Tata Bolt.

Captain Asleep: Is there a Tomatino festival here? 
Captain Bolt: No, you idiot, wake up! It is me, Tata Bolt. Wait! Stop staring at me as if I am your wife!



The venue, Cafe Infinito, at BKC was full of excited bloggers, chirping, laughing, clicking selfies and doing what people usually on a Sunday morning do, relaxing. I noticed that I was in for some special treat, as I walked towards my table, directed by none other than 'the most energetic smile I've ever seen on a Sunday morning that too at 8 am'. Don't ask who. She knows it!

Captain Asleep: Wondering, how can one be so pumped up on an early Sunday morning?

I met my fellow team mates, Vishal and Monish pretty soon and we got started with the introductions after having an excellent breakfast. It is from the introductions, that all the fun began.

Having asked to introduce ourselves creatively, Vishal came up with a unique idea of introducing us through dumb charades.

Captain Stage Phobia: Thank God, Vishal agreed to introduce us! Else, I would have definitely grabbed 'The Most Lame Introductions Ever' Award at WIN' 15. 



We finished the introductions in a grand style with (if I am not wrong) one of the best introductions ever, as majority of the bloggers out there had a fun time guessing what Vishal was prompting.

After the introductions, we were being presented with a presentation about the details of the car, the design and almost everything that can be put up, in say 30 minutes. Almost, all the bloggers managed to keep their eyes open all the while.

Captain Asleep: They had to as nobody wants a 'Sunday Morning Sleepy Face' to be clicked and uploaded.

After a much needed short break, the bloggers were fresh and ready to hit the roads on the new Tata Bolt, for which, we were divided into 8 teams, four driving the petrol variant first and four driving the diesel variant first. Ours was team D3, meaning we had to drive a diesel variant of the new Tata Bolt and Vishal, being generous enough allowed me to drive first. 

Captain Now Awake: Thank you Monish for declaring about your driving skills to us. (Else, tightens the fists and stares...) I truly like you for that! 

After waiting for almost 20 minutes for the rest of the A, B and C teams to flag off their drives towards Lonavala, finally it was our turn to set out on a wonderful and memorable journey in the new Tata Bolt.



Let me at the outset make it clear that my opinion of the car will be that of a ‘user’ and not technical.

The exterior was pretty good. I liked the design and the bright red color. It probably went in sync with the exterior. The interior was plush and made me feel like I am seating in a premium hatchback. 

With full of excitement, I pressed the accelerator and off we went for our first test at MMRDA grounds.


It was a suspension test, where I drove two circles and tested the suspension on the speed breaker twice. The first time, I took it at a dismal speed and we all felt as if we were at the Essel World, enjoying a dangerous ride. However, for the second round, I kept the speed slightly above the previous time and off we went, feeling only slightly uncomfortable. This shows that you need to be at some speed to avoid the bumpiness and the car has a good suspension to take on the bumpy ride.

In the meantime, Captain Bolt from the infotainment system interrupted us in a nice way by introducing himself and promised to be back soon.

After that, it was a ride not to be forgotten for a long long time especially for me, as I was driving long distance, if you may say so, for the very first time. I felt the car to be extremely responsive and the pick up was excellent which you would not find in many of the top selling cars in the segment.

As we drove, Vishal, tried many functions on the Harman infotaiment system with touchscreen and I tested the voice command system of the car. The buttons are responsive with a single touch and to make the drive comfortable, the voice control buttons are mounted on the steering itself. Thus, making it easy to command any instructions, like increasing the temperature, setting an FM or even dialing a call and reading an sms.

The most thrilling part of the ride came when we hit the highway and more so the Mumbai-Pune expressway where I touched a speed of 140 kms not once, but four times. The interesting part is that the car didn't even shake at that speed, where most cars almost give up and the steering and dashboard gives you a feeling that it is shaking.



I could simply zip zap my way through the minimum traffic that Sunday morning had and that is when the funny Captain Bolt called.

