Monday, December 1, 2014

Why some men should never grow a beard

I like a good beard. Sometimes a stubble works too. However there are some men who should never ever grow a beard or even a stubble! Now if its somebody like Hugh Jackman or Tom Hiddleston, a beard looks yummy!

There was this incident which prevented an otherwise attractive man from making an impression on me. I was walking through my locality when a guy with a beard walked up to me and introduced himself. I am known as the local dog lover and he seemed to be aware of that. He had a dog himself so he thought he could talk to me using a common topic. I had no problem in talking to him except for the fact that he looked rather scary with his beard. Very very scary,in fact.

It was not a well kept beard. It was just a mess of facial hair. He looked like somebody who had his life taken away from him! As if he has lost his riches, his family, everything! I could very well make out that he probably looked good without the beard. Too bad he didnt understand that himself!

I somehow managed to talk to him about his pet dog and then politely declined when he asked me for my number. He just looked too scary. Dangerous, even!

Six months later, I was again walking through my locality when a guy came up to me and asked me how I was. Even though he looked quite good, I didnt answer his question because I didnt know him. As I was walking past him, he called out "I was the one with the beard"! I turned around and took a good look at him for sometime. Yes, it was the same guy!! Six months has passed and I had never even thought of him till then. And there he was again, this time without a beard. However, I just politely answered his question and walked away. Who wants to take back a no? Not me!




'This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette'.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

God is a Gamer - An exciting thriller by Ravi Subramanian


A free book is the best gift ever. More so if the book turns out to be a nail biting thriller which you cannot just put down! Unfortunately, there are not too many books like that and that too by Indian authors!



However, “God is a gamer” by Ravi Subramanian (writer of best-selling books like “The Bankster” and “Bankerupt”) is one of those rare books which force you to forget about eating or sleeping. You don’t care about anything as long as you get to finish the book!!

The book’s chapters are so short and the twists are so frequent that you lose track of everything around you. It is like one of those thrilling TV shows which play for only 20 minutes and leave you wanting more. Off course the best thing about reading a book is that there are no ad breaks!

The book is all about the “dark internet”. For people who are unaware of the same, the dark internet is the part of internet which is “hidden” or accessible only through a certain type of “hidden” network. For somebody like me, who was totally clueless about dark net or anything associated with it, this book came as a huge surprise.

Not knowing about the dark net from beforehand proved to be very advantageous for me. It is the reason why the book kept me glued. The more I read, the more I was surprised, shocked, flabbergasted even!
Along with the dark net, the book also explores banks and financial conspiracies, the advent of ”Bitcoin” – the  digital currency, Indian and US politics, international ATM heists and more.

 The book forces you to look up everything which is mentioned in it and that’s the sign of a good book. You don’t just shut it and forget it. You are forced to think about it for hours. You keep scouring Google for more information about certain things mentioned in the book. The fact that all of these things exist in real life makes the book even more exciting!

What more could ask for you in a book?  A racy love story? A murder? It is all there! The love story is not very integral to the plot and you can guess how it is going to end. But it is still fun to read!

The characters are not black or white. All of them are different shades of grey. The book explores the dark side of human nature and to what extent we all can go for extracting revenge. Even though I didn’t quite agree with the way of extracting the revenge, it is what made the book it is. You don’t care for any of the characters and yet you remain glued to the book!

The last chapter of the book tries to answer a lot of questions at once so you need to read it more than once for understanding what exactly went on. I had to read it thrice before writing this review. Even now I am reeling under the effect of the book and I am very sure that I am going to read it again in the future!





This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Friday, October 31, 2014

A race against time - The quikr-blogadda free shopping fiesta!


Blogadda.com is always coming up with something new or the other. After participating in almost all their contests and activities for about 2 years now, I am game for anything now!

October being the festive month, I was in no mood to write about anything, whether for work or for contests. When blogadda came up with their quikr.com contest, I signed up for it anyway. I received a mail from them a few days later telling me that I have been selected! I was overjoyed and I decided to get to it after all the Diwali festivities were over. I put some money aside as well because this activity required me to buy something from quikr.com at Rs 5000. And yes, blogadda was going to reimburse me for the item bought making it free, free, free!

