The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die- A Review!

As a reader, when I start reading a book, the first thing I look for is a connect and then the flow of events which helps me to visualize the plot in my own mind. Some books are there, which you just read, and some are there, which you simply love. Because you can relate to them so well and every twist and turn is so gripping that you cannot leave it in between.

I recently read the English translation of Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s ‘Gyanar Baksho’ by Anurava Sinha under the name ‘The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die’, published by BEE Books, Kolkata. When you have already read the original version, you tend to be a bit skeptical on how the translated version is going to be. But, I am glad that I picked this one up. As mentioned earlier, I could connect with it more than anything.

The translation has been beautifully done- simple yet sophisticated language. I almost never felt that there was a lack of narration or sections have been hurried upon. The language seems to have beautifully blended with the story and the best part is that it helped me visualize, just like the original one. The dialogues are easy to interpret. The language is so simple yet fluent that I have started reading the story to my daughter and she is able to understand it as it is. I am sure she will love the book when it gets over. Kudos to Mr. Sinha for translating this masterpiece so that many more people are able to read and enjoy the story. Even people, who might not have seen the movie will be able to understand the drama, the flow, and the climax.

I particularly like the title of the book. It intrigues the reader in different ways. One might have a perception about it, but by the end of the book, the reader might get a whole new surprise. The book has all the elements of a short story and it holds the reader’s attention until the end.

Overall, it is a must-read for book lovers who love classic Bengali pieces and also short stories, which will leave you in awe. I give a 4 rating to this book and recommend it for reading. The original one is a wonderful book, and the translated version is worth every bit. It is great to read famous Bengali short stories in the translated form, and applauses to Arunava Sinha, who have attempted this. Hoping to read many more classics and it is a great way to take Bengali literary works to the masses overcoming the language barrier.

For those who might not know about the book, here is a teaser:

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die is a narration from the protagonist, who comes as a young bride into a family of landlords, but the only thing left is their pride and a big mouth. Gradually, she gets adjusted into the family. Her encounters with the most elderly member of the family, Pishima, isn’t too good. But, when Pishima starts interacting with her after her death as a ghost and gives her the prized possession that is a box of jewelry, their equation changes. Next follows a series of ups and downs in the story, where the shy and timid bride emerges as a saviour of the family, where men are almost nincompoops.

**This is an early review and thanks to BEE Books for sending me the copy for review. The book will soon be available on Amazon, Flipkart, and other online portals. So, please do order your copy and enjoy this lovely short story.

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My Experience at VLCC (Courtesy: WorldOfMoms)

#VLCCStyleStatements

Beautiful skin requires commitment, not a miracle.” – Erno Laszlo.

This is what I realized after a session at VLCC, Indiranagar, Bangalore. At my age, skin care is very important in order to rejuvenate it from time to time. But, being the mother of an extra-energetic toddler and a ‘working from home’ professional, the ‘commitment’ part becomes really difficult. So, when I got this complimentary VLCC package from WorldOfMoms, I was elated! Finally, I was going to enjoy a nice and peaceful massage after ages.

I went for a complimentary facial on Saturday, March 11, 2017. World of Moms had scheduled the appointment for me, and it was such a pleasant experience! I was warmly greeted by Debarothi and Malhar at the VLCC center. As I was waiting for them to prepare my room for the facial, they took me for my body composition test.

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The machine recorded my height, weight, and other parameters and generated a neat little report instantly. I was given a personalized counseling session based on my report, and what my ideal parameters should look like. The different VLCC Slimming and Weight-loss programs were discussed with me. I am glad that this test was done because I could see the real picture of my health, which most of us women tend to ignore due to lack of time and because we get tied up with responsibilities, especially after motherhood.

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Next, they took me to check my skin type so that an optimum facial treatment could be decided upon. The analysis informed me that my skin had become quite dry, mainly due to lack of proper care. Soon, I was introduced to Rama, who did my facial.

She inquired about my skin, and what kind of facials I have been doing. Based on my requirements and preferences, we decided to go with the Clarifying De-Pigmentation Facial called Envia from VLCC. It was to remove pigmentation and dark tan on the skin, giving it a fresh look.

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Rama gave me a really good massage, using proper techniques and strokes; it was really comforting for me. She kept asking intermittently whether everything was going okay – whether the pressure was fine, if there was any burning sensation, especially because my skin was sensitive. She did not leave my side through the entire treatment, and there was no lag in her step either. We also had an amicable and pleasant conversation, where she told me how my pigmentation can spread if not paid due attention to at the right time. She also briefed me about the different therapies and treatments I can take at VLCC for my skin and hair.