Captain Bolt: 140 ki speed pe toh maze he honge na!??!!
Captain Delighted: (After bouts of laughter) Woh toh test kar raha tha, car shake hota hain itni speed pe ya nahi.(Followed by bouts of laughter)

It was then time for pit stop at the Food Mall where Vishal took over for the rest of the drive as I sat like a happy and proud puppy having beaten the blues of driving at some speed.

Captain Not So Cool: Try driving at that speed or even at half of it with your family on board. I'm sure with all the avoidable, incessant and continuous round of instructions you will prefer to bang your head on the steering wheel, like Bang Bang!!
Captain Delighted: You talking to me.... ? 

After a chilled ride with temperature set to 18, we reached for our next pit stop for lunch at Triose Plaza. Feeling famished after driving for most part of the journey, I along with the blogger friends took to having the delicious lunch. I gobbled up as much as my stomach could allow me. 

We continued with our ride but only after exchanging the diesel variant which I had driven, with the petrol Revetron variant. Vishal was game to drive through the ghats towards Tiger point, the final destination and well, he literally made the insides of my stomach churn in agony as he swirled the car at some speed. By speed I mean not less than 35 to 40 kms where there are steep turns to handle. And the petrol variant was pretty much responsive with sudden brakes and turning smoothly at some speed.

All the while I was seated at the back seat and my ride was pretty smooth. The best part about the car is its leg space; the best among all the hatchbacks as it will be evident from the video.


video



Upon reaching the Tiger point, it was a mandatory selfie and photography sessions. Post which we drove back to base with a halt at CCD.

Captain Tired: Yawns and tries to catch some sleep. What! Who! I've won the photography contest. Whoa! That's precisely what one needs after an exhilarating day, right? Flexing arms with a wide smile on the face.  


Overall, if had to recommend the car, then I would definitely recommend it. BOLT from Tata Motors is not to be missed if you are planning to buy a car anytime soon.

Last but not the least, I would like to thank the Team @ Blogadda and Tata Motors for organizing such a wonderful, coordinated and hazzle free drive and giving me an opportunity to test drive the new Tata BOLT. Cheers!!

Though I was exhausted and drowsy by the time the car reached back to the base, I had a “A Sunday well spent at #BoltDrives with BOLT from TATA Motors in association with BlogAdda.


Saturday, 11 April 2015



Publisher: Kando Books
Price - 99 cents (Kindle)



From the author of Inconvenient Relations Simi K Rao!

If you enjoyed Inconvenient Relations, you'll love The Accidental Wife, a new contemporary romance from Simi K. Rao.

Some accidents are meant to happen…

Dr. Rihaan Mehta is a brilliant young neurosurgeon who has no inclination for love or marriage. According to him wives and girlfriends are annoying accessories that one can do without. But when his mother dangles the sword over his head in classic Bollywood style, he succumbs, and sets out in search of a bride who would fit his 'requirements'. But can Rihaan deal with what he gets instead?

Review: I rarely read e-books, but the title and the blurb made me inclined towards reading this book and I must say that I was not at all left disappointed with the book.

From the word go, the book sets up the pace nicely and increases slowly as you keep turning the pages. The characters are well defined generating enough pique at every stage to find out more about the characters in the story. The characterization is perfect and flows according to the plot. Although, it is a simple story but it never allows you to leave away from the grip that the narration creates. A narration that is simple yet humorous strikes the chord with me as it is difficult to be humorous at times. The author does a great job in succeeding at that which is what I really liked about in the book.

The language is simple to read and understand without any grammatical errors seen. The author has perfectly blended a good mix of emotions in the story and it has come out well. It is a roller-coaster ride while reading the book.

Overall: The Accidental Wife is a simple and well told story that keeps you entertained throughout the set of pages. It is a light afternoon book to read along with a cup of coffee to accompany you.

Ratings: 3.5/5*


About the Author:

Simi K. Rao was born and grew up in both northern and southern India before relocating to the U.S.,
where she has lived for several years. She is the author of multicultural contemporary romantic fiction.

The inspiration for her books and other creative projects comes from her own experience with cross-cultural traditions, lifestyles and familial relationships, as well as stories and anecdotes collected from friends, family and acquaintances.

