Monday, 25 January 2016

The quest for black and white - the twitter extremes

Shades of gray (I am not referring to the 50 shades variety) are a fact of life.
Nothing is black and white.
Why, then do we keep, searching for a perfect solution, a definitive yes or no, an extreme stand to take.

As I keep trying to decide on my own definitive stand, it is mind boggling to see the quick changed in the twitter trends.
Someone, somewhere is spending a lot of money, and using a lot of influence to get the twitter trends to shift tone.

#NehruBetrayedIndia was trending last night (January 24, 2016) when I last checked my twitter feed.
As I check it now, this morning, #NehruBuiltModernIndia is trending.

Not all praise in it though...

Rajdeep Sardesai took a rather extreme stand of his own in a tweet, which he later deleted.

The battle of mean and extreme continues...

Saturday, 23 January 2016

The Selfie Impact

Wikipedia defines a Selfie as -

selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a digital camera or camera phone held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick. Selfies are often shared on social networking services such as FacebookInstagram and Twitter. They are usually flattering and made to appear casual.

While reading tweets about Jaipur Lit Fest 2016 this morning, I read that Stephen Fry has made a New Year Resolution of 'No Selfies', which he is sticking to.

It lead to an interesting conversation on twitter with Neil Gaiman advising that Stephen Fry hand out paper cutouts of his face, JK Rowling going a step further suggesting that a caricaturist tag along and Alan Baxter gave an idea which, time permitting, I think all the authors would prefer. Alan Baxter tweeted - "It's a LitFest - scribble a quick descriptive paragraph with each person."

I think Stephen Fry took a good stand, considering @Anjhula tweet -

In 2014, The American Psychiatric Association (APA) officially confirmed that 'taking selfies is a mental disorder'. Actually they didn't.
It was reported by The Adobo Chronicles - Your Best Source of Up-to-date Unbelievable News.
They are a satire website and said that there are three levels of the disorder:
1. Borderline selfitis: taking photos of one's self at least three times a day but not posting them on social media.
2. Acute selfitis: taking photos of one's self at least three times a day and posting each of the photos on social media.
3. Chronic selfitis: Uncontrollable urge to take photos of one's self round the clock and posting the photos on social media more than six times a day.

This fake news was lapped up by everyone left, right and centre. It still gets forwarded on Whatsapp often enough in the name of public interest.

After all, it did seem possible enough.

In 2015, came the news of The Dangerous Art of the Ultimate Selfie.
"If 2014 was the year of the selfie, then 2015 took the art of self-photography to a new and dangerous level.
People are, quite literallly, dying to take a picture of themselves."

India had the most selfie-related deaths in 2015.

Going through the newspaper with my morning tea, I started reading the  news aloud to my family. My son, who is the selfie king of our family, gave me an exasperated look and said, "I know better than to go that crazy." I do admit that I had been thinking of his selfie sprees that make him be oblivious of all that is around him.

I was actually surprised to find a Wikipedia page of List of selfie-related injuries and death. There are already a lot of them listed there. And increasing.

The latest that I have read about is about the death of a 23-year old at a Fort in Jodhpur.

Selfies are not just about a new trend of clicking pics, or the convenience of clicking oneself when alone.

There is the problem of self-obsession.
And the insensitivity of taking selfies at the wrong time.

Then there is the problem of not enjoying the moment. There is this complaint against cameras that one is so busy capturing the moment on camera.

There was a question asked on Quora recently - "What makes a person boring?"

This answer - - by Bijaya Biswal tells a very interesting story and should be read.
He ends with -
What makes a person boring
Lack of observation.
Lack of imagination. 
Lack of curiosity.

Selfies have their time and place. It always comes back to the same, doesn't it... "Strive for Balance".

©Nimi Arora

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Destiny guides... (Book Review - Karey White's Broken Things to Mend)

Broken Things to Mend
Author: Karey White

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The dedication of Karey White's 'Broken Things to Mend' is:

For the lonely who are tempted to give up.
Don't do it.
Hang on to hope.

That is what this book leaves you with. Hope. And a smile.

