Thursday, August 30, 2012

731 days....! Aah well who's counting :)

This is one of those occasions which happens once a year when we (me&R) are supposed to more likely *than usual*  to declare our unconditional love towards each other. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

Today we celebrate our second wedding anniversary. 2 years together, away from our family and friends. Together we found our best friend and our soulmate in each other (atleast that's what I think). We had decided to keep it simple this year since, the first anniversary was more like a huge gathering and yours truly cooked every morsel of food. :| Remember this?
All I can say is that he is my best friend, my rock, my anchor, my biggest critic, literally my better half & my daily dosage of sunshine  read positiveness & laughter. Heights of cliche- I cannot believe it's been 2 years. True story though! On the other hand, sometimes I feel as though I have known him forever.
This man puts up with my crazy quirky side- he may as well join in the gala. So here we are, the crazy, silly, awkward couple living our own dysfunctional life driving each other crazy and falling in love everyday.Happy Anniversary, my love.
2 years and I'm game for another 50!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review - The Hunger Games Book 1

Title: The Hunger Games.
Author: Suzanne Collins.
Publisher: Scholastic Press.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 374.
Genre: YA, Adventure, Dystopian.
Blurb: Here.

May the odds be Ever in your favor!!
Yet another book review of Hunger Games in blogosphere! Everybody seems to have already read the trilogy. Where was I till now? :| Strange fact: my less than a handful friends haven't even heard of this series!(Yes, I'm talking about you know who :| ) So there is no point in me raving or criticizing  the book :( They just wont give a damn! My only option, obviously is my corner here.

My Thoughts:
Where do I begin? There has been a lot of typing and backspacing going on here for quite some time now. Since its a trilogy there will be spoilers of some sorts.Well, I can stay out of spoilers for Book 1, however  in the case of book 2 and 3 it looks doubtful.
The Hunger Games is set in a dystopian future in the ruins of what was once known as North America now called Panem. One shiny, luxurious, extravagant Capitol and 12 districts from where the Capitol obtains different economic commodities. For instance, District 12 is known for its coal mines. Initially there were 13 districts, however District 13 was completely wiped out by the Capitol in a rebellion war. To remind the remaining districts the power and how far the Capitol can go, to keep the districts in line, they invented a bizzare game called the Hunger Games where a boy and girl from every district between the ages 12-18 are chosen to fight to death in an arena till a lone victor stands. The victor then,lives a life of luxury.
There has been rumors that, The Hunger Games is a copy of a Japanese book called Battle Royale . I haven't read the book, but as per Wikipedia's first few lines,the plot seems disturbingly similar. That was a quite a downpour on my enthusiasm :|| Thanks for that, R.Hmpph! With a little skepticism, I started off. What should I say, other than I was hooked, from like page1. Readers, this is one fast paced book so hold on tight. There were so many instances wherein I caught myself holding my breath due to the action packed suspense.
Katniss Everdeen, later known as the girl on fire volunteers to replace her younger sister, Primrose Everdeen for the 74th Hunger Games. Peeta Mellark, the boy who was chosen from district 12. Ladies, you will love him.Well, atleast I do. :d Other notable characters, Gale Hawthorne- closest friend of Katniss. Together they had gone on many hunting expeditions to bring food to their families tables, with whom Katniss can be herself. Haymitch-A victor from district 12, also the mentor for Katniss and Peeta.
Katniss is portrayed as a strong minded girl for whom her family (mother and younger sister) is both the source of her consolation and concern. On the other hand,Peeta-the baker's son. The ideal romantic. Great with words that the audience would eat right out his hand.
The action part-I was mortified by the idea where young tributes (24 of them) fight for their survival by killing the others. It was a little too much to digest. The saving part was the subtle 'real/unreal' love that Peeta and Katniss had between them during the games. I knew there was a triangle love story lurking in the horizon. More of that in the next book-Catching Fire.
The book is written in such a manner that you hang onto each and every word. You can feel the uneasiness building up as to what will happen next. What new horror would unravel.. Fast paced and the build up was just too much to resist.
The only thing which put me off was the author's massive detailing and explanation regarding the clothing and makeup of Katniss. Don't get me wrong. I am a clothes-makeup person. But this is a book of survival. Does looks really matter in the arena? I don't think so.Other than that a sure page turner!!

My rating:

P.S-Catching Fire (Book2)&Mockingjay(Book3) Reviews coming up soon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book Review - The Watch

Title: The Watch.
Author: Joydeep Roy- Bhattacharya.
Publisher: Hogarth, Random House UK.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 336.
Genre: Literary Fiction, War.
Blurb: Here.