Rao enjoys exploring the dynamics of contemporary American culture blended with Indian customs and heritage to reflect the challenges and opportunities many Indian-American women face in real life.

Much of Rao's down time is devoted to creative pursuits, including writing fiction, poetry and photography. She is an avid traveler and has visited many locations around the world.

A practicing physician, Rao lives in Denver with her family. Her published works include Inconvenient Relations andThe Accidental Wife. She is currently at work on her next release.

Connect with the author and read more of her work on her website at www.SimiKRao.com.


Find her on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SimiKRao and Twitter @SimiKRao.


Tuesday, 31 March 2015


It all started and got completed at a speed that can put many of the courtships to shame. A week! Yes, it was all done and dusted in a week. We met for the first time with set of each other's parents and long list of relatives as if it is a sort of get-together or a picnic with high list of expectations from both ends. A couple of days later, we met again with an even longer list of relatives wailing their tails behind us, with smiles pasted on their faces. Probably a signal that alliance is going and should be to be made without any delay. From thereon, it was never looking back as I nodded to #StartANewLife. Thus began a roller-coaster ride of being a better half.

With new set of people, different surroundings and with my dearest husband, I embarked on my journey to #StartANewLife. Things were a bit difficult for first few months settling in the new environment. However, it soon started to turn out to be a bit smooth with a much needed support from hubby who held my hand whenever I needed. Just as how housing.com helps in finding a new home, holding our hands till we settle for our dream home.




A year of being a home maker left me completely exhausted where I felt that I am not doing any justice to my education. From thereon, I started a search for suitable jobs where I can handle both, job as well as home. Handling both meant undertaking a part time job. But I was not willing for it. I asked my husband who suggested trying kindergarten schools and I found one nearby our home. Everything fell in place as per my needs and thus I went ahead to #StartANewLife as a playgroup and nursery teacher, teaching cute and tiny little kids. There was no looking back as I enjoyed the challenge of handling the tiny tots and teaching them. Days simply flew away as in the morning I performed a role of a teacher in the school and from afternoon I played a role of a dotting wife and daughter-in-law.

Three years and a couple of promotions later, I took a sabbatical thinking that I need a break just to relax and think over about my future, with my family by my side to support in any decision that I would take. I pondered over whether to pursue some course and enhance my education or to start my own 'playgroup' teaching tiny tots at home. Just when I was about to come to a concrete decision after dillydallying for almost couple of months, I got the best news of my life, that of my pregnancy.

After 15 months, now here I am, managing my tiny tot, my sleep, as well as my home with a hope to start something new again. With the plan of starting my 'playgroup; in the back of my mind, I decided to give majority of my time to my kid and whatever balance time I could get as a free time, after completing all household chores, I would write and dance depending upon my mood - Writing, because it helps me in my thinking process and also helps in generating new ideas and dancing because it helps me in liberating my feelings and emotions thus making me a strong person physically as well as emotionally. Hence, sooner I will embark to again #StartANewLife, with a new role of a mother and to slowly and steadily steer all my energies and expertise in starting my own 'playgroup'. 


Monday, 30 March 2015


It was almost after four months that we were meeting again. The feeling of meeting your loved and the most treasured one is something beyond this world especially that special one is soon going to be your better half. Yes, we were engaged and we both belonging to different cities, barely had met a couple of times. So, this time it was extremely special and to celebrate our meeting we chose a beach as our venue. What better than the sound of waves hitting the shore amidst the warmness of being together?

We strolled hand in hand and chatted above all the things under the sun. Or rather, let me correct myself.  She talked and I listened would be apt, with me a good listener and she a good speaker. So she spoke with all the enthusiasm about the things concerning us, our families, marriage and life after marriage. Basically she was a live-wire with all the expressions and emotions that her face showed up with an every tick of a second and I consumed it like a hungry wolf (pun aside). I smiled, I laughed along with her. I offered my two cents whenever my ears felt silence which was not very often. We continued walking merrily hand in hand, till our legs gave up.