This book is the first in 'The Power of the Matchmaker' series. And a charming start, it is.

'Broken Things to Mend' starts rather mysteriously, and then moves on to a sad note.

Celia is dispirited. She instinctively decides to go to a small town called Sisters.
Silas is lonely. He has made a decent life for himself. But is it enough?

Destiny does play its hand in ways that are beyond our comprehension. These two beautiful souls have an interfering Chinese lady.

The story of Celia and Silas is simple and convincing.

As the story unfolds, the truths  of their pasts are revealed. They sadden you, yet leave you anticipating for better.

Destiny guides us. We make our own choices. 
'Broken Things to Mend' is a sweet story of how the two work hand in hand.

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The text in italics are quotes from the book.

Thanks to 'I am a Reader' for sending a copy of the book to me in exchange for writing an honest review.

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Celia is in desperate need of a change--a change of scenery, a change of pace, and a complete redo of all relationships. Not knowing what else to do, she opens a map, closes her eyes, and lets fate decide her future. Then she packs her meager belongings and buys a one-way ticket to a little town on the fringes of Oregon's Deschutes National Forest called Sisters. She's wanted a family for years. Will she find one in Sisters? What Celia doesn't plan to find is a strange Chinese woman whose meddling ways keep throwing her in the path of a handsome, but reserved, forest ranger. But no matter how kind or dependable Silas seems to be, there are some things in Celia's past that neither of them can escape, and this time, the damage might be too much to mend. amazon get it add to goodreads   

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About the Author

Karey White
Author Karey WhiteKarey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist. She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.
      Blog Tour Giveaway - $50 Amazon Gift Card or $50 in Paypal Cash Ends 2/2/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, 18 January 2016

An intriguing read... (Book Review - Anupam Srivastava's The Brown Sahebs)


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The mysterious Ekant Baba - the Solitude-loving Sage of Varanasi passes away and leaves behind papers. This is the beginning of the intense, gripping and disturbing story of 'The Brown Sahebs'.

'The Brown Sahebs' begins in Varanasi. As the author describes Varanasi through first person narrative of Ekant Baba, my first impression was that the book is written by one who knows the city thoroughly and loves it.

As the story continues, to the kingdom of Teekra in pre-independence India, through the freedom struggle in other cities, and beyond, the words seize your imagination.

I have loved reading every single word of 'The Brown Sahebs'.
I am not exceptionally fond of reading about history or politics. I usually just skim over the write-ups on such subjects.
This book is not verbose on these subjects, but still manages to be meticulous and riveting.

'The Brown Sahebs' is a multi-layered story.
It is like reading the history of India, told by one who has keen understanding of the subject and an unerring expression.
Besides being a stark portrait of India's past and present, it also has timeless love stories, gross harsh realities, and soothing spiritual guidance.

"We have a path. Each one of us has a path but it takes a great deal of courage to find it and to tread it. That... is the greatest asceticism."

The words are beautifully, at times poetically, written. Words of profound thoughts and beliefs.

When I am reading a book, I like to mark the parts that I find interesting. Now, it helps in writing the review, yes. But I have always done it.
While reading 'The Brown Sahebs' I was spoilt for choice. There are lines worth quoting and philosophies that deserve to be pondered upon. There are phrases that make reading a pleasure and descriptions that create visions.

"What are friendships but relationships of power in which you draw something from someone and that someone takes something from you?"

'The Brown Sahebs' puts things in prespective. There are so many details that are lost when we look at history later, from a distant point of view. We become immune to the brutalities of our surroundings.

There is so much that was true for India long back, and sadly is true even now. It could be a depressing takeaway from 'The Brown Sahebs'. But it leaves me hopeful. And meditative.

"The change one brings about with one's actions is most often so small and gradual that it is invisible. But it is there all the same."

Anupam Srivastava's 'The Brown Sahebs' is a book that I loved and I highly recommend.

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The text in italics are quotes from the book.
Thanks to the book club for sending a copy of the book to me in exchange for writing an honest review.

