Monday, March 26, 2012

Look at this place!!!

Image Source:Pinterest

Don't you just feel like melting into that window seat..*sigh*

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book Review - The Palace Of Illusions

Cover of "The Palace of Illusions: A Nove...

Title: The Palace Of Illusions.
Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.
Publisher: Anchor.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 384.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology.
Blurb: Here

I had read the summary of this book in Goodreads and decided that I need to get my hands on it taking into account my affinity towards mythology. Every Indian would be familiar with the two epics, Ramayana & Mahabharata. I still remember,when I was a kid how my family used to huddle in front of the television on Sundays to watch the TV version of Mahabharata. Even though I was familiar with the concept of Mahabharata, I was still at a loss about many important characters. So the choosing of this book seemed more appealing.

My Thoughts:
I was not sure how exactly I should review this book, especially since it deals with one of the most famous & powerful epics of India. So firstly I'll just go ahead and give you a very brief summary of Mahabharata. I stressed on, very brief, because the whole Mahabharata extends into 19 volumes! Yup!
Okay here we go..Mahabharata is the story of the Pandavas consisting of 5 brothers and their wife Panchaali and the Kauravas consisting of 100 brothers. The story, if vaguely told would be..Pandavas and Kauravas being cousins; their constant fight to get to the throne which each of the brothers think its their own. As from the TV show which I watched when I was kid, it was engraved in my mind that the Pandavas were the good guys and the Kauravas were the bad guys. However as time passed and thinking about it, its not all that simple. Reading this book proved my point. How,  as the point of view changes, the role of the good and evil too changes!
The language and the writing style is lucid and descriptive and very easy on the eyes. The words were like silk to touch!

In The Palace Of Illusions, the story is depicted from Panchaali aka Draupadi's point of view. Panchaali is the first person narrator. The 'palace' here is Indraprasth which is the palace which was built by the Pandavas and Panchaali, the only place where she felt home. The story begins with the naive Panchaali, then known as Draupadi, the daughter of King Draupad, who grows into a beautiful woman, how she has a premonition about the role to play in her life and how she is won in marriage by Arjun (3rd brother of Pandavas) and how to her horror she has to be taken as the wife of the rest of the Pandava brothers.

Krishna advising Arjun just before the War
The relationship between her and her mother in law Kunti is illustrated as one with mutual wariness making it more believable and practical.
There are scenes where Panchaali shows reluctance on being a mother to her children.'Less maternal', according to her.
The plot continues as she nurses an attraction towards Karna-sworn enemy of Pandavas, how vengeance and revenge comes in her way and how the great war happens.
What I liked the most was Panchaali came across as a person who is brutally honest about her weaknesses, shortcomings, selfishness, her attraction towards Karna and her friendship with Krishna, all the time making her more human. Humans make mistakes and may or may not learn from them making Panchaali one among them. She accepts the reasons behind the great war was herself, but if we look closer, she was just a catalyst for the war. There was already a lot of turmoil between the cousins.
Krishna, even though doesn't even touch a weapon in Mahabharta, according to my opinion could have stopped the war from happening.
The two characters I felt pity for was Karna and Bheema.

Karna- he was wronged and it was no fault of his. He deserved so much better. Even though Panchaali is portrayed as losing her heart to him, she still rejects him. The readers would empathize with that character.

Bheema- being the second brother in the Pandavas. Known to be the strongest. The one who fell head over heels for Panchaali, only to manipulated by her. She describes how even though she doesn't 'love' him, however does treat him like how a husband should be treated.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. Did it do justice to the epic? No Not really. As I mentioned it is a whole 19 volumes, and this book was a mere 384 pages. Nevertheless, for a person who is curious to know about this great epic from a woman's point of view, this is the book for you.

My rating:
Rating Policy

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Opinion renewed!

I have never really been a believer of lucky draw or lottery or anything of that kind.Maybe it's because I have not won anything.'Luck' was never on my side :| Having said that, winning in a couple of competitions during school/college is a totally different thing! :|| I was always skeptical about this whole sweepstakes/closeout scenario.I always thought there was a catch, a loophole!

What I am saying here, is about the ones where you win,just like that,without much effort from your side.Be it a small amount of discount on your next shopping or a grand cruise!

