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Monday, 10 July 2017

Canvas of a Mind: Kalimpong Diaries #1


In my last post, I unveiled the cover of my upcoming novel "Canvas of a Mind" and promised that I will be sharing many interesting things about the book. 

The backdrop of this novel is Kalimpong, a remote hill station in West Bengal. I went to this beautiful place in the year 2015 and that is where the plot of this psychological mystery novel took shape in my mind. 



Kalimpong is not just a mere, beautiful backdrop of the novel. It has played a huge part in the book, especially in the scenes when Ipsha, one of the characters in the book gets stalked by a creepy stranger who tries to lure her by playing a haunting tune in the harmonica and by sending her anonymous love notes without showing his face.




In the first post of Kalimpong diaries, I am introducing you all to the Kalimpong Golf course. This place is known as the Watershed View Point that gives tourists the view of the most scenic golf course in the country. 



I remember spending about three hours in this beautiful place, looking at the clouds playing an enchanting game with the hills. I enjoyed the transition of weather from cloudy to sunny with a cup of tea. 



The characters of the novel were screaming in my mind throughout. They nudged me to give them a voice and therefore, I started writing as soon as I reached my guest house. 



An important scene of "Canvas of a Mind" is set in this place, that brings a fearful storm in the life of Ipsha and Akashi. Therefore, this place is extremely special for me and the novel. 



I will be sharing many more places in Kalimpong, which I visited and captured in my novel. "Canvas of a Mind" wouldn't have been possible if I had not visited this quaint, little, beautiful hill station. 

Monday, 3 July 2017

Cover Reveal of my 3rd novel "Canvas of a Mind", a psychological mystery


Blurb

What lies within?
Akashi lives with her younger sister, Ipsha in Kalimpong, a remote hill station. Their tranquil life turns upside down with the arrival of a stranger in the town, who stalks Ipsha desperately. He tries to lure her by sending love notes and playing a haunting tune on his harmonica, without revealing his identity and showing his face.
As Ipsha gets bewitched by him, Akashi tries to protect her from the creepy stalker. She tries to solve the mystery of the stranger and gets shocked by certain revelations. Meanwhile, she realizes that her sister has been deceiving her at every turn of the road.
Why is Ipsha deceiving Akashi? And, what does the stranger exactly want from the two sisters? Will Akashi be able to save her sister from the darkness she is walking into? Or will she be shattered, knowing certain things about her sister that she had no idea about?
Taut with suspense, “Canvas of a Mind” will take you on a riveting ride. Are you eager to know what lies within?
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I am exhilarated to announce that my third novel "Canvas of a Mind" is a psychological mystery, set against the backdrop of Kalimpong, a remote hill station in West Bengal. The book will be published in July, 2017 by Become Shakespeare as a part of their Wordit Art Fund Projects.Will be sharing the order links soon and also many things about the book. 

Do let me know what you think about the blurb and the cover. Need your best wishes! 

Friday, 30 June 2017

Letter to Her! Say No to Domestic Violence


Dear Smriti,

                 You might not know me very well. Apart from passing a smile when we coincidentally bump into each other at the nearby grocery shop, we haven’t had any conversations. I am the girl who stays with her dad beside your house. Now, you might be wondering why I am writing this letter to you. Well, I hesitated at first, but couldn’t stop myself from reaching out to you. A woman’s heart compelled me to do so. I would plead you to read the letter till the end.

                I still remember the day when you got married to Rajdeep, my neighbor. You looked beautiful with that striking smile and the glow of happiness on your face. When I met you at your reception and congratulated you, I could see a vibrant, happy woman who wants to live life according to her own terms. But within a few months of your wedding, I could see the smile on your face gradually fading. I could often hear your sobs and sometimes shrieks at midnight. 

              When I wake up in the morning every day at 6 am and do my yoga, I can see you cooking in the kitchen and then getting ready for work. Sometimes, I wonder how many hours do you manage to sleep. When I watch television at the end of a tiring day, I can see you again in the kitchen preparing dinner. The maid of our house used to work in your house too. When I asked her why she is not working at your place, she said that your father-in-law has told her they don’t need her anymore.

                To say that I was shocked that day will be an understatement. I couldn’t fathom how anyone can treat a family member in this way. I used to wonder why you don’t realize that you don’t get any time to rest the entire day. Why don’t you protest? Sleeping after 1 am and waking up before 5 am is not healthy. Moreover, you have your office every day. I wanted to ask you these questions whenever I met you at the grocery store, but somehow I hesitated as I did not want to interfere in your family matters.