Exciting, isn’t it? Yes, it was….until the time came when I completely forgot about the activity. I got very busy with my work after Diwali got over and completely forgot about blogadda and quikr. Thanks to their reminder mails which I received a few days ago, I suddenly remembered that I was yet to participate in their quikr activity! And there was no time! There were probably only a few days left!

However, I still couldn’t get to writing the blog or even to quikr.com because I had a huge backlog of work left because of the holiday I had taken during the Durga pujas. I managed to get to quikr.com only on the 29th of December, with just two days to go for the activity to end!

I was worried and excited at the same time. I was worried whether I would find anything to buy at all! Quikr.com holds a special place in my heart because I had adopted one of my dogs, Brownie, from there. She is a precious sweetheart who came to my life only because this website had made it possible. 
However, I still wasn’t confident about buying anything because I had never really bought any “item” on quikr.com before.

Anyway, I had to quickly decide what I wanted to buy. Looking at my own weight which was increasing day by day, I decided to buy a treadmill. Quick and easy!

I logged on to quikr.com and checked through the listings for the right kind of treadmill at the right price. I found only two listings offering treadmills at Rs 5000. One of them had a phone number and the other one had an email address.

http://kolkata.quikr.com/Home-Lifestyle/w923



I decided to email the concerned person right then because it was already midnight. The location was okay with me as I intended to go check the treadmill before I buy. I sent the email, went off to sleep and hoped for the best.

Next morning, I woke up and quickly checked for a reply to email. There was none. It was already the 30th! I went to quikr.com again and called the one other person who was selling a treadmill for Rs 5000. He told me that he had already sold it.

With a heavy heart, I decided that I wasn’t going to get a piece of this activity after all.

I went back to work.

At midnight, I suddenly received a reply to email. The person who had posted the ad turned out to be Sneha Kejriwal, a 13 year old girl! She had sent a long mail introducing herself, her location, condition of the treadmill and why she wanted to sell it. I quickly sent her a reply that I had to go check the treadmill the next morning itself and asked her whether she was okay with it. The simple task of asking for her phone number didn’t even occur to me because I was so worried about the deadline!

This morning I woke up and checked my mails even before I brushed my teeth. There was a reply from Sneha, asking me to come to her house within 1 pm. I cancelled all other work I had and went to her house located at Chakraberia, Bhawanipur.

Sneha was really nice to meet with and she turned out to be a very internet savvy person. On meeting her, I had a quick recollection of my own 13 year old self and how clueless I used to about everything. This girl, on the other hand, was selling her treadmill all on her own!

I checked the treadmill and even walked on it. It was quite good to buy. The display showed the time and amount of calories I have burned in about 3 minutes. I was impressed. I paid her Rs 5000 and she happily told me that she was going to buy a tablet with it.

Now the real worry was to get the thing to my house! I had already informed the mini truck driver at my locality that I might need his services. I called him and he told me that he would manage to come only at around 5 pm! I decided to wait and hang around at the nearby “Homeland” mall which I had never been to before.



Now finally, as I am writing this, the treadmill is sitting pretty in my living room. My dogs are very curious about this monstrous looking thing and are busy sniffing it from top to bottom. All thanks to quikr and blogadda.com.


This post is a part of Quikr.com activity at BlogAdda.com

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jeep and Bourbon, Part 16 #Celebrateblogging



Read the previous part of the story here 

J for Jealousy(Chapter 16)

Manhattan - New York City 

Jeremy was smiling to himself.

It was a wicked smile. He had just received a Whatsapp message from Cyrus.

"Plan re-booted"

Till this point in his life, he didn't know that he could be this wicked. Sure, he had played a lot of practical jokes in his youth and some of them have not been well received, but this was big. Yeah, it was big. He felt like patting himself on the shoulder for the great work done.

He kept on smiling the wicked smile.

Having lived in Manhattan almost all his life, he had the supreme luxury of owning an apartment overlooking Central park. It was green wherever he looked. Oh, how he loved the greens! He sat in the open terrace of his apartment, staring at the greenery ahead. He felt like drinking some coffee, but he didn't want to get up and lose the wonderful view. So he kept sitting and...smiling and....thinking.