Before I could offer to sit, she took my hand and held me towards the waves, where we soaked our feet. The warm water reaching towards us somewhat relaxed our feet as we kept on enjoying with the water, splashing it across each other. 

"Look, at the waves and the way it is approaching towards us", she spoke all of a sudden and continued. "With all strength and gusto, probably threatening to throw us away with that speed. But as soon as it approaches towards us, the waves die down, losing all the energy ." 

She looked at me straight into my eyes, held my hands and continued, with me being oblivious to what she was speaking as it didn't make much sense to me.

"So similarly, the problems might seem to be large, difficult to solve and probably can break even the strongest of the persons apart. On the other hand, it can also lose all the energy as it approaches us and offers us a look at life from different perspective."

I stood there bemused at what she was speaking.

She took my cheeks under the shelter of her palms and said, "You will come over with it very soon. I am there along with you. We will fight it #together."

I scratched my head, made a face and asked, "I'm sorry, I'm unable to get this analogy and what are you referring to. So can you please...?"

"You will get over with the fact pretty soon that you now have to spend your entire life with this chatterbox and I'll make sure either to turn you into a chatterbox or to make you cry with my loooong talks." She winked, splashed some water across my face and started running.

I ran after her with a smile on my face and the sounds of happiness probably echoed around us. 

Both of us now completely wet from splashing water and running on the shores, we simply sat down on the wet sand. 

She rested her head on my shoulder while I spread my arm across her shoulder as my started basking the sunset. 

"Don't lose heart. You will find a new job pretty soon." She said looking towards the sun and then  turned to look at me.

"We are #together." Just as housing.com is #together in our journey of finding our dream home.

She simply said and gave me a tight hug to which I reciprocated with a tearful as well as the happiest and the most memorable hug. 

Sometimes it is the company along with optimism that matters while overcoming problems that life throws upon us. 


Monday, 23 March 2015


"I have just changed the diaper some couple of hours earlier, so never mind and let the baby sleep."

"I think the diaper feels a bit heavy and wet too. I need to change it although not disturbing the baby's sleep in the process." 


You began contemplating whether to change the diaper or not with a question mark hanging on your face.

The first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is to check the outside of your baby's diaper as the baby charms you with the sweet and innocent look on the face. You pat the diaper, sense a feel about it and start reflecting.

On the other hand when the baby is on the crying spree, the first thing you do is check out the diaper to see if it is the wetness that is troubling the baby.

Majority of the parents resorts to checking out the diaper from outside most of the time especially in the above scenarios. 

A survey released by a leading Research Agency IPSOS, states that around 94% of the mothers want dry bottoms for their babies but doesn't bother to check whether the diaper is dry from the inside or not. As a result most of the times babies do not have a peaceful sleep and keeps on wailing, asking to be tended to and you as a parent start worrying instead of just changing the diaper.

In what I have learnt from my short experience of just 5 months of motherhood, the key thing to understand is that, Diapers need to be your number 1 go-to item from all the resources that you use to tend to your baby. However, finding the right diaper for your baby is not an easy task. It is always a trial and error with the various diaper brands till you get settled with one. I also had to go through the circle, till I had found my right choice, Pampers Baby Dry Pants. Hence, it is important to understand the features of a diaper that so matters to you as well as the tender one.

The Important & Necessary Features

1. A good diaper is the one that does not leak. Whatever may be the circumstances and howsoever full the diaper may be from the inside, the diaper needs to fight out and keep 'all the things' to itself. You don't want a diaper that is unable to control and passes off the 'things' in due course. So, a diaper needs to have that safety lock when it comes to leaking.



2. Just imagine spending a night in your wet undergarment with a fan rotating at full speed or an air-conditioner switched on! That would not be a great night's sleep for anyone, right? Now simply imagine your baby sleeping with a wet diaper. Would the baby be able to have a sound sleep that is highly required? If you as an adult don't approve of it, then how can a baby sleep through the night with a feeling of wetness around? So, it is necessary that the diaper you choose should be able to keep the baby dry from inside as well.