-How many of you have given lucky dip/scratch and win/giveaway/lottery a try?
-How many of you have waited in the long unruly queues not perturbed about the weather or anything  for that matter for Black Fridays so that you can get unbelievable discounts?
-How many of you have actually drank a whole bottle of Coke and thrown the bottle away without even a second thought of adding the code in Coke Rewards and getting some fancy rewards?I had just unearthed  the coke rewards knowledge very recently.Ignorant,you may call me.
-How many of you have really really checked Walmart bills to see that they have contests as well and the winner might get some substantial amount discount on their next purchase!

I must have tried once or twice and obviously never won a dime and never bothered to look back.I know a friend whose parents used to win some or the other prizes in contests like the ones I mentioned.Once,they even received couple of gold coins!!How,I wondered.There are a million people applying for these,how can we possibly win in that random lucky draw.Thus,we, I became complacent and ended up not bothered lazy to even try.
So I have never really tried them.There are numerous giveaways in various blogs and other sites.I have seen people getting excited over the prize and I wryly wonder,'What's the point ?!' I never did.I never bothered,until recently.
I thought,why not try,yet again.I mean I'm not losing anything by trying.Some months back we received a silver cutlery set from the airlines in which we had traveled to India and back.All that I did was enter the boarding pass code number.As simple as that!
I am a member of Goodreads and they host plenty of giveaways.Have I participated in any of the giveaways?Yes,I have and never won a single book..until TODAY!!! :D
Now you see what I am getting at,eh? ;)
I won!! I won!!
The book's name is Wife 22 :A Novel by Melanie Gideon

Out of 860 people requesting,I happen to be one of the lucky 60!!!!
Early morning,when I checked my mail,this is the first mail I saw, that I am one of the winners of the giveaway.There is still goodness left on earth :O So I have decided I am not going to stop myself in indulging in some safe betting.Bring it on sweepstakes/giveaways!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Book Review(s) - The Girl Who Played With Fire & The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest

Title: The Girl Who Played With Fire & The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest.
Author: Stieg Larsson.
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard.
Format: Paperback & Hardcover respectively.
Pages: 752 & 672 respectively.
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller.
Blurb: Here & Here.

 ****Mild Spoilers****

Since I was up to my ears with the third part of the series, 'The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest' , I thought it would be choicest if I reviewed both the books in the same post. In that way less hassle for me. :O

This is how I'll be addressing the names of the book.It's pain to write out the whole name.

Tattoo -The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Fire -The Girl Who Played With Fire
Nest - The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest

My Thoughts:

Ever since I finished reading Tattoo, I was more curious than ever. I wanted to know what lay in store in the next two books. For those who have read the second book, it's a known fact that there is no other way than to get the third book.
By now we are quite aware of the two key characters, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Fire takes us on a roller coaster ride into Salander's childhood. The book starts with Salander on a vacation in Caribbean with the money she obtains at the end of Tattoo, while Blomkvist is back in Millennium and is on the crusade to expose the sex trafficking trade. Salander,as we know is a world class hacker, hacks into Blomkvist's computer to find the project that he has been working on and stumbles across a familiar name, Zala and all hell breaks loose. On the eve of the publication, one of Millennium's free lancers and his girlfriend is found brutally murdered. To make things worse,the prime suspect is none other than our protagonist, Salander. She is wanted by the police and the ghosts from her past have decided to haunt her.
Blomkvist convinced of Salander's innocence decides to run an investigation on his own to prove Salander's innocence. With the help of Blomkvist,Salander comes face to face with her past. More characters unravel as the book progresses, more twists and turns leaving the readers breathless! And we thought we knew Salander by now. :|| A powerful, yet another unputdownable, pulse throbbing ride. Unlike Tattoo, the plot in Fire is not over, it is just the beginning and which continues in the third book Nest.