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The Raja of Teekra, a dusty and forgotten kingdom near Lucknow, gets lucky when the British Resident visits him but also brings with him a leading revolutionary. The Raja enters India's struggle for freedom and is rewarded with a berth in the cabinet of free India. He is shocked to see the ministers and officers living and operating like their imperial masters but is suitably rewarded for his silence. As he begins to enjoy the good life of Lutyens' Delhi, the British capital which India's freedom fighters abhorred, he faces only one adversary in his plans—his journalist son Pratap. A novel that will blow you away with its depiction of love, passion, intrigue and betrayal.

Buy @
|amazon. com | | | Flipkart |

About the Author 

Anupam Srivastava was born in Lucknow, India, where his novel, The Brown Saheb's first part is set. However, he never lived there as his father and mother, Ashok and Veena Srivastava, lived in different parts of India. However, Anupam spent some of his childhood and most of his vacations in Lucknow where he flew kites and learnt about the craft of pigeon-flying. He went to a boarding school near Delhi, the Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Rai, where he played cricket but earned his college colours at St Stephen's College, Delhi, in cross-country running. He studied English literature (BA Hons and MA), won the college annual poetry prize while pursuing his MA, and being sure his vocation was writing and journalism, became a journalist with The Times of India in 1993. In 1999, he was awarded the British Chevening scholarship by the British government.

In 1999, he left journalism to work with the United Nations Population Fund in India in communications. Subsequently, Anupam worked with Oxfam India Society, Unicef and other development agencies. The Brown Sahebs is his first novel and tells the story of India not taking off its colonial clothing even as it became a democracy.

Anupam is married to Radhika Srivastava, and they have two children who figure in his children's novel, A Family Secret.

Stalk Him @


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Sunday, 17 January 2016

The tea leaves told the story - 100 Word Story

She watched him sleeping soundly, wondering whether to wake him up. She decided to let him sleep till she had her tea. 

As she entered the kitchen, the mess made her smile exasperatedly. She had left the kitchen spic and span last night. There was a pile of used tea leaves in a bowl near the sink. 

The tea leaves told her the story of her son’s late night . He gets to sleep undisturbed for a few more hours, she decided.

Written in response to the prompt 'The tea leaves told the story' -

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Inherited Enmity

Across the road, we looked at each other
My age he was, should have been a friend
My father hated his, the feeling reciprocated
The two had been friends, my grandma told
Seeking the same girl's affection started the war
A wrongly parked car, music too loud
There were reasons galore to keep the hatred alive
Across the road, we stared at each other
Grown ups now, enemies since birth
Few years passed, the fathers left us
Across the road, our sons stared at each other
The wives chose to let them be
Our sons became friends, the BFF kind
Across the road, we exchanged smiles
I chose to cross the road
And disown the inherited enmity

'A Foe Turned Friend'

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

cold spring

hovering over snow
butterfly anticipates change
-cold spring

©Nimi Arora

Prompt by and Shared with-

Monday, 11 January 2016

winter rose - haiku

The prompt for Carpe Diem #893 is a classical kigo for winter - Fuyusoubi (winter rose).

Winterroses (Image Source)

coated in white
playing hide and seek
winter rose

Prompt by and Shared with-
Carpe Diem #893 Fuyusoubi (winter rose)

Friday, 8 January 2016

Making of a Bestseller (Book Review - Ravi Subramanian's The Bestseller She Wrote)

The Bestseller She Wrote
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 391
Publisher: Westland Ltd

'The Bestseller She Wrote' is the story of Aditya Kapoor, a famous author, the Paperback King of India, who has it all. A good job, a flourishing writing career and a great family.
Enter, the young, vibrant Shreya Kaushik. Shreya has an ambition of being a bestselling author and she chooses to string along with Aditya.
What follows is a meandering tale of Love, Betrayal, and Redemption.

From the word go, Aditya Kapoor's character has a glimpse of (or more than a glimpse of) the author, Ravi Subramanian.
Aditya Kapoor has managed to keep the masses and critics equally enthused.