'The Watch' by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya was the third book I had won in Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway. The first one being,Wife 22, the second being 'Shades of Truth' an unbelievable bummer of a book which I promptly misplaced it somewhere and now I don't know the ending. Not that, I'm dying to know. :|
Anyhoo, I knew 'The Watch' is a war related book. I knew it had a strong female character and I knew that the author is an Indian.Three reasons to incite my inquisitiveness.

My Thoughts:
The Watch is a powerful book which would most likely tug at your heart,emotionally drain and maybe even manage to confuse you. The book is about a legless Afghan girl who travels over 20 kilometers to claim her brother's body from an American platoon so that she can give him a proper burial. Well, it's not just about her,the novel is voiced and reiterated form multiple perspectives. Many a time,a particular scene is recurrent, from different first person standpoint.
Nizam, the Afghan girl is compared to Antigone from the Greek Mythology who attempts to get her brother a proper burial even though he was deemed a traitor. I felt the characters were very real, each of them dealing with their own demons. All the characters are so overwhelmingly human that there is no other way than to feel for them. The trauma, the pain, the confusion, the longing to be back with their family. The confusion setting in at Nizam's appearance at the outpost in the parched land of Kandhar. Is she telling the truth? Is she a suicide bomber? Is she a just a distraction deceitfully placed by the Taliban? The captain is wary of the girl's presence especially after a gruesome firefight the previous day. That is when the interpreter comes in to the scene. The story line changes in point of view ranging from the Nizam, the lieutenant, the rule obeying captain, the empathetic medic, the translator, the first and the second sergeant. What particularly impressed me was JRB's way of rendering the same scene from the different character's eyes. Each time, adding a small detail. It kept me glued to the book. We never know what new facet the author would heave upon us. It was like a missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle.

Till the end, the very end JRB keeps us guessing what would eventually happen to the girl. Will her wish be fulfilled? What will happen to the soldiers? By now we would have got attached to atleast one of the characters. The book ends abruptly and rightly so. An incredible book which is sure to stay in the minds of the readers long after they have done reading it.
My rating:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

So what do you do on a drab Wednesday?

The day is almost over and you still feel blah about it.Too early to sleep.Too tired to read.Too bloated to hog over some life threatening junk food.There is nothing worth watching on television.The weather is dreary.All that you can think of is Meh :|| What do you do?
Filled the tub with bubble bath with a lavish dosage of bath salts and essential oils and took a bath.. you thought? Naahh.Soaked our tired feet into them, realizing too late that the water is almost scalding. Ooohs and Aahs turns into laughter and giggles and later on..Bliss.
Silly much? Yea that's how we roll! :| Sue me!

P.S- 15 days to go for our second anniversary.2 years of War and Peace & ofcourse Laaoove. :O

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My recent book haul

So,its that time of the year, where I go completely berserk and order books like there is no tomorrow! This time,it was a combination of recommendations from friends,the hyped ones,and the ones my gut said "Go for it!!" Now,only time will tell whether I would love them all or not.

  1. The Day Of The Jackal by Frederick Forsyth-Highly recommended by a friend,I.Made in to a movie like...a long time ago.
  2. Mythology:Timeless Tales of Gods & Heroes by Edith Hamilton-I'm a sucker for mythology.This book deals mainly with Roman and Greek mythical tales.
  3. Rules of Prey by John Sandford-Read pretty good reviews about it in Goodreads and Amazon.
  4. Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran-Saw this book at Barnes & Noble and instantly fell in love with it.Yeas Yeas,never judge the book by the cover.Bad habit,I know.Me like book cover to impress me :||
  5. One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni-By now anybody who bothered reading my blog would know that I love CBD's writing style.
  6. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman-Mythology,Magic,Archaeology and Strong Women. :O
  7. The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht-Young author,Debut book.Read mixed reviews.Thought I will give it a try.
  8. Bossypants by Tina Fey-Now,anybody who has watched Saturday Night Live or 30 Rock would know how unbelievably hilarious and talented Tina Fey is.The critics have been raving about it ever since it hit the stores.
  9. Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair-Recommended by another friend PL.
  10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte-Classic.Highly recommended by a friend,A and fellow blogger Sunaina.
  11. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts- I have lost count of the praises this book has received.High time,I join the club of people who have read this book.
  12. 13,14. Hunger games Trilogy (Hunger Games,Catching Fire & Mockinjay) by Suzanne Collins-Yeas the hype. :|

Therefore,more reviews in the future. :)
PhotosCourtesy: R

Saturday, August 11, 2012

So....that was that ..