What a fool Cyrus had been! Like with any other guy looking for some easy cash, he hadn't even asked what he was going to do and why. How easy it had been to trap that guy! He thought he was doing all this for a friend. Wait, what friend? Friends don't take money from each other, do they? Cyrus was not worthy of being a friend and that's exactly why he was the center-piece of the plan.

Tara....ooooooh Tara. How he loved her. How he has always loved her. It is not like he hasn't been with other women, but they weren't Tara. There was something so exotic about her. The way she always looked for brains rather than brawns. That is what set her apart from other girls -  like Jenny.

Jenny.....sure she was good looking and attractive....but she was no Tara. She didn't have her intelligence or her personality. All she had was this insane craze to capture everything she came across on her camera. And those tattoos! It has been fun with her though. She was quite different from the others. He thought of all the wild nights they have had and his smile became wider.

He thought of Kochi when he had deliberately landed up at Jenny's home-stay with a plan. ;)

She certainly hadn't had any problems with hooking up with him -  her friend's ex-boyfriend. What kind of a friend was she anyway? Didn't she think that it would be awkward for all of them to go on a trip together? Or did she do it deliberately? Was there a side to Jenny she didn't show to anybody? Was she...jealous?

Aaahhh...jealousy! He was familiar with that feeling. He felt jealous all the time. He felt jealous of the fact that Tara had a husband and a kid. Well, who cares about the kid? She had a husband, who had the privilege of looking at her everyday. Why just looking? He had the supreme privilege of touching her. She was his wife.

How he wanted to destroy that family so bad. He wanted Tara only to himself. He had always wanted Tara only to himself. When he had come back to NY from India he had thought that he would be okay with losing her.

But he wasn't.

He was in pain everyday. Excruciating pain. A type of pain which ate him up from inside. He blamed his mother for sending him to a college in India. Why did she need to do that? Just because she was an Indian she had to send everybody to India! What was she thinking? Did she think that Jeremy would become an expert on Indian culture if he went there? He sure didn't!

Thank god his parents were away from him now, living in Staten Island. That's where they belonged and that's where they should be. He didn't want to see them. He didn't need their money. He had all the money in the world now. And as the saying goes - money can buy you everything! Probably even love.

...................................................................................................................................................................

Bangalore - India

Jenny was busy packing. She was trying to put some t-shirts inside the suitcase but she was finding it hard to accomplish this simple task. Damn it! She couldn't concentrate. She was thinking of all the things she hadn't told Cyrus. How going to Mumbai was all a part of her "plan". Aryan Ahuja was a good excuse to go there, a delicious excuse rather.

She knew that Jeremy and Tara were in love in college. How could she not know? She was her best friend. But Tara had been married and settled for years. It was Jenny who was single and in desperate need of a boyfriend. Sometimes she felt jealous of the fact that Tara had a loving family to herself. Not that she wanted a family, but yeah a boyfriend for sure! And Jeremy had come at the right time.

She had given little thought to the fact that the man was her friend's ex-boyfriend. Come on, Tara was married now. Why would she care? It not only felt good, but super exciting as well. There was something so liberating in doing something so called "forbidden". This was her life after all. She could do whatever she wanted.

However, while waiting for Cyrus to get well at the hospital, she had thought hard and well about the night at the beach. Jeremy and Tara had disappeared at the same time. At the....same time.

She had called Jeremy from the hospital, to ask him about his "disappearance". To her surprise, he was on his way back to NYC. Why was he escaping? What had he done? Did his quick exit had something to do with Tara? Did she have something to do with the fact that Jeremy had abandoned her and had gone back to his native country?

She didnt know for sure. But she knew that something must have happened....on the beach. She had decided not to ask Tara anything about it then because Shekhar was still recuperating. Sitting in the cold and grey hospital corridors, she had come up with a plan of her own.

A plan which would reveal everything.