               But the incidents after your miscarriage enraged me to the core, and therefore, I am writing this letter, shedding my inhibitions. I did not even know that you were expecting due to the tremendous amount of work that you do every day. I couldn’t see any changes in your lifestyle to understand that a new life is blooming within you. Then all of a sudden, one day at 10 pm, I could hear you wailing and whimpering. You were taken to the hospital. 

               Two days later, I learned that you had a miscarriage. From that day onwards, I can hear you getting tormented by your husband and in-laws. Although I can’t see exactly how they are treating you, your inconsolable sobs and wails every night tell me your story. I can hear your husband shouting at you when you refuse to stop crying. And then again in the morning, I see you cooking in the kitchen and then rushing to work. I also saw some cigarette burns on your arm when I met you at the grocery shop last time.

              My dear girl, I don’t know why you are choosing to live such a hellish life every single day. I can only tell you that it is not right to tolerate domestic violence of any kind, whatever the reason may be. The person who tolerates injustice is equally at fault as the person who commits injustice. If you become a mother of a daughter, have you ever thought what kind of a life your daughter will get? She will see her mother tolerating injustice every single day and believe that this is how it should be. Do you want your daughter to suffer in silence like you all her life? 

              You are a special person sent to this earth for a purpose. Do not embrace a life where people treat you worse than a doormat. Search for your light within, gather the courage, speak up and rise above your pain. Your beautiful eyes are not meant to shed a thousand tears every night. They are meant for seeing this beautiful world. Take a stand against the injustice.

               Today, when you take a stand, you will not only fight for yourself, but also for the thousands of women who are frightened to take a stand against domestic violence. And if you need my help, just know that I am always there for you ready to help you. But today, you need to help yourself and then everything will get better. I can assure you that all your wounds will get healed, only if you take a step to save yourself today. I hope this poem of mine can motivate you to some extent:

Dear girl, stop!
Don’t do that to yourself
A couple of people might be cruel to you
You don’t need to be cruel to yourself;
Look away from the arduous wounds
Don’t pinch or touch them
Let them be;
Have faith in the greatest healer, Time
The scars will evaporate like magic
You won’t even understand how and when.
Embrace yourself today!
Embrace life with all your love
Breathe, smile, live!
Let the positive energy flow into your heart
Drop the baggage that robs you of life.
You are stronger than your wounds
Your life is much bigger than your pain;
Have faith in the greatest healer, Time
Embrace yourself today!
Embrace life with all your love
Breathe, smile, live!

Love and light,
A woman who believes in your strength,
Purba


Note: The incidents mentioned in the letter #ALetterToHer are largely drawn from real life and is slightly fictional. I have changed the names to protect privacy.

Meena Kandasamy's latest novel When I Hit You is a chronicle of an abusive marriage and the celebration of the power of art. I would love to read this novel as it is a courageous take on traditional wedlock in modern India. The incidents in the book are inspired from the real scenario in the country. 


Thursday, 29 June 2017

The beautiful creative woman’s journal by MatrikaS


“I defeat every demon when I write.”


This is the seven-word story of my life. There is nothing that I cannot overcome if I write about it. Whenever I find myself struggling to make a decision or overwhelmed with an irreparable loss, I take refuge in writing. This is the reason journaling is a huge part of my life. 

I collect beautiful journals when I am travelling. I have an enviable collection of journals, each dedicated for a particular reason. There are some professional journals, some personal journals and some travel journals. When I got the beautiful, creative woman’s journal by MatrikaS last month, my happiness knew no bounds because I never owned a journal that is designed for the creative woman in me. 


First of all the bright red color of the journal attracted me to it. There was a golden feather drawn on the cover. The most beautiful and motivating word was written beside the feather: write.


"Peace is the space
Between the words, I write;
It is during those
soft, satin moments of writing
I find a mine of peace
Tumbling from my heart
Onto the paper."



I caressed the cover of the journal and knew that it is going to be a prized possession of mine. A journal that is specifically designed for the creative woman is one of the best things I can own. It will inspire me to write, to dream and to be creative in every possible way. 

"I take a sip
Of the world around me,
Savor every little flavor
Inhale every little emotion
Then, I sit in front of the blank page
And let myself bleed."

And this journal makes the writing experience blissful. The creative woman's journal, my muse and I make a stellar creative combination. 