One cold December night, I sat curled up on my couch with a hot cup of chai, in front of the television to distract myself from the mind numbing winter. I was flipping through the channels absently with nothing particular to watch. That's when I saw the clip announcing that somebody I absolutely love and adore has decided to come all the way to Chicago and the tickets are already on sale. Aaah well, I thought. Atleast they are in the same state as I am. :d So later I casually mention it to R that the guys are going to be in town.. like next year!! What came next, left me completely flabbergasted. Wana know what happened? Well, it was R even more casually asking me whether I wish to go see them!!!!! Do I wish?! Do I wish?! Are you kidding me darling?! 
I would die for them. So that was it. Before I could get hold of what was happening the tickets were booked for an event which was going to happen 8 months from that fateful winter nightIt was official. I was going for Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto concert!!
Weeks later.. we get the tickets via Fedex. I stashed them in the cupboard since I had to patiently wait out 8 long monthsWinter was replaced with Spring bringing along its share of pollen resulting in hay fever for me and R. Soon the temperatures rose to upper 90s and few travels here and there and basically life happened. The tickets safe in the cupboard and almost forgotten and one fine day.. Boom!! Pow! Wow! Bamm! it was the D-day, August 7th,2012.
The strangest of the things happened that morning- I was not excited.. I was calmWell, that was not something which I had expected. I had imagined myself to be on cloud Number:9 especially since I claim to be this 'huge fan'**snicker** :| . Maybe it was because I didn't know what to expect. R being a concert pro had told me what to foresee but cmmon you guys, this was my first ever concert.

So the technicalities- the concert was at 7pm and it was in Chicago city and we live in the suburbs. After much discussions, it was decided we can take train ride to the city and then catch a cab and go to United Center since we were not sure whether we would get any parking place plus its been some time since we took the train. As the hours ticked, somewhere inside me the excitement started it formation. I didn't know what to wear, which bag to take and what not! I can be exasperating, sometimes.** as if Coldplay would actually see me, Silly me**
The train journey, cab fast forward>> United Center. We were early. The crowd was just filling in. Soon the clock struck 7 and the opening singers (yes, I knew that there would be other support singers :D) were Charli XCX & Marina and the Diamonds.
I knew neither of them and cared even less, even though they sang pretty okay. I was waiting for Chris Martin and the guys. Oh Oh.. they gave out these wrist bands in various colors and said it was part of the show. R got a blue wristband.

Panoramic view of the stadium

At around 9 pm, the guys were on the stage and guess what, all the lights went out and all 18,000 wristbands started glowing! That, my friend was something of a sight!

From 'The Scientist' to 'Charlie Brown'. From 'Princess of China' to 'Violet Hill',they left the crowd mesmerized and the lighting was just another feather in the already crowded cap!

I was hoping for Chris Martin to stop singing in between so that the audience could sing. Sure enough, it was us-the audience who filled up the lyrics with him and the guys playing their respective instruments!Haah.. That was some night.. **Sigh**

The show ended with all its grandeur at around 11 pm. We walked for about 3 miles before we could get a cab. I was in no way complaining. I still couldn't believe what I had just witnessed. Reached home at 1 am and crashed peacefully!
So that's 1 thing 2 things off my bucket list; Go to a concert & See Coldplay Live. :O

Photos Courtesy : R
I was too busy ogling at the guys to take any pics :D

Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review - The Vine Of Desire

Title: The Vine Of Desire.
Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.
Publisher: Abacus.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 416.
Genre: Fiction, Women Centered.
Blurb: Here.

This review had been lying around in my draft for quite some time now. The prequel,'Sister of my Heart' had left me hanging by the thread and I had no other means but to grab the sequel to satiate my eagerness to know what eventually happened to the sisters. 