Read the next chapter here

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jeep and Bourbon, Part 9 #Celebrateblogging



Read the previous part of the story here 

Life's mysteries (Chapter 9)

They did not talk much after that but their eyes reflected a thousand emotions. There were a series of events and actions – Rewind, Fast Forward, Pause and finally a Stop. This conveyed the intended message. From now onwards Shekhar decided that he would get back to writing and come what may, he said to himself,  “I will not stop till I reach the goal”.
Shekar had recovered very well from the accident. Being discharged from the hospital, the family started their journey straight back home. Kochi would have to wait.  Tara and Shekhar along with Roohi had boarded a train back to their beloved metro city, Mumbai. Their small apartment back in the quaint colony at the heart of the city was calling them.
As their old yellow taxi inched through the chock-a-block traffic, innocent little Roohi sat cuddled besides her father, looking out of the window. The taxi screeched to a halt at yet another signal and Roohi watched the sight rolling past her slow down and come to a stop too. The pleasant evening sunset had sent a pink hue through the skyline. The familiar sight of dirty, crowded roads and bus stops, shops,etc, for once, seemed welcoming to her.
When their taxi arrived at their small building apartment, neighbours flooded towards them, sending a volley of questions towards them. Tara and Shekhar somehow managed to alight from the cab, unload their luggage and simultaneously answered some of the questions. Pushing and shoving through the crowd they managed to reach their home.
Shekhar was too tired to even try and figure out what was happening around them.  Tara held Roohi close to herself and cried her eyes out. After she had calmed down, Roohi quietly started assisting her with clearing the mess they had left behind while leaving for their Kochi holiday.
The bubbly,pony tailed Roohi within no time was back to living her old life, as if nothing had happened over the last couple of days. She, in fact, was unaware about what her parents were going through.
Roohi picked up the remote to surf her favourite cartoon channel and she spotted a cookery channel. She stopped by it and started watching the show. To her surprise it was a "Kid's Cooking series" where the Chef taught little ones to make quick and easy recipes with bread. A thought suddenly struck her and she ran to the fridge. She hunted for the ingredients and shouted ," Mama ,is there any bread at home?".
Tara replied," No baby, I'm yet to stock grocery and other eatables ".
Roohi then quickly ran in to kitchen pantry to check for something she could find there. Luckily she found a few packets of her favorite instant noodles which her father made for her, to calm her sudden food cravings when her Mama was out. She took them out and broke them into pieces, as she'd seen Papa do. She added it to a big dish, poured water and masala from the packets given in it. She put it on the flame and waited for it to be done, thinking her parents would be so happy. Suddenly there was a scream from her parents’ room. 
What could it be? 
Roohi rushed towards the source of the screaming. It was Shekhar sitting with his laptop. He was smiling but his eyes had tears. He drew Roohi, who was still shocked at her Papa's behaviour, in his arms. He was excited. Words were not coming out of his mouth. 
“Let me show you something” he said to them.
It was mail from a renowned publisher, congratulating him for his collection of writing they had selected to publish.

Shekhar could not believe his own eyes and screamed with utter joy. Tara who was busy in the other room heard the cry and came rushing as she was worried that something might have happened to her husband. Then she had found out that it was not the cry for help but the cry of joy.
They all were happy. But life had still not opened all its cards. Life is unpredictable. Just when one starts to believe everything's fine now, there comes a new twist. The Duttas didn't know that their  miseries were still not over. Some shocking revelations were still to come, which would be more painful, more devastating, more shocking than they'd experienced still now. 

Cyrus had also been discharged from the hospital. Jenny took him to Bangalore. They had developed a bond, a strange one. They were together. But why they didn't know. But they would know it soon. Let us wait for life to reveal its layers.

Read the next part of the story here 


 “Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”


Monday, September 8, 2014

Private India - Book review

When one of the greatest authors in the world comes together with one of the best Indian authors, you expect not just a great book, but a book that will change your lives. I am talking about James Patterson, author of the riveting "Alex Cross" and "Women's Murder Club" series and Ashwin Sanghi, author of mythological thrillers like "The Krishna Key" and "Chanakya's Chant" . The book in question is "Private India" and is a part of James Patterson's "Private" series.