      ***By the time I finished Fire, all I could think was,"What happens now?". The reason being, the author leaves the readers by the straw by portraying Lisbeth at her vulnerable most. She is shot!
God I died a little inside.***


As mentioned above, Salander is shot and it is Blomkvist who finds her near death. This fact made me feel quite uneasy. Instead of an action packed adventure like Tattoo and Fire, we find ourselves reading a strategically planned, slower paced, court room crime fiction. The plot starts with Salander being charged with 3 murders and she being hospitalized with gunshots to her shoulder, hip and brain.What we thought began as case against Salander becomes a case against Swedish Government and legal glitches. Again, a number of new characters were brought about and nothing seemed out of place, except for Berger's stalker. I found it unnecessary. The plot would have gone well even without that scenario.
The courtroom scene was commendable. The other factor which I felt was, the most secure & secretive 'Section' was quite easily fooled by Blomkvist and his gang. Maybe the author was trying portray a picture that the 'Section' has deteriorated in its quality of work as the years passed. Another loose end was Camilla Salander, twin of Lisbeth Salander. Even though she is mentioned in all the 3 books, the readers don't get to witness her, I was anticipating Camilla's arrival somewhere in the story.
Overall a gripping series. I absolutely loved Salander. She has made, being weird the new sexy!
Now that the series is over, I cannot help but feel remorse, for the author of such talent and imagination. Hats off to you Mr Steig Larsson.

My rating:
Rating Policy

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Book lust

R decided that he will get me some books from Amazon since I'm such a dahling wife! :D He told me to do my research and give him the book details.I made a list of 20 books 8) **What did you expect?**
We negotiated and in the end...Oh my God! Oh my God!!!

9 books!!!!
Not bad huh?!

So these are the books we have ordered :

1. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

2. Sister of My Heart: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

3. The Vine of Desire: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

4. It by Stephen King

5.The Red Tent: A Novel by Anita Diamant

6.A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

8. The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly


9. The Poet by Michael Connelly

Heee :O :e

Knitting escapades!

Soo..I have been knitting all these days,that's why the silence! Plus, I have been having a serious lack of motivation to write.Then,I thought I could write about my knitting phase.As some of you have noticed,I am the kind of a person,who if fancied by something,would want to know everything about it and master the skill *not master exactly* 
Some time back,it was cooking,that I had taken a soft spot for,then it went on to nail art,and now knitting.Fortunately or unfortunately even though I am over a phase in my life,I don't really leave it at it.I mean,I am like a (read would like to be) jack of all trades and master of get the picture right?
By now R doesn't flinch anymore if one fine morning his wife has declared she needs to be an expert in playing the bongo! *smirk*

Anyhoo,what I am trying to say is,right now knitting is my current obsession.'The girl who kicked the hornet's nest'  lies on my couch unattended and I have a gnawing guilty feeling.I'll come to you,I will..How in the hell am I supposed to read when I have both my eyes and hands busy knitting away,eh?Everyday I swear I'll read,but then when I lay my hands on my knitting needles and yarn,I literally cannot stop! I swear!!

I don't really remember my initial reaction to knitting when I was a kid.I didn't really have a choice.It was compulsory in school.I cannot remember whether I was frustrated when I couldn't get it right.All I know now,is that I love the way a simple ball of yarn turns into a scarf or a cap or a sweater or whatever you want it to be.I am used to knitting a scarf in the most normal,plain jane manner.I have never ventured out into the realms of the unknown land of knitting.I was happy where I was,until one fine day one of my friends,N shows me a video of a kinda lacy looking scarf.The video looked quite easy and I was intrigued.After 4-5 pulling my hair out futile attempts,I managed to get the knack of it.Ladies & Gentlemen,without much ado,here is the much discussed scarf.

Close Up


After gloating around for some days,I was bored again and wanted to knit a cap,but not just any cap.I wanted to know how to knit a beret cap.For those who don't know what a beret cap is,go google it :P All I could find was tutorials on knitting a beret cap with a crochet or circular needles or double pointed needles, and here I thought there was just one type of knitting needles!! :||
After hours and days of researching,I found a blog with a tutorial explaining how to knit a beret cap with straight needles.What more do I need huh?
So I started off with the next project.I had no real clue how it's going to end,however I was in for a pleasant surprise.I'll show you how it came out.

Quite the proud female out here. :D This weekend I had bought some knitting supplies;more yarn,more needles which includes crochet needles as well.Right now I am trying to knit another cap,its a little more lacy.So I guess in the next few days I can be found fiddling with my needles.I am yet to review 'The girl who played with fire'. I will.I will.
(Photos Courtesy: R)