I have read two books by Ravi Subramanian before this - 'If God Was a Banker' and 'God is a Gamer'.
This book is unlike either. From what I have read about Subramanian's other books too, it is unlike any other book he has written before this.
Personal relationships reign higher in 'The Bestseller She Wrote'. Although the protagonist Aditya Kapoor works in a bank (the world of banking has played an important role in the previous two books I have read, as is obvious from their titles), his being an author forms the main plot of this story.

I found Shreya's character to be very unrealistic. Her actions were rather erratic and inconsistent.

The 'fictional' story of 'The Bestseller She Wrote' finds mention of many real people. In some cases, their actual names have been used, and at times, the names have been altered so little that it wouldn't be difficult to guess who is being written about.
Reading between the lines takes an all new meaning with such strong hints thrown around.

Aditya Kapoor gives a lot of contentious and cynical advice about the world of writing.

Aditya Kapoor says "Half the people, who have an opinion on current Indian authors, haven't even read them."
I do wonder if it is Aditya Kapoor's thoughts, or Ravi Subramanian's. I think as a reader the search for autobiographical touch from author is expected, since the story is about an author.
An author, who has a bank job, writes thrillers, and defends Indian authors.

The writing of 'The Bestseller She Wrote' is easy to read. The plot has many, and some very unexpected twists. The climax (in keeping with Subramanian's style) is a bit surprise.

©Nimi Arora

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I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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About the Author

Author - Ravi Subramanian (Image Source)

Ravi Subramanian’s Website:

Twitter: @subramanianravi

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Wednesday, 6 January 2016

shooting stars - haiku

impractical instinct
believe in magical miracles
star shoots

hope remains
shooting across the vastness
darkness blinks

Prompt by and Shared with-

Sweet chill - haiku

Sweet chill
that make them shiver
lips tingle

Prompt by and Shared with-

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Jennifer Ott's Desperate Moon (Book Review)

Desperate Moon
Author: Jennifer Ott

Publisher: Independent
Pages: 390
Genre: Victorian Era Historical Romance

Golden, melting, seductive eyes gaze out from the cover of 'Desperate Moon'. They don't look desperate.
In reality, at times, they are.
They are the eyes of Katerina, the vampire who has seen 600 years of life. She has experienced a myriad of emotions, not just of her own, but also of the humans whom she feeds on.

"With each person's blood you take, they become a part of you - your past and your future. I am not just one life. I am the lives of thousands I have tasted."

Desperate Moon is the story of an immortal who has chosen to live amongst humans. And struggles to blend in.

"People choose whom to despise and disperse rumors about. They make monsters of people in order to pitch propaganda, yet these monsters are real people with their own loves and loyalties."

'Desperate Moon' switches between Katerina's present day and her past experiences. There is a cynicism in her, which is to be expected, because of all she has seen. But there is still a hunger (pun not intended) for more, for love.

Katerina's struggles and her experiences leave behind wisdom which would hold the test of time for one and all.

"One thing I have learned on my travels is to always appear in control no matter how much you fear. It is the perception of courage and power that keeps others at bay. You need to learn to carry yourself with greater power."

As she finds it in Desperate Moon, there is also an analysis of why she is the way she is. A very interesting imagination of the scientific reasons behind Vampirism.

The language of Desperate Moon makes it an easy read.
I found the story is a little too lengthy, detailed and repetitive in places though.

'Desperate Moon' as a title is a reflection of Katerina's pain and loneliness.

"...only lonely, desperate people gaze at the moon as if it holds all the answers to our dreams and possibilities."

'Desperate Moon' is a story of a woman's struggle to fit in, of a Vampire's need to be accepted, a man's acceptance of unnatural with love.
'Desperate Moon' is an intense tale spanning across centuries, which has a lot of pain, but love conquers all.

©Nimi Arora

The text in italics are quotes from the book.
Thanks to the PumpUpYourBook for sending a copy of the book to me in exchange for writing an honest review.