The book is about a serial killer committing non-stop murders in Mumbai. His targets are successful independent women and his murders are ritualistic in terms of their nature. "Private India" is the detective agency assigned to catch the killer and it is headed by Santosh Wagh - a man with a very troubled past. He is ably supported by Nisha Gandhe, an ex-CID officer. The rest of his team includes Mubeen, a forensic investigator and Hari, a computer wizard. There is also ACP Rupesh Desai, who used to be Santosh's best friend at one time. Now they have fallen apart and don’t even like to talk to each other. However, the reason behind their fall-out is revealed later in the book and it is quite the surprise. 

The plot is quite similar to a Bollywood movie which starred a “serial kisser” actor in the lead and came out a few years ago. It can be easily guessed which movie I am talking about. However in spite of the similarities, the book keeps you on the hook. You just want to keep on reading and reading till you get to know who the killer is.

While the book runs at a breakneck speed and you are not just able put it down, there is something which is still missing. There is a terrorism sub-plot running which you hardly care for. The only things you want to know are 1) who is the killer and 2)why is he killing. Anything else is just a hurdle which you have to quickly jump through. The twist before the climax is truly a shocking one and readers might need a minute or two to take in the identity of the killer.


Other than the main characters, the book also includes a corrupt god-man, greedy government officials and NGO workers, a little bit of bollywood and even an underworld don. All in all, the book is like a “masala” hindi movie with all the right ingredients. It surely won’t be a surprise if this movie is turned into a movie soon! 

A big plus point of the book is that the identity of the killer is a huge surprise and is bound to take the readers by shock. Private India can be classified as "pure entertainment" and the loopholes are meant to be ignored. This is no literary fiction because it is not meant to be. This book is highly recommended for people who are looking for a fast-paced read or are in love with mystery and suspense novels. 

Rating - 3.5/5


This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

An unique story of an unique mardaani

I was at New Market, Kolkata. There was a big crowd, like always! People were coming and going in from all directions and I was just somehow managing to stand straight amidst all the hustle and bustle. A lady was standing right next to me, bargaining for some clothes with a hawker. Yes, we Bengalis are very good at bargaining. I was least interested in what was going on and was looking here and there. Crowds make me sick, so I just wanted to get out of there.

Suddenly this man came from nowhere, wrapped his hand around the lady's waist and walked away. She stopped doing what she was doing, walked straight ahead in that mad, mad crowd, caught hold of the guy and landed a punch on him. Not a slap, a PUNCH. The lady had hands double the size of Sunny Deol's. You can imagine how the guy felt when the punch came from nowhere and landed on his face. :)

The lady mentioned above is my mom. Yes, she was the one standing right next to me bargaining for clothes. Just an activity usually ladies do. But what she did to the man was not something every lady does. It is only what women like my mom do. I was too little then, just 11 or 12 years old. Now at 29 years of age, I still remember that incident clearly, like it happened yesterday. 

That incident taught me something that day. After that happened, my attitude towards these situations changed completely. Before that happened, I have seen women ignoring these things like nothing happened. My mom taught me that you can turn any situation into your favour by just reacting to it. A shout, a scream, a slap, a punch – everything is a reaction. Just don’t ignore it ladies. I don’t.  :)

This is written as a part of I am Mardaani activity exclusively at BlogAdda.com for Indian Bloggers.

Friday, May 9, 2014

My Role Model - My father

video


I want to thank Blogadda wholeheartedly for giving me this wonderful opportunity. Never did I think that I would be amongst the selected 100 bloggers from all over India for submitting a video about my role model! I had also never thought that I would get to make a video about my father and publish it on the web! This video shows the different facets of his life - as a son, as a father, as a dog lover, as a nature lover, as a very popular man with kids and youngsters alike and so on. Basically this video is about all the ordinary things which make him an extraordinary man. This is a tribute to my father and all the things he has done for me and everyone else. Thank you dad. Thank you Blogadda.


I am writing about #MyRoleModel as a part of the activity by Gillette India in association with BlogAdda.com.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Me, Aaila and Cricket!

There was a time when I was completely crazy for cricket. Actually, I was so crazy that the word "crazy" is an understatement! I used to forego important things like eating, sleeping and answering my phone for watching cricket!