The facial took almost an hour. I also availed a few other services. The rooms and sheets were clean and everything was very well-maintained . The ambiance of the place was also nice – there was a pleasant and sweet fragrance in the room, and light music too. Overall, the feeling was really relaxing and soothing.

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The complete package worth around INR 2500 was complimentary on behalf of VLCC and I got this opportunity through WorldOfMoms. I am really thankful to both of them for this enriching and relaxing experience. I walked out with a lovely, refreshed face and of course a nice experience.

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I would recommend all my friends to try the VLCC beauty and slimming packages because they truly deliver quality, and results can be seen outright. Skin care is very important, not only from the beauty perspective, but also to stay healthy and refreshed, both from inside and outside. So moms, do take out time from your busy schedule and commit yourself to a skin care regime.

#VLCCStyleStatements

Book Review : 15/1 Story Avenue by Avishek Gupta

Short stories are like a stress-buster for me. They take immediate effect and they can cater to any emotion. They can be funny, horrifying, romantic, sad; any emotion, a human might feel. And, the beauty of short stories is that it keeps you engaged till the end. However, this depends a lot on how tactfully the author has approached the genre or theme, and how easily his/her content relates and connects to the reader(s).

And, Avishek Gupta has done a good job in his latest release, 15/1 Story Avenue. It is a collection of 15 soulful stories, which will evoke a myriad of emotions in you. They are simple, day-to-day concepts which can happen to anyone. It was a ‘relaxing’ read for me, as I could easily connect with the characters. Overall, I liked what I read in 15/1 Story Avenue and kudos to Avishek for this wonderful read. In many instances, the language was funny and witty.

What I liked: The language is simple, and easily relatable. The flow of the stories was easy to follow and each one ended with a thought or emotion or answer for the reader. I also like the cover image and the description. Keeps the reader wondering what’s inside. The words were properly spaced and the font was easy to read. The social angle in a few of them was also intriguing and makes the reader ponder on it.

My favourite ones: I particularly like Mandroid and The Stupid Bug called Love. They had an unexpected twist, which I always cherish in a short story. Even, The Perfect Photograph was a nice one because it depicted something, many of us might have come across. The thought was beautiful.

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Cover Image of story- MANDROID

 

What I expect: I would love to read from the author. I look forward to read more in different genres like satire, humour, horror (in case, the author wants to explore). The shades of romance and social norms have come out well, and I am sure, Avishek will surprise his readers with a greater variety next time.

My rating: 4 out of 5. I loved wandering in his Story Avenue, enjoying the stories on my way.

Wishing him more success and best of wishes for his upcoming endeavours.

Review – happibo, ready-made food products for babies!

As a mother of an infant or a toddler, what are some of the major challenges you face:

  • Picky eater?
  • Lack of nourishment?
  • Variety of food, you need to cook?
  • Lack of time to make nutritious food every day?
  • Food woes while travelling?

Well, I am sure, these are a few worries, which every other mom faces, and are stressed to find a solution. Well, frankly speaking, there might not an end-to-end solution, but there can be an optimum one. And, when the solution comes from a fellow mom, you can be assured that it is well-researched, nutritious and tasty too!

So, here we have a healthy and affordable solution to all your worries, and it is called, happibo. They make ready-to-feed, baby food products for infants and toddlers, which are made from 100% natural ingredients, and caters to the culinary norms and tastes of Indian babies. This is also a great solution when you are travelling out and you worry about what to feed your baby.

Indian Taste

The best part is these have been made from natural ingredients and have healthy options of both fruits and vegetables, which kids often dislike. But, since these are in puree form or meal chunks, they wouldn’t mind. And, all the products have been made keeping the Indian palate in mind

Packaging and Usage

The food products come in nicely packed containers, with all necessary information on the pack. The containers are microwave safe, so you can heat before giving your child. It is best to use the products within 3 months from the date of manufacturing. Once opened, you need to refrigerate the pack and finish within 2 days. You need to mix the ingredients well before use.

No Preservatives

These products do not have any added salt, sugar, preservatives, colour and transfat in them, so they are healthy options for infants and toddlers. The process in which they are made does not require any extra additive or chemicals. They use a temperature-pressure combination, which is unique to each product and helps to maintain a fine balance between nutrition, taste and safety.

Research shows that Indian toddlers, between 1 and 3 years, get only a part of their recommended daily allowance (RDA) of green vegetables, pulses, fruits etc. And this leads to a prolonged period of malnutrition as the food habits don’t change as much with age. So, happibo is a great relief for mothers to give nutritious food options to their child, which they will actually like.

