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

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.


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*

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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.

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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”.

Matches Made In Heaven 
Sundari Venkatraman

Review: With the boom of anthologies and short stories here comes another one, a collection of 13 romantic short stories. But for me this collection has come with a difference. Most of the collection or anthologies that I have read have a feel of love but somewhere that overwhelming effect is missing. For me it comes as 'trying hard' to let out an emotion as simple and complicated at the same time that as Love. But Sundari Venkatraman's 'Matches Made in Heaven' is class apart from these collections and anthologies. Simple yet striking stories with a tinge of honey and creamy layer of Love, these stories are sure to keep you happy and smile as you read them. 

Moreover when you have a foreword by Milan Vohra, India's first M&B author, it surely adds to the credibility of the book and I must say I was not left disappointed. In fact I am completely in awe of her writing. Each story, each character and the situations kept me entertained without going overboard at once. Thus conveying a message in a subtle yet striking manner and also weaving a magic of love which for me as a reader and as a writer is highly commendable. 

The simple narrative and excellent editing also adds to the aura of love is this collection of short stories. 

Out of all the stories, I liked 'Beauty Is Skin Deep', 'An Arranged Match' and 'Red Rose Dating Agency' the most. But somewhere I wished few of the stories to be a bit longer than it is. 

Overall: A good and highly entertaining read in this season of love. I recommend this book for all the romance lovers. Do grab it right now!!

Rating: 3.5/5*

Sneak Peek

A collection of 13 romantic short stories based in India; a culture rich country steeped in tradition. Inspiration struck me from newspaper articles, TV shows and hearing people talk. The short stories are based on that fact that arranged marriages thrive right alongside love matches in India.

1. Groomnapped is Ameya-Surekha’s story as a light romantic take on the serious issue of groom kidnappings. 
2. Dark skin on a woman puts off men in general or so says the society. Beauty Is But Skin Deep is Nitin-Simran’s story that proves it wrong!
3. Ritu is twenty-five and wants to wait for her Prince Charming but her parents are desperate to arrange her wedding. Does she find her prince in An Arranged Match?
4. Dating Agencies are doing their best to get young people together to tie the knot. My friend Diti runs an informal one; inspiring the Red Rose Dating Agency. 
5. A guy’s complaint about his fiancée of a few years dumping him after becoming successful in her film career felt like a rant to me. Chahti Hoon Tumhe is an ode to the successful actress. 
6. Soumya actually lives life like Soul Mates but how many have the guts to? This, incidentally, is the first short story that I ever wrote.
7. Does Madeinheaven.com help bring Menka & Jeetu together with technology driven Matchmaking website? 
8. I originally wrote Rahat Mili for an anthology; Rahat means ‘relief’ and is a name too. Read the story with the word in mind and it will fall in place.  
9.  Reema’s Matchmakers brings Arjun and Prisha together at a get-together through a matchmaking network. But will they get married?
10. Nikita wants Krish for a friend and not her husband. As The Reluctant Bride she manages to have her cake and eat it too.
11. Shweta Ka Swayamvar is inspired by the practice of Swayamwar in ancient India of choosing a husband, from among a list of suitors, by a girl of marriageable age. 
12. Pappa’s Girl is about daughters of Industrialists taking over fathers’ businesses.  
13.  Mythology romances intrigue me; Love Match For Velan is my take on Lord Murugan falling in love with his consort Valli. 

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The Story Told In Visual 

Meet the Author

Sundari Venkatraman has authored four novels and a short story anthology till now, Matches Made In Heaven (anthology) being the latest. The Malhotra Bride; Meghna; The Runaway Bridegroom; Flaming Sun Collection 1: Happily Ever Afters From India (Box Set) and Matches Made In Heaven have all been self-published on Amazon under the banner of Flaming Sun. The three novels are regularly seen on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers’ Contemporary Romances list. The Box Set and Anthology are bound to catch up soon. 

A great fan of Mills & Boon romances over the past four decades, Sundari has always believed in ‘Happily Ever Afters’ and all her books promise happy endings. 

Matches Made In Heaven is a compilation of thirteen short stories – all romantic – based on many situations anyone can come upon in their day-to-day lives. The stories revolve around the different ways a couple can get to meet and tie the knot in a culture rich country like India. Those reading the stories will definitely be able to connect realising that one of the situations has definitely been a part of their lives. 

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Friday, 6 February 2015

He leafed through the stack of pages with an eye of intent on them, standing across the balcony early morning. Just then his eyes fell on a pot that had been hanging from one of the walls of the balcony. 

For a moment he felt a tinge of sparkle gleaming on one of the leaves of the plant as a soft breeze made the leaves to shiver and wave a quick 'good morning' to him. 'Must be early morning dew', he thought and smiled in reply.

Moving closer, he looked at the plant with a bit more intent and felt that they had a strong desire for some sunshine after some extreme chilly and windy days as well as nights. It was winters. 

Just then his insides churned as he realized that he had been holding the torn pages for quite some time. He lay his eyes upon them and kept it fixated upon it, shuffling from one page to another. After a while, with a bit of stoic expression on his face, he took the pot in his hands and ran outside in search of some sunshine. Luckily, he did find some place where the early morning sun-rays were warming the earth and immediately placed the plant below.

"I'll not let you wilt", he said with teary eyes unable to control his emotions as he sought joy through pain.

"Just as you left your relationship to wilt", accused the love letters with an air of disdain evident in their ink, that he had held all the while in his hands. 

This post is written for Three Word Wednesday