Saturday, 31 January 2015

My memories... of pimples...

There are good memories, and there are bad ones. And then there are those which feel like mishap averted.

It is something to smile over now, when I look at my engagement pics. But back then it had caused quite a bit of tension... There is a small black mole / black dot, or more delicately put, a beauty spot on my cheek. A fake one. It was actually a pimple camouflaged.

I have oily skin, and pimples come and go. My way of dealing with them is to simply use face wash and face cream meant for my oil-soaked dermis.

Usually it keeps the pimples in check. An odd one does pop up once in a while, and I don't let it matter.

With my own engagement celebrations coming up though, this one lone eruption became a major issue. My beautician tried a few treatments in her effort to make it disappear. She claimed that it her expertise that made the pimple rather inconspicuous. Inconspicuous, yes. But it would still be there one my face on the day, when I'd be the centre of attention and tons (at least, it feels like tons) of my pictures will be clicked.

That is where the 'cheeky' beauty spot came to the rescue.

It was clearly not something that was new to the beautician. As she decked me with various products, she told me the many stories of how she had transformed many a nasty pimple to a beauty spot, which also wards of the evil eye on the special day.

The presence of that one pimple has made a place for itself as an important event in the story of my life.

As I said before, pimples off and on, are a way of life for me. It doesn't usually affect me.

Another such time was rather recently when I got a facial done from a new beauty parlour. Despite me telling her otherwise, she used a oil-based cream. For over a month after that, my face was home to cluster of pimples... painful ones too.

I tried to let them be, hoping they would disappear soon. Ended up going to a dermatologist and the whole shebang to get ride of them.

By hit and trial, I have come to the conclusion that the use of the prevention is better than cure, even where pimples are concerned. Cures come after pain, emotional and otherwise. Prevention is so much better.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Search for Self (Book Review: Thar Express - Nagendra Murti)







Title : Thar Express
Author: Nagendra Murti
Genre: Mystery / Thriller









A man is found in the aftermath of a landslide in Kashmir. He has no memory of either who he is, or how he got there.

Thar Express, the book by Nagendra Murti, is the story of this man. The story of is struggle to find ‘himself’, despite being suspected by Indian authorities. The fact that he's caught in Kashmir, close to LoC (Line of Control between Indian and Pakistan) leads to serious questions about his nationality and intentions.

Thar Express, the train connects Karachi, Pakistan to Jodhpur, India.

Thar Express, the book weaves an intricate tale that takes the reader from Kashmir to various cities and states of India, and across the border too, in search of truth and identity of this man.

As he leaves Kashmir, and moves from one place to another, his actions send mixed signals, which keep the authorities on their toes trying to figure out who he really is.

Thar Express, by Nagendra Murti, opens with serene monsoon memories of childhood friends. The peaceful scene soon changes to the plight of the mysterious man and his heart-rending plight.

Just a few pages into the book, I had a soft corner for the protagonist. I was rooting for him, whether the proof was in his favour or not.

Truth and deceit, Patriotism and Terrorism, Humanity and Selfishness, all clash in this fast-paced thriller.

The craving for home, the pain of not belonging, the insecurities of being a stranger even to oneself and the fear of authority is effectively portrayed in this book.

“His mind struggled between a terrible urge to remember who he was, to reunite with his family, to meet someone who he would recognize from past and the trauma of death and pain all around him.”

The goodness or at times, the unbelievable, innocent susceptibility of human nature finds a place too.

It is disturbing that most of this can happen to anyone. It can be so easy for a person to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, to make a small mistake and set the dominos falling... dominos, which may never be able to get back up.
As a reader, there was a feeling of a certain helplessness when I was lost in the story of Nagendra Murti's Thar Express. I guess, what I am trying to convey is that this book made me ache for dilemma of Mano, the man with only a nickname.

The tale of Thar Express has many a twist, its’ fast-paced narrative keeping the pages turning fast.
It is the ending that is the icing on the cake. The climax of the book is unexpected and a fitting finale to Thar Express’ gripping tale.