"I’ve met you
Through my poems
In several worlds;
Distant daydreams
Yet, so sublimely close
Countless conversations
Yet, not a single word exchanged
How beautiful you are my muse!
You beautify even the mundane scribbles."


The creative woman’s journal is my place to dream without inhibitions and to put order to my chaotic thoughts. I always had a dream of visiting old city bookstores and it was therapeutic putting my dreams on the journal. 

Apart from ruled sheets, there are also white doodle sheets in the journal where I can enjoy doodling and sketching. Nothing is more enjoyable than to doodle and scribble your heart away. The cool It's time to sticker provided in the journal made it more fun.




There are 8 beautiful coloring sheets in the journal made of elements inspired by nature. It was a delightful surprise and without any ado, I started coloring one of the pages. The butterflies in the page were beckoning me to color them with the brightest hues. It was such a stress relieving activity.




The journal is full of surprises. There are amazing stickers in the journal that made me extremely happy. Some stickers like bucket list, I want to learn to…, My current fav times, it’s time to… will help me prepare some cool lists. There are also some stickers like do it now, believing in magic, this too shall pass that are extremely motivating. The best thing is that I can also color the stickers.


The journal also has two pages dedicated to Books to be read and Places to be visited. As I love reading books and travelling, these two pages will be my favorite.


There is so much to love about the creative woman’s journal by MatrikaS. Here are the reasons why this journal is so special to me:

·        It is the perfect place to lose myself in my dreams.

·        Conversations with my muse are more delightful.

·   It revives my childhood hobby of sketching and doodling.

·        The coloring sheets alleviate my stress.

·        I can make plenty of lists…bucket lists, books to be read, places to be visited, movies to be watched, my favorite songs, best moments of the year and so on.

·        It has a cute pouch that will help me store little notes.

·        It has elastic for safe locking.

In the hectic and mundane days, this journal is like a whiff of fragrance in my life. It makes my life colorful and nudges me to dream bigger. What can be better than this for a restless dreamer like me?

My words and creativity have found a beautiful hamlet. I know, after a couple of years, I would love to revisit this special journal to see how my dreams have shaped up. 




If you are a creative soul like me, I am sure you would love this journal too. Check out the beautiful paper products of MatrikaS on their website. Also, check out their Facebook page to stay updated on their latest offers and products. 


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Amazing Bridal Lehenga Trends for 2017

Every girl wants to look like a beautiful princess on the day of her wedding. Therefore, girls invest a lot of time selecting their bridal lehenga. If you are getting married this year, you must know about the amazing bridal lehenga trends for 2017 so that you can pick something that will make you look like a fashion diva. You must choose your bridal lehenga keeping in mind your body type and the latest trend.
Here are the top 6 fashionable and gorgeous bridal lehenga trends for 2017 that will make you stand out from the other brides:

Sleeveless Blouses


Full sleeves and three quarters have been around for quite some time, but now more brides are opting for sleeveless blouses. Crop tops and sleeveless silhouettes are trending in 2017. They look stylish and are perfect for the fashionista in you.


The designer pink lehenga with Zari and Swarovski work comes with a sleeveless golden choli that makes it look very stylish. The sky blue dupatta will enhance your feminity. You can try this bridal trend on your wedding.

Going bright but mute the dupatta

Glamorous red is undoubtedly a hot favorite of many brides. An amazing bridal lehenga trend is to take a lighter dupatta when going wearing bright red. This contrast will look stunning and will help you make a style statement on your wedding day.


 The designer red lehenga comes with a lighter dupatta that makes it look gorgeous. The lehenga has heavy embroidery work that looks stunning.

Shimmer and glitter

If you want to shine on your wedding day, you should opt for shimmer and glitter. This trend is loved by many brides. A lehenga choli with some shimmer and glitter look modern, elegant and fashionable.


The beautiful peach and beige lehenga-choli will make you look like a princess straight out from a fairy tale. The lehenga looks stylish and sophisticated.

Multicolor

If you are someone who loves to play with colors, go for a gorgeous multicolored lehenga and flaunt your vibrant personality. Multicolored bridal lehenga are trending these days. Choose a multicolored lehenga with a bright colored choli such as orange or magenta.


This gorgeous multicolored lehenga is designed to enhance your style and charisma. This lehenga comes with an orange choli and gorgeous embroidery. It is the perfect blend of traditional and contemporary. The delicate and marvelous work will enhance your feminity.

Gold and orange

Gold and orange make a stunning combination for bridal lehengas. If you want to wear something gorgeous on your wedding day apart from red, go for gold and orange. This color combination is trending these days.