Some of the important things to note:

Products available:

Snacks Apple Puree (INR 225), Pumpkin Red Lentils Puree (INR 125), Mango Sweet Potato Puree (INR 125), Spinach Pumpkin Soup (INR 125), and Red Pepper Carrot Puree (INR 125).

Meals– Broccoli Carrot Kichadi (INR 150) and Ragi Pasta with Red Pepper Sauce (INR 150)

Suitable Age Group: 6 months to 2 years

Availability: Available ONLY in Bangalore. In stores right now. Will be available online from coming week

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/happibofoods/?fref=ts

What I liked about happibo?

“I tried a pack of Apple Puree and Ragi Pasta, and my daughter really like it. And, the best part was that I was able to add seasoning like salt and sugar from outside as required to make the taste according to what my daughter likes.”

Some of the other things that I really liked about happibo are:

  • Double packed containers, both to avoid contamination and so that the content doesn’t spill once you open
  • USFDA Approved Microwave safe containers, which are free from BPA, so easy to heat
  • Content is enough (215 grams) for one serving, so you can store in freezer for the next time too
  • Easy to feed from the container, and you seal it and keep for next use
  • Nice and cute packaging, which is travel-friendly with no chances of spilling
  • Rightly flavoured for Indian infants and toddlers (up to 2 years)
  • Rightly priced and available in major stores

My verdict:

Finally, we have ready-to-feed. Baby food products in India, something similar to Gerber. It will be a great help for working moms as well to ensure that your baby is getting the right nutrition. And, for moms with picky eaters, this will definitely be a saviour.

Mommies, time to chill as healthy food is on its way to your child’s stomach. Keep calm and try happibo, for happi meals and snacks for a healthy and happy baby.

About happibo

This is the brainchild of Harshada Joshi, mother to an energetic son, Avyan, with around 10 years of experience in the Healthcare industry. Along, with co-founders, Bhagwati and Satya Palukarthi, she ensures that none of the products are harmful to babies, and the best of standards are maintained. Along with her team and support from her husband, Rohit, Harshada strives to make this brand a household name and mommy’s first choice for their babies.

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Image Courtesy: All Image have been provided by happibo

 

Review of Mobile Back Cover from HAPPOZ!

Now-a-days, we not only want a stylish smartphone in our hands but also a quirky and trendy back cover to go with it. The mobile back cover kind of depicts YOU in a way like whether you like a witty one line or a quote, whether you are a movie buff or you prefer a particular genre or character.

In terms of design and overall look, mobile back covers have evolved a lot over time. From, plain, solid colours, stripes, checks or patterns, to vibrant images, cartoons, to quirky quotes, celebrity caricatures, and personalized photos and messages, mobile back covers are no longer just an accessory. It is a fashion statement, if I may put it like this.

It is not only a personal buy, but also can be a gift for someone, when you know the person really well. These can be funny, colourful, funky, and anything that can help someone in front of you, make an opinion about you or your taste, or to simply make someone smile at an image or text.

Everybody likes a good and attractive mobile back cover, unless you like the bare-dare look of your phone. Mobile back covers are not only for the look, but also to safeguard your device against damages from a fall. So, we all look for something durable yet trendy, As a matter of fact, there are too many in the market, and it might get difficult to research and choose.

Like many of you, I was also searching for the ‘perfect’ mobile back cover. And, I am glad that my search ended at happoz. In terms of design, I found just the right thing I was looking for. And, when I browsed through their site, I was enthralled. They are not just into regular apparel and mobile merchandise, they know the niches and the expectations, just right!

The Product: I got a mobile back cover for my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge from happoz, and frankly I loved it. There is a wide range of mobile covers available on their website for almost every mobile phone brand, you can think of. The product received is as per specifications. The design and colour looks fine, and the fit is also perfect. The material is also good with a matte finish.

You can find a huge repository of mobile back covers, mugs, T-shirts and sippers with new and trendy designs.  You might have a tough time to choose, but if you know what you are looking for, you will definitely find a match.

The Specifications:

Some of the important information related to the product is:

  • The case is printed on all the 3 sides.
  • The design doesn’t fade and has a lifetime warranty
  • The matte finish is free from scratches
  • The high quality plastic protects your phone
  • The fit is convenient with all necessary gaps

Some of the other facilities available are:

  • Cash on Delivery is available and dispatch is done within 24 working hours
  • The product reaches you in 2-5 days depending on your location
  • Easy exchange or refund is available for mobile covers
  • They also have customizable mugs, mobile covers and sippers

 The Verdict:

I would recommend all the readers to visit happoz for any of your requirements for mobile covers, sippers, and mugs. You will get a ready made collection of unique products as well as you can customize with your pics. The products are reasonably priced and value for money. You also get a 10% discount on your first purchase. The description and specifications are clearly mentioned with each product and they are quite affordable.