This review is a part of the biggest http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews" target="_blank"> Book Review Program
for http://www.blogadda.com" target="_blank">Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Shepherd's Purse - a Haiku

Shepherd's Purse (Nazuna) is one of the seven sacred herbs which are used to make a porridge around New Year. 
Leaves of Shepherd's Purse look like a little purse, hence the name.
Shepherd's Purse is common in many countries and has many uses too - medicinal, cultural, and many more.

Credits: Shepherd's Purse (Nazuna)

Shepherd's purse - a small purse. What does it hold...


tiny secrets
held in Shepherd's purse
-treasured trysts




Prompt by and Shared with -
Carpe Diem #654. Shepherd's Purse (Nazuna)
http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.in/2015/01/carpe-diem-654-sheperds-purse-nazuna.html

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Yuzuriha... a Haiku

In ancient Japan, Yuzuriha plant was used as an ornament for New Year to celebrate good relationship of old and new generations...

Credits: Yuzuriha plant


Father and son
smiling from opposite sides
-Yuzuriha bouquet

© Nimi Arora




Prompt by and Shared with -
Carpe Diem #653, Yuzuriha
http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.in/2015/01/carpe-diem-653-yuzuriha.html



Saturday, 24 January 2015

5 reasons to read 'The Great Iron War - Book Two'




Hopebreaker (The Great Iron War - Book One) by 'Dean F. Wilson' is an engaging book.

And here are some of the reasons why I am waiting for the second one -







(Warning - Spoilers ahead)
  • Call me a Hopeless Romantic if you will. I have just finished reading a Science-Fiction Fantasy, which I enjoyed. And yet, one of the main reasons I look forward to reading the second part of the series is because I want to know where Jacob's and Taberah's relationship lead. Their bantering, their chemistry, and their future.
  • Whistler is a 'good kid', who chooses to the path of trust, despite the negativity of the world he's living in. I want to see him grow and mature but not be a cynic.
  • Rommond's presence made me uneasy when he was introduced in the story. It no longer does. But I want to see his 'human' side. I want to know what made him the way he is.
  • What is Brooklyn... a mystery!
  • '...some have greatness thrust upon them'. As the story progresses, Jacob's path seems to become clearer. Despite his light humour, he is headed for greatness. How great is the 'greatness'? Will he lead the Resistance one day?
P.S.: Will the Book Two be titled 'The Lifemaker', or is it too obvious? I wonder.


Click for Book Review of 'Hopebreaker'


Book Review - Hopebreaker (Dean F. Wilson)







Title : Hopebreaker (The Great Iron War - Book One)
Author: Dean F. Wilson
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy










Altadas is a world where human race is facing extinction. Demons - who look like humans, which makes fighting them more difficult - are taking over. A world where 'light is dangerous and Hope is an enemy'.
The Regime of Demons is being opposed by the rebel Resistance.

Jacob is a rebel at heart, who consciously chooses not to take sides. But life has other things in store for him.
He continues to hold on to his his sense of humour and rebellion against authority of any sort even in most difficult of situations. This adds a light touch to even the on-the-edge situations.

'Sometimes there were little victories to be had in the smallest acts of rebellion... There were greater victories when those small acts of rebellion were noticed by the tyrants.'

Jacob's repartees are fun to read, and give a lighter touch in this story set in a world which is struggling to survive.

'The problem with lies was that truth always got in the way.'
These words are used in a different context in the book, but they ring as true for the way Jacob keeps convincing himself that he doesn't care to be a part of the fight against Demons, and how his actions speak differently.

Fantasy as a genre usually works for me because anything is possible. It is not limited by the need to be conceivable factually. On the other hand, the writing has to engross the reader enough to make it a believable world.

The narrative of Hopebreaker is effortless and the descriptions are visually potent.

'Even when silence returned from wherever it sought refuge, the sounds continued to echo in all minds'

The book begins with enough mystery to grab attention instantly and keeps the curiosity high. The good guy is in trouble and that keeps the pages turning fast.

An effective facet that the author has given to the world of Altadas is the names that things have.
The currency is 'coils'... it coils itself around the heart. Money does that.
Iron is the 'black gold'... representative of a world which has no place for beauty and aesthetics.
'Hope' is the name given to what needs to be destroyed. And that makes the situation gloomier.