 The beautiful orange color lehenga with rich embroidery comes with a golden color choli and pink dupatta. You will look stunning on your wedding day if you wear this vibrant lehenga. Alternatively, you can also go for gold and maroon or gold and pink combination. Gold lehengas are very much in vogue.

Sheer Fabrics

Sheer and translucent fabrics are used in Indian bridal wear in such a way that they look alluring but not provocative. Net, lace and chiffon have the transparency that can make you look ethereal. Soft net lehengas with gorgeous embellishments is an amazing bridal trend for 2017.


The beautiful wine colored net lehenga has gorgeous embellishments. It comes with a transparent golden dupatta that gives it an elegant look.

These are the 6 amazing bridal lehenga trends for 2017. You can find all these beautiful lehengas in Craftsvilla, the best destination for latest ethnic clothing in India.

Note: All the images are sourced from the website of Craftsvilla. 

Monday, 5 June 2017

The Back Scattered Memories


Sometimes I wonder if memories drown us into the sea of pain or help us stay afloat in life. I guess it all depends on the way we treat those memories.

Haplessly longing for those moments to occur again in our lives can only make us melancholic, whereas cherishing those memories and feeling blessed that we could experience such good times in this lifetime can calm our hearts. After all, moments, the incredibly good ones are destined to be memories and such memories are destined to reside in our hearts. Dr. Seuss has rightly said, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

We, writers, have an advantage as we can write about those memories in a journal or blog. We can relive those moments in retrospect and make them come alive once again through words. Writing may not completely alleviate the pain, but it often helps us make sense of the chaos in our mind.  

Friday, 2 June 2017

Homecoming of Terror: House of Cards Season 5 Episode 1 Review


Summer has hit really bad in India this year with the heat wave not letting me go for hangouts with my friends. Thankfully, there are some good things in life, even in this sweltering heat, such as mangoes and Season 5 of House of Cards, both of which I savored to the fullest in the last few days. May ended on a great note as Season 5 of House of Cards premiered on 30th May, 2017 on Netflix. Well, it was a long wait since Season 4 was out in March, 2016, but I must say that the wait was totally worth it.

House of Cards

House of Cards is a very popular U.S TV series based on the novel by Michael Dobbs. It is a thrilling American political drama TV/web series created by Beau Willimon. It tells the story of a ruthless politician, Frank Underwood, who can go to any extent to conquer Washington, D.C. He does not want to end up as a one-term president. He is aided by his shrewd and pragmatic wife, Claire Underwood.


House of Cards deals with themes such as manipulation, power and ruthless pragmatism. The lead actors of this political drama are Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright who have done a phenomenal job in all the seasons. Spacey and Wright have also won Best Actor and Best Actress of Television Series Drama in Emmy Awards. 

Episode 1, Season 5 [Chapter 53]

I must say that Season 5 began on a very interesting note. Since I will be reviewing the first episode of Season 5 in detail, there may be some spoilers in this blog post. So, go ahead only if you are okay with it.

Season 5 of House of Cards picks up just a few days after the finale of last season, where we saw ICO terrorists capture the Millers, an American family. The Underwoods could negotiate the release of Caroline (mother) and Melissa (daughter), but Jim (father) was beheaded ruthlessly live on television at 9:00. The Underwoods promised to 'make the terror' instead of 'submitting to terror'.

Season 5 begins with Claire Underwood looking at the camera and recording a message for the citizens of America. She warns the people of America by saying that they should tell if they see anything odd and suspicious in their neighborhood. The trademark icy glare of Claire makes you all set for the thrilling events that will unfold in Season 5. 

The speech of Claire is followed by another interesting scene where we see Frank Underwood entering the chamber of Congress, where a politician is provoking others to take a stand about the misdoings of the President. Frank Underwood unapologetically grabs the microphone and says that he is on his way to the funeral of Jim Miller, who was beheaded ruthlessly by ICO on the American soil. He expresses his surprise that the chamber chooses to debate him instead of focusing on the present important issues. He says that he wants war against ICO.

Claire and Frank Underwood at Jim Miller's Funeral 

These two opening scenes are so powerful that it sets the mood for House of Cards Season 5. I was totally drawn into the Season by the end of these two scenes. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are such good actors that it’s always a treat to watch them as Frank and Claire. 