3. The other and equally important feature that a good diaper should allow itself is that of flexible waistband and comfortability in general. The baby should feel comfortable in the diaper. The softness of the material along with stretchable sides are ideal qualities in any diaper. The diaper should not hang on to the baby tightly; instead it should be light and breezy around the waist and thighs. 

4. The diaper should easily adapt to the body and fit accordingly. Along with that, the size of the diaper you use is also important. It should not happen that the baby terribly feels uncomfortable due to the inappropriate size of the diaper or due to the elasticity and make of the product.

5. Many diapers come with different absorbent rates. Some may offer 8 hours of dryness whereas some may offer more than 10 hours of dryness. A good diaper is one that offers maximum hours of dryness with good absorbent rate and at the same time prevents skin wetness, a prime cause for baby rash.

Apart from the features, it is highly essential that the diaper is worn and taken off correctly over the baby's waist; else chances are the diaper won't be able to keep 'the things' well into its place and probably soil everything.


Also, have a look at the video of the diaper brand that is being talked about which is also serving my kid too!



Cheers and Happy Parenting!



Monday, 2 March 2015



Breach 
by 
Amrita Chowdhury



The Blurb

How secure are your secrets in the virtual world?  Weeks before pharma-giant Acel is ready to file a global patent application for cancer wonder-drug Colare, its offshore data centre in Mumbai is hacked. The charismatic, young leader of its Indian business, DrUdai Vir Dhingra, finds himself being blamed for negligence and breach of security. Battling market pressures, media scrutiny, livid American bosses and crumbling relationships, Vir must find the perpetrators, or see his career – and his life – spiral downwards. But the deeper he gets dragged into the shadowy world of masked online identities and muddied digital footprints, the more Vir discovers that nothing is easy or obvious, and everything has a price. Set across Mumbai, Washington and Guangzhou, Breach is a compelling and edgy cyber thriller that explores the dark and dangerous underbelly of our increasingly virtual existence.

Review

What do you expect when you lay your hands on a book that is a thriller? You expect to be get thrilled at each and every stage, with lots of twists and turns, along with a pace that is racy, that keeps you hooked till the very end. Breach is exactly the same. When I laid my hands on a 350 page book, I had not expected to finish the book in straight three hours. But yes, I could manage to sit up late at night with a cup of tea or rather cups and breach through my mind, ignoring the sleep calls as my eyes simply wafted through the words.

The plot is excellent, fresh, written with complete research, detailing and conviction. This reflects in the author's style of writing which is crisp and to the point. Also, the amount of editing that must have gone through is something laudable. The story also touches the core aspect of commercialization in the pharmacy industry which is a bit insightful and refreshing.

Initially for the first few chapters I was a bit confused with lots of characters popping out. It was a bit difficult to understand as I had to make a mental note of the characters and their descriptions. But as the book progressed it got better as there were only few characters who were kept alive in almost every chapter. 

For a novice in the field of hacking, software and cyber security, Breach is a sort of a guide for them with all these specialized terms explained in simple terms for readers. I liked it to a point but somewhere felt it to be a bit overdone with lots of jargons and explanation. Nevertheless, as the story picked pace, it was the story and the pace that kept all these distractions away for me. 

Overall:  Breach is a must read cyber thriller that is well researched and edited as well as pacy which will keep you hooked like an eagle's beak.

Ratings:  3.5/5*

Buy @



Watch It 




Meet the Author



Amrita Verma Chowdhury is the author of Faking It, an art crime thriller about fake modern and contemporary Indian art.
She holds engineering degrees from IIT Kanpur and UC Berkeley, where she was a Jane Lewis Fellow, and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon (Tepper Business School). Her work as an engineer in Silicon Valley led to seven US patents for semi-conductor fabrication – something to show for those bad-haired days. She has done Strategy Consulting and Board Effectiveness work in the US and Australia and has spent long nights fitting five-syllable words inside two-by-two squares. She has worked in the rarefied bastions of Ivy League education bringing together ideas and people. She currently works in publishing.
She lives in Mumbai with her husband Sumit, their two children Shoumik and Aishani, and an assortment of pets including a cocker spaniel, a guinea pig and two turtles. She loves travelling, baking cupcakes with her daughter and hearing from her readers.