Those days are long gone. Nowadays I don't even bother to watch any cricket match. However, there are some good memories from my cricket crazy days! I am sharing one of those here.

It was the year 2009. The IPL was going on and Kolkatans were completely losing it because of KKR! If they won, they were was happy. If they lost, there was sadness everywhere! I was also one of those fanatics who celebrated or went into mourning depending on the result of the match.

So like it often happened with KKR, they didn't make it to the finals. The 2nd semi-final match was between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings. Regardless of who won or who lost, Kolkatans were glued to the match. I was too, at a Barista near my place!

Little did I know that a cyclone was going to come! It came and literally washed away everything. The match ended and I remember RCB winning, but me and the other people at the cafe just could not get out. It was obviously my fault because my parents had been warning me since afternoon but I never made any attempt to go home because I had to watch the match! I had to watch it anyhow!

So I watched it while cyclone "Aaila" lashed Kolkata outside. Trees were uprooted, people were electrocuted, roads were submerged and what not. I remained oblivious to all these things till the match went on. When I finally came out for going home, I was left with my mouth hanging open!

There was water everywhere!

What did I do? I simply went back and shared my problem with the cafe manager. He told me that all of them were going to spend the night at the cafe since most of them lived pretty far away. I was just thrilled at the idea of staying at a Barista overnight and so I accepted it!

That night will stay in my memories forever. While the rain flooded the roads outside, I chatted with the manager and his colleagues. They all became my very good friends after that night.

Nowadays I don't watch matches much. However, the recent developments at www.starsports.com has forced me to check out the new features. Amongst all the new things they have launched, I like the "Live Pro" feature the best. The packages start at as little as Rs 20 and it is a really good feature for people who are always on the move.




This post is a part of Cricket just got better! Activity by starsports.com in association with BlogAdda.com.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Role Model

My role model - Three heavy words.

Most people don't realize the importance of the words "role model". When I hear young girls stating proudly that so and so actress is their role model because she is so thin, I don't even know how to react. A role model is someone you can look up to. A role model is someone you need to interact with! How else are you going to imbibe the same qualities?

My choice has always been pretty simple. My father never ever let anybody take the place as far as my role model is concerned. He has always been my role model and he will always remain so. A kind hearted man with a gentle aura and a very unassuming nature, he is the man I look up to. Luckily, people tell me that I do have a lot of qualities like him.

Why is he my role model? Its simple really. He is kind, like I said above. He is soft-spoken, which is really hard to find nowadays. He stresses the importance of simple things like "being grateful" which people don't even  know the meaning of nowadays. He is also a very forgiving man. As his daughter, I have always wondered how he has been able to forgive people who should have been probably sentenced to death! That is what makes him great. He can forgive. That is yet another quality which people lack nowadays.

He keeps promises. It is not about promising me a gift or something and then keeping it. When he promises something to someone he keeps it. It could be something as small as a print-out( because the concerned person doesn't have a printer at home) or something big like a house. He has given away things just like that without even realizing what he is doing.

Who needs actors and actresses as role models? Not me!



I am writing about #MyRoleModel as a part of the activity by Gillette India in association with BlogAdda.com

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

5 things I would love to do in Malaysia



Cycling
Now this is the most exciting thing!
There is nothing more I would love to do than go for cycling in Malaysia! A bicycle tour of the whole country would be the best thing about the trip!

Nightlife in Penang
Having heard a lot about the nightlife in Malaysia, especially Batu Ferrinhgi, I would love to explore the same. 

Beaches
The beaches of Malaysia are haven for adventurous people like me. Some of the popular water sports I would like to try include Catamaran Sailing, Speed Boating, , Speed Boating, Snorkeling and Banana boat rides 

Trekking and Camping
Jungle Trekking is a great way to explore the insides of Malaysia. I would like to go for a walk in the Teluk Bahang forest. I would also like to explore the unspoiled beaches and the old lighthouses at the north-western side of the island. 

Petronas Towers
Going to Malaysia and not seeing the Petronas towers is like a sin! Standing in front of the towers and clicking the most amazing picture is something I would definitely love to do in Malaysia.
I am participating in the MalaysiaJao Blogathon Contest in association with BlogAdda.com.