Another powerful scene that I loved in the first episode was when Melissa, the daughter of Jim Miller whispers in Frank Underwood’s ear at her father’s funeral, “I wish you die and she (Claire) becomes the president.” Melissa believes that Frank is responsible for her father’s death and therefore, hates him. Frank’s stoic expression on hearing the words and Claire’s twinkling eyes after learning what Melissa said in Frank’s ears was noteworthy.

Will Conway, the Republican Party nominee was furious to know that his wife, Hannah has uploaded a video online sympathizing with Joshua Masterson’s mother. As Claire gets to know about the video, she decides to meet the terrorist’s mother. 

Mother of Joshua Masterson being interrogated by Claire Underwood

The scene between Claire and Joshua Masterson’s mother is another favorite scene of mine in this episode. The polite chat soon turns into a hostile and unsympathetic interrogation. When Claire tells the mother that she must have known what was going in her house, the mother starts weeping to which she doesn’t receive any sympathy. Claire sternly tells her to appeal to her son to surrender.

However, the last ten minutes of the episode was what blew my mind totally.  When it was revealed to us that Frank already had Joshua Masterson in custody the entire time, my jaw dropped. Frank taunts Joshua Masterson and then gives order to an agent to kill him. He orders to get some usable, good footage of the killing of the terrorist. 

Frank Underwood taunts the terrorist, Joshua Masterson

In the last scene of the episode, we see Frank and Claire saying to the people “You’ve nothing to be afraid of.” He then turns to the camera and says the same to us with a sneer.

My views

I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of Season 5. There were elements of thrill and suspense at every turn. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright delivered top-notch performances. It was a treat to watch them both. Even petty expressions such as a glare or a smirk were pitch-perfect.  

If you watch the first episode, you will agree with me that Season 5 seems much more intense and focused than the last season. Here, we see the Underwoods determined and ruthless like never before. At the same time, I would like to point out that appearance of characters such as Catherine Durant and Doug Stamper were few.

The background music goes perfectly well with the scenes. The first episode of Season 5 kept me on my toes. I am sure the fans of House of Cards will absolutely love it. You can watch the television premiere of House of Cards Season 5 only on Zee Café on 3rd June, 5 pm onwards. Get set to have a rocking Saturday! #HOConZCafe


Frank Underwood is coming to India with the television premiere of House Of Cards Season 5 on Saturday, 3rd June, 5 PM onwards, only on Zee Café!

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

My short story "Her favorite pupil" is a part of Writersmelon's Jukebox!


How does it feel when one of your favorite authors writes the foreword of the book that you are a part of? How does it feel to be one of the 15 winners of a nationwide writing competition? Fascinating. Exciting. Fabulous. 

That's what I felt when I saw that Preeti Shenoy has written the foreword of Jukebox, a collection of 15 winning short stories of Melonade, a nationwide writing competition organized by WritersMelon. Melonade, 2016 was judged by a panel of eminent writers, one of them was Preeti Shenoy.  

My association with WritersMelon is a long one. I have been reviewing books for them since 2015. I appreciate the wonderful platform that they provide to authors and bibliophiles to showcase their talent and promote their work. 

When WritersMelon announced their nationwide writing competition "Melonade" in 2016, I couldn't stop myself from taking part in it. I wrote a short story titled Her favorite pupil which is about the relationship that a speech-impaired student shares with his mentor. It is about the teacher's unwavering faith in her student and how the student restores that faith after fifteen long years.

Sometimes all we need in life is a person who has faith in our potential and talent much more than we have in ourselves. Faith is truly magical. It can move mountains. 



This short story is very close to me as I have seen such a relationship between a teacher and a student where the teacher's faith gave the student the courage to chase his dreams. My paternal uncle runs a deaf and dumb school. I have seen him working day and night on speech impaired children and change some of their lives. 


I was thrilled when I learned that my short story Her favorite pupil is one of the 15 short stories that will feature in the anthology by WritersMelon. The book is edited deftly by Priyanka Roy Banerjee and it was amazing ti share writing space with some very talented writers. Jukebox is the 10th anthology that I am a part of. 




Jukebox is divided into 3 sections: 
-Spine Chilling Drama and Suspense
-Quirky, funny and awkward moments
-Poetic love of hopeless romantics

As a reader, I am having a great time savoring these winning stories. I am sure you will have a great time reading this book too. As WritersMelon say, it is a book about life choices that will compel you to think about the choices that you have made in your life. 

Check out the trailer and grab your copy! I am sure you will enjoy the reading experience. 



"The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words."~William H. Gass