There is much about the stories of the characters that is hinted at, but not revealed completely. So, I will look forward to the next book in the series.


Click for 5 Reasons to read 'The Great Iron War - Book 2'

(The words in Italics are quotes from the book)

*  *  *





Blurb
In the world of Altadas, there are no more human births. The Regime is replacing the unborn with demons, while the Resistance is trying to destroy a drug called Hope that the demons need to survive.

Between these two warring factions lies Jacob, a man who profits from smuggling contraceptive amulets into the city of Blackout. He cares little about the Great Iron War, but a chance capture, and an even more accidental rescue, embroils him in a plot to starve the Regime from power.

When Hope is an enemy, Jacob finds it harder than he thought to remain indifferent. When the Resistance opts to field its experimental landship, the Hopebreaker, the world may find that one victory does not win a war.






About the Author:




Dean F. Wilson was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1987. He started writing at age 11, when he began his first (unpublished) novel, entitled The Power Source. He won a TAP Educational Award from Trinity College Dublin for an early draft of The Call of Agon (then called Protos Mythos) in 2001.

He has published a number of poems and short stories over the years, while working on and reworking some of his novels. The Call of Agon is his first published novel.

Dean also works as a journalist, primarily in the field of technology. He has written for TechEye, Thinq, V3, VR-Zone, ITProPortal, TechRadar Pro and The Inquirer.

Contact the Author:




Thursday, 22 January 2015

Banking on God (If God Was a Banker - Book Review)

Book: If God Was a Banker
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Genre: Fiction (Thriller)
Published by: Rupa Publications
No. of pages: 260
Cover Price: Rs. 199


Sundeep and Swami are star students from Indian Institute of Management (IIM), one from Bangalore, the other from Ahmedabad. 
It is 1986. New York International Bank (NYB) is about to change how banking is done in India.
The two young geniuses join the bank and set on, what initially seems to be, a similar path.
At NYB, the two meet the third of the 'trio', Aditya. 

This is the second book by Ravi Subramanian that I have read. The first was God is a Gamer (2014).
If God Was a Banker was first published in 2007, Subramanian's first book.

I say 'trio', because the same three characters are there in God is a Gamer too. I am going about reading the books in reverse sequence. Well, it seems to be reading a flashback in a story.
God is a Gamer worked very well, without having read the previous works. But having read about the characters before, this book was more fun to read.

Back to If God Was a Banker. Sundeep and Swami start their careers together at NYB. Destiny (or shall I say 'God') had other things planned for them. Or one can justify it as their actions/ethics/convictions.

I have written before that I enjoy the fictions that revolve around facts. This book talks about India in late 80s onwards, and the ways of banking sector then and later.
Since my knowledge of such topics is minimal, it is a bonus when such books add to the knowledge packaged in an easy-to-read fiction with interesting characters.

In a couple of instances, relationships fell into a pattern rather too suddenly, a little too conveniently, that they stood out in the narrative. But the fact is the character it happened to was an unscrupulous, insensitive person and that could be explained as his ways.

In Ravi Subramanian's world of fiction, Good and Bad is usually as distinct as Black and White. Are they cliches or are they also true to the real corporate life, I wonder.


Ravi Subramanian's words from If God Was a Banker -
  • There are two basic things in life, which no South Indian will ever compromise on: The Hindu newspaper, and his morning cup of coffee.
  • He played the devil's advocate. He questioned every simple logic. He made sure that they thought through every option and every consequence of their actions.

I enjoyed reading If God Was a Banker. I have read God is a Gamer before, though. And the comparison was inevitable.
God is a Gamer is faster-paced in comparison. And its' story revolving around Bitcoins is more complex than If God Was a BankerGod is addressed to, referred to and thought of more openly in If God Was a Banker.

Ravi Subramanian's books are about the intricate balance between self-will and belief.
If God were a Banker, though, I wonder what world would be like. Ravi Subramanian's world is forgiving to most. If God were a banker, the banks would certainly be very different.


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