About happoz:

As the name suggests, the aim is to make you happy. So, they have amazing designs and products in their library, which makes you happy. Apart from back covers, they have a unique collection of mugs, sippers and T-shirts too.

Check out their mobile cover collection HERE.

Check out their mug collection HERE.

You can also customize these, except T-shirts. You can purchase the product HERE, and send them pictures to their e-mail id for customization.

Their products are reasonably priced. Customer satisfaction is their priority; their team is innovating, and adding attractive products and designs every day.

So, if you are looking for a cool back cover for your new phone or want to replace the old one or want to gift customized merchandise, just type h-a-p-p-o-z and you are glad that you did. So, get your new accessories from happoz and get geared to flaunt it!

Check out the cool cover I got

Link to this product: http://happoz.com/product/s7-edge-cases-awesome-wife/

Image Courtesy of Featured Image: happoz.com

Few Movies and Books- Making Them Popular!

There are so many books and movies, which we read or see and FORGET, but some of them leave a long-lasting mark in our mind and hearts. They somehow strike a familiar chord of emotion even if they are not star-studded, box office blockbusters or with a high literary rank.

For me, these are quite a few, probably because unknown faces and not-so-popular personalities do not mar the amazing effect of a movie plot or content of a book. They keep your expectations coming and you get something new and exciting out of it. You can say the experience is new and un-predictable.

I will list few such movies and books (among many others), which someone left a lingering thought in my mind and they are not probably masterpieces.

MOVIES

Delhi Belly- I found this 2011 flick quite interesting though it failed to impress the mass. Actually, the subtle transitions and sequences in the movie were quite engaging (somewhat like Tarantino flicks). The events happened in quick succession for example, when they held up Arup and Nitin at gunpoint, but the course of events went on to rescue them. The plot of enthralling on how three ordinary guys got entangled in a crime web; and how they made their way out of it. It was quite an uncanny plot with a great performance from these budding actors.

On similar lines, I loved the satire Phas Gaya Re Obama (2010) because of its quirky depiction and engaging plot.

Coming to romcoms, I enjoyed watching Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kate (1998), a modern light comedy from Hrishikesh Mukherjee. It is always a pleasure to watch his movies because of their sheer simplicity and happiness quotient. Yeh Tera Ghar Yeh Mera Ghar (2001) from Priyadarshan also enjoyable as it brought out a naked truth, but in a comic wrapper. The characters in both are simple and down to earth, ones you can relate to.

I have always been a huge fan of horror and paranormal flicks; guess I have hardly missed any. I guess one of my very first encounters with horror movies was this 1965 classic, Dr. Terror’s House of Horror. It might not have a great plot or in the league of legends like The Omen, but somehow it still leaves that eerie feeling. It has five stories and a main storyline to connect them- it might be very simple and unimpressive one in modern times, but it surely made me cling to my mother when I had seen it in my childhood.

Another movie, which I liked among all the modern paranormal movies is The Rite (2011), featuring Anthony Hopkins. He is an actor, who can penetrate your soul with his eyes, I feel. Such powerful depiction of a priest and then personifying a demon was extraordinary. It doesn’t have ghosts flying in from here and there or people vomiting, but it has such a subtle way of growing fear in you. I loved the use of ‘the fear of the unknown’, which was shown in simple yet gripping plot.

Movies with succeeding challenges have always been close to my heart. They show life, it’s roadblocks and the zeal to move ahead. They simply INSPIRE me. I guess animations do it the best and for me every animation is a masterpiece. But, I would like to mention two movies (not animations), which truly justifies the statement, YOU CAN DO IT.

Race The Sun (1996) and School of Rock (2003), will always have that special place in my heart, which makes me want to do something in spite of failure. A bunch of teenagers in a small town from varied backgrounds, a school teacher and a coach come together to achieve their dream, fighting all odds and hurdles.  Race The Sun had stars like James Belushi and Halle Berry, but I guess the others were the ‘true’ stars in his movie.

Jack Black, a talented actor, who can probably pull off anything (much like Jim Carrey- I just adore him) portayed a music enthusiast and was considered a failure. But, then found the kids, who not only made their way to the top, but fulfilled their dreams in every way. I just love this movie and of course the way Jack Black portrays this role in School of Rock.

Dirty Dancing series is quite a popular and favourite one. I particularly love the Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004) because of its beats, rhymes and steps. I really liked the starting street dance sequence when Katty and Javier met for the first time.