You can stalk her @

                          

         


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Wednesday, 11 February 2015




Love can make you do things which you have never ever imagined that you would do. It is the feeling which will make you go weak onto your knees and confess your love for the apple of your eye and heart. Likewise love and its melodious sound can also make your partner to do things or rather 'force' to do things for you. 

But before coming to that let me tell you from where it started.

It was the day when we had taken that seven vows, looking exquisite in those traditional wear and were officially turned into a married couple but two years hence. Yes, it was our second anniversary and it all started with cute love notes placed 'strategically' in all most every part of our home, some easy to find, some hard to locate, with each one of them having some message, altogether forming a sentence of sort. But there were many such notes to be found which I realized later but chose to go with the flow and enjoy all those cheeky and naughty messages that he had written for me, for us. 

I had all the day's time as unfortunately he didn't get a leave from his work. Or rather I should now safely conclude that he purposefully left me with the notes to be found. And in the evening, sharp at 6, the door-bell rang and I welcomed him with yet another bouquet in his hands. Ahh... going back into the memory lane is all nostalgic, isn't it? Pardon me going into those sweet memories as I forgot to tell that apart from those notes, I also received a bouquet of red roses in heart shape, sharp at midnight, an all tulips bouquet received in the morning along with a hand written letter and now the third one.

A delighted squeal left out of him as he saw me all ready, dressed immaculately decoding the message left in the love notes and off were we to a place untold to me. Blindfolded and left to hear the favourite music as he maneuvered the car through the evening traffic to finally halt at some place. There were some chattering and noises heard which gave some upmarket kind of a feel as he handhold-ed me out to a different place through some backdoor exit which I realized later on.

And very very teasingly he removed the blindfold, giving me shivers of a lifetime. For once, I knew it was a public place and to think of him doing something so passionately and teasingly with me left me in a state of a pleasant shock. And there I was standing in front of a beach where laid a table and two chairs with a bottle of champagne placed upon it. And just then the lights came to life hanging mid-air with a message 'I Love You'. Flushed and totally awestruck by his gesture I had decided to return the favour but in my style.

Wait! You must be thinking that I am going overboard but no, sometimes there are special privileges on a personal request that is what I found out to be.



Now coming to my part, we were holidaying amongst the hilly and chilly climate of Manali. Me being the boldest in our family had decided to do some dare devilry in the form of river rafting. And he being the descendant of the 'Stay away from risk family' was adamant of not allowing as well as joining me for the adventure. But when a lady decides to do something no matter what, she will eventually do it, by hook or by crook and that involves some sensuous teasing and flirting. Of course with him.

And so it started with me giving some suggestive hints, light hearted playful teasing over and over again for the entire day but being careful of not getting too close to him. As the day passed, he knew what I was about to as he nodded his head with a sly smile on his face and murmured coming dangerously close to me, his heart beating like a drum, 'you wicked girl' and I knew I had won.

The next morning we were rafting along the river, me being merry and he 'as if he has seen a crocodile' face with terror written all over it. But somehow he managed to smile every time my eyes met his. I was happy that I was shredding all his fears and inhibitions about small, fun adventures in life which can turn out to be an experience of a lifetime. 

And as the ride concluded, I hugged him as tight as I could and muttered an almost mute, barely heard 'Thank you' and sealed it with a peck on his cheeks.

'Anything for you baby' is what he replied and started gushing about how scared he was initially before the ride and how it has liberated him from his fears and inhibitions that gave a sense of relief as he got his heart beating out of his chest and eventually we surrendered to the ever crazy thumping sound of love.

"Love is not only measured by what you do to keep it afloat and unique but it is also measured by what you do to bring down the fears and inhibitions, pushing the boundaries of your loved ones and helping them evolve as a better person."

“I am participating in the #SoundOfLove activity atBlogAdda in association with Bluestone”.