My Thoughts:
Even though,I cherish CBD's books,each being as idyllic and magical than the other with a life of its own,'The Vine Of Desire' just didn't strike the same chord for me as its predecessor. Maybe that's the reason why I couldn't bring myself to write a review for the book for so long.The prequel had such high standards that I must have expected the same for this book.
The book starts off where the prequel ended *obviously*- Anju and Sunil going to pick up Sudha from the airport.
Miles away from their childhood home, Calcutta,India-the cousins are reunited in San Jose, United States- where Sudha comes to live with the married couple in their small apartment. The cousin's undying love towards each other provides support for both of them; fighting their own battles. Anju dealing with  the horrors of her miscarriage and Sudha coming to terms with her new status as a single mother to her daughter Dayita.
Unlike 'Sister Of My Heart', where the chapters switch between Anju's and Sudha's point of view, CBD added 2 more character's point of view in the sequel. One being Sunil- Anju's husband. His point of view is usually directed to Dayita  with whom he holds an exclusively close relationship, to her he reveals his true feelings towards both the cousins. How he tried to love one and loves the other. The second is Lalit- a doctor captivated by Sudha; who gets entwined in the complicated relationship. Lalit's point of view is described in the chapters as a conflict he has with is own mind about his growing feelings towards Sudha. The rest of the chapters are a series of back and forth letters between the women & their mothers. Some of Anju's sections are in the form of her papers which she has to prepare for her college classes.
I had this constant feeling of uneasiness throughout the book. The characters I had so much loved in the first book acted almost selfish and unrealistic. Also, I felt the character Sudha was 'forced to' adapt too soon for my taste to the 'ways' of America. It seemed a little strange for a woman who hailed from Calcutta and was a daughter in law in an orthodox family to suddenly be portrayed as an extrovert who had no fear or doubt for the new land that she was in.
What I feel CBD was trying to convey to the readers was the fact that in life sometimes shit happens, and we might as well just fall down. What we need to do is not be pulled down by it but just get back up again and move on with our life, a lesson learnt from our past mistakes.
The book was not a feel good genre. It however, did portray hope.The women could still look at the silver lining in their lives and move forward and doesn't necessarily have to depend on the presence of the men they love/loved. There were some loose ends, some characters were let down with no fault of theirs resulting in me almost dreading the ending of the book.
Not one of my favorites.However, if you think about it, it takes a lot for a sequel to be at par or above the prequel's standard.
The plus point is CBD's rich, exquisite, poetic language.

My rating:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nerd girl problems

I'm no nerd but I can so relate with these..


 Click here for more!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tress distress?

Who wouldn't love to have silky shiny lustrous hair? I would die for it.Me,being a bit of a penny pincher cannot bear to spend truckloads of dollars for a hair spa!Which sane person would spend money when they can have their own home remedies.I am one of the most laziest things on earth,however I love finding and trying out newer versions of home remedies.
Today, I have 2 easypeasy hair treatments for you,ladies.After you are done with it,get ready for soft shiny tresses no matter what type your hair is.

  • Beer -This has to be one of the most age old trick.The main ingredients being hop(the reason for the bitterness in beer) and malt are loaded with proteins which,eventually is great for  repairing damaged lifeless hair.It's said that the natural ingredients coat each strand giving it the required nourishment.It doesn't matter if the beer is flat.Some say the  beer has to be in room temperature.I am not sure about the temperature of  the beer. maybe it's to avoid brain freeze.Duh! :|| This is what you gotta do--Shampoo your mane as usual and douse your hair in the beer and let it remain for a couple of minutes.You can continue with your usual scrubbing and cleaning.When the couple of minutes are up,rinse your hair and then condition it as usual.Blow dry or let it air dry and style.Hello,voluminous soft hair!

  • What I call the Magic Potion:
Ingredients : 1tbspoon Olive Oil,1tbspoon Honey,1 Egg, 1 tbspoon mayonnaise.

  1. Honey- makes your hair soft and oh so shiny!
  2. Eggs- repair damaged dull hair making it healthy and strong.Now who wouldn't want that,eh?
  3. Olive oil- loaded with goodness- nourishes and moisturizes.
  4. Mayonnaise- benefit of egg yolks and works as a deep conditioner.
Whip all the ingredients really well.Gross? Hell yea,You should wait till you smell it.Ughh! However,the hair thinks otherwise.Apply all over your hair especially the ends.The gooey stuff may drip,so don't tell me I didn't warn you.Slap on a shower cap or a plastic bag and go read something or watch your favorite TV show.Let the goodness be absorbed for around an hour.The longer you have it on,the better.When you think you have had enough,go rinse your hair really really well.You can opt out of shampoo,however I am not a fan of the smell :| There you go.Say hello to new friends-shiny soft locks of hair.

I have tried both of the above remedies and it has worked wonders on my hair.Oh btw,I have naturally wavy hair which had almost died due to chemical treatments and um.. not taking care of it :| So,I am turning into a new leaf and ransacking my kitchen for ingredients to make more old/new remedies :O