In the war movie genre, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) is worth a watch, if you have liked Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998) or even the miniseries, Band of Brothers (2001). Tears of the Sun (2003) and Blood Diamond (2006) are  also good.

The Kingdom (2007) has been one of my all-time favourites on terrorism, more than A Mighty Heart (2007), The Hurt Locker (2008) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012). Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) on 9/11 strikes and Black Friday (2004) on 1993 serial bomb blasts are pioneers in this genre. Loved both of them. However, The Kingdom is one of those movies, which I can watch over and over again, mostly because of its plot, suspense and gripping action sequences.

Guess, my list is getting a bit too long, so I will wind up with one more last movie, which I love every time I watch it. It makes me fall in love all over again with my all-time favourite Hollywood actress, Sharon Stone. What a lady and what a powerful performance in The Quick and The Dead (1995). Wild wild west be not one of my favourite genre, but this one took away my heart. It is all about guns and goons, revenge and love and everything a cowboy movie should have. But, I loved the female protagonist, which Stone played- her anger, her strength, her pain and her past. Her small stint of romance with Russell Crowe was sensual, but mostly it was her eyes that hunted Gene Hackman to his death. This movie also features Leonardo DiCaprio in a short role, one of his very first movies. Though, this movie had big names, but probably it wasn’t as successful.

BOOKS

I guess, this list is bigger than the earlier, but don’t worry, I will keep it very short.

Many of us grew up with Sidney Sheldon thrillers under our pillow or inside text books. His books had gripping plots, engaging storyline, powerpacked female protagonists and of course chilling suspenses and climax. I will mention any of his famous books, but rather a not-so-popular one called Catoplus Terror. You will hardly find this along with other Sidney Sheldon series or in stores, but this was an awesome read about a terrorist named Carlos and a continuous battle between the masterminds to catch him. The climax ends with the real identity of Carlos, which nobody had expected. Probably, not one of the finest from him, but surely an engaging one. I still have it with me.

Two more books, which can be never be masterpieces, but worth a read are In The Line of Fire- A Memoir (2006) by Pervez Musharraf, where he expresses his point of view of the Kargil war and Gorwing Up Bin Laden (2009), complied by Jean Sasson based on interviews with his wife (Najwa Bin Laden) and son (Omar Bin Laden), a true and ‘up, close and personal’ story of one of the most powerful man on earth.

I am a huge fan of Jean Sasson books and I just love the Princess series; such a true and honest depiction of women in ‘that’ part of the world. I guess, this is our best chance to actually know about them. The ones I read and like- The Princess Trilogy, Ester’s Child, Love in a Torn Land, Mayada – Daughter of Iraq. These are not fictions or fantasy- these are tales of real people, who actually lives a way, quite different from us. I love the way she brings out their story and narrates their pleasure and pain.

There is one more book on similar lines, which I liked is Tear of the Desert by Halima Bashir and Damien Lewis, a woman’s true story of surviving the horrors of Darfur. Reminded me of The Diary of Anne Frank. This is not as popular as I Am Malala, but a story worth reading.

Coming to an Indian context, Shame and Daughters of Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera also bring out a girl’s struggle and survival against honor killing and that too in a foreign land. I am not sure if these books are liked by many, but somehow I like reading them as they are true stories about women like me, but in different corners of the world and in ‘different’ circumstances.

I am not sure if these would have been masterpieces, but they surely have a special place in my memories.

Please do leave a comment if any of these are your favorites too.

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Pic Courtesy: http://www.livescribe.com/blog/noteworthy2/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/books-movies.jpg


This is for the IndiSpire prompt this week- “Review a great book [if you review books] or a great movie [if you review movies] that failed to get the attention of mainstream audiences. Let’s help a masterpiece to also become popular through blogging #UnknownMasterpiece

Review of Little Women – A Guest Post

Scribbles@Arpita

Write me           aGuest PostOn the third Saturday in July, I bring you another guest post in the Re-living the Classics series. In Re-living the Classics, you send me your reviews of your favourite classic which I publish as guest posts.

Today’s post is contributed by Debolina. She is an enthusiastic blogger and freelance writer. Don’t forget to check out her blog and leave a comment for her!


Review of Little Women

Guest Post by Debolina

Do you remember what we did when we were young and did not have the likes of mobile phone, Facebook, iPads and others modern gadgets…we READ!

We still read, but somehow I feel the charm of reading evergreen classics like The Tale of Two Cities, Treasure Island, Pride and Prejudice, Gone with the Wind and others, will never stimulate a young reader’s mind today like it used to do for us. Reading books back then, was…

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