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About the Author

Jennifer Ott (Author of Desperate Moon)
Inspiration comes from watching way too much Monty Python. The abstract and the absurd way of looking at normal life, not only offers humor, but questions many problems in society in a light-hearted manner. If we can laugh at ourselves, if we can laugh at life, problems do not seem quite so difficult to tackle.  In fact, problems are not as complicated as they seem; everything is very simple. If you can laugh at it, write about it and read about it, most likely one would think about it.

Author Jennifer Ott has written several satire fiction, Wild Horses, The Tourist and two non-fiction books Love and Handicapping and Ooh Baby Compound Me! She recently published, Serenidipidus and Edge of Civilization. She also is the host of the SuperJenius Internet Radio show on Artist First radio Network.

Jennifer Ott lives in Long Beach, California, enjoys the sun, the sand, the surf and lots of Mexican food.

Jennifer’s latest book is the Victorian era historical romance, Desperate Moon.
For More Information

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Book Excerpt:
Siegfried was still awake scouring over his texts when a knock sounded on his door. He checked the clock and grinned—just in time. He closed his books and strolled to the door. Upon opening it, he saw a dark face shrouded under the hood of a large cloak.
“Irena,” he said with a widening smile.
She stepped inside lowering her hood. “Here for my appointment, Doctor,” she said letting her cloak drop to the floor and exposing her nakedness to him.
He had met her during one of his house calls. She offered nanny services to one the elites who lived in the hills surrounding Prague. Siegfried always wondered why such a beautiful girl would give herself up to servitude when she could find a rich husband.
“Servitude would be marrying a rich man,” Irena once said to him, “freedom is being his servant. Mistresses gain a lot more than married women.”
Irena was greedy as such. Siegfried was only too happy to find himself tasty to her, yet he too shared her same philosophy. He offered his service in providing healing and care and once he left their front door, he was again a free man to his own mind and mission.
Not being able to resist the sight of her supple body, he pulled her close and kissed her face.
She pushed him away. “Doctor, you are still dressed.”
With haste, he removed his clothes starting with his pants that constrained him and his shirt which he struggled to remove. She laughed helping him tug the sleeves over his wrists. Once both were naked, he carried her to his bed where he rested her down on the feather mattress.

He lowered his face between the plump yet firm breasts of his nubile nightly visitor, traveled upward to the nape of her neck, and paused. Curiously, he nibbled and tasted her skin.
“That feels good,” she said with a sigh.
He lowered his body onto hers and pressed himself inside her continuing to thrust rhythmically as her head gently hit the headboard. She dug her nails into his back scratching his skin and drawing blood. He grunted pushing harder and faster.
Within a black swirl, Katerina appeared in the doorway. She watched Siegfried's blood run down the curve of his back as he made love to Irena. She moved toward him, elevating her palm just above him to feel his sexual energy.
He rolled over pulling Irena on top of him. She laughed, gyrating above. She too lowered herself nibbling on his neck. “Feel good?”
Siegfried widened his eyes suddenly seeing Katerina. He sat upright with fright. “Kat—!”
Katerina disappeared instantly.
Irena rotated her head in the direction of Siegfried's gaze and saw no one. ”Kat?”
Siegfried collapsed on the bed, the moment ruined.
Irena crawled off his body. “Who is Kat?”
“No one,” he said hoping she would believe.
She threw her cloak over her shoulders. “If you have another woman, Siegfried that is fine with me. Just refrain from screaming out her name while with me.”
He pulled on his pants. “No. It is not that. It was nothing. Just an illusion.”
“Maybe you are working too hard, too much stress,” she said gathering her stuff to leave.
“It is late. Stay,” he begged
Irena grinned and kissed his chin. “It is a short walk. I will be fine.” She blew him a kiss at the door.
Outside the wind howled and Irena held her hood tighter around her neck. She spun around and saw another cloaked shadow. “Hello!” she called and received no response. “Hello, is someone there?” She looked around fearful back-stepping to Siegfried’s door.
The shadow neared her with the force of a howling storm. Irena had no time to react when Katerina pierced her teeth into her neck. Irena’s life evaporated into Katerina. She vanished with Irena still in her embrace.

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  • Desperate Moon is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
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