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

Friday, 26 May 2017

Azure or Grey: The two opposite colors of life

The beautiful, azure butterfly
Frisky and agile
Flutters over the bougainvillea tree
Oblivious of the gloom around.

The grey, cloudy sky
Which was beautifully blue 
Some time back,
Threatens to breakdown anytime. 

Sitting on the rusty bench,
She silently observes both:
The azure butterfly 
and the grey sky
The two opposite colors of life
In the presence of one, 
we forget the other. 

Her heart was once 
an azure butterfly
Today, it is like the grey sky
Achromatic and burdened
With the weight of her tears
That threatens 
of a relentless downpour.

As the blanket of thoughts 
wrap her tight,
The azure butterfly come flying,
Sits on her hand, 
wait for a few seconds and go away
Perhaps, letting her know
'This too shall pass'. 

-Purba Chakraborty

Linking this poem with Poetry Pantry # 355

Indian Bloggers

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

On loss, changes and adapting to them

Indian Bloggers

Isn't life a series of painful losses? We lose some people to death and some people to life (misunderstandings, ego, destiny). 

The more we love a person, the more the loss affects us. The pain becomes so unbearable at times that life seems like a merciless struggle to cope up with the losses that life throws at us in the most unexpected times. 

Yes, there are gains too. There are blissful moments of togetherness and love when we laugh so loudly that tears roll down our eyes.

There are cuddles that are so tight that the feeling lingers on long after. Within the blinking of eyes, those moments become memories of beautiful moments spend with our loved ones. And I believe only those memories help us from drowning in the sea of life. We stay afloat, clinging to the memories in our heart and believing that our loved ones are there with us, even if we can't see them. We can still feel them even when they are not around. 

Life is unpredictable and changes are an uninvited visitor 

Last month, my life changed completely as I lost someone whom I had loved more than my mother. In fact, she was the mother figure of my life. My grandmother, my darling Dida, who had loved me unconditionally and had raised me after my mother passed away when I was twelve. She was my mom, my granny, my sister and my best friend. Yes, she played all these roles in my life with deftness. And losing her was like losing a huge piece of my heart. 

The only consolation that I could give myself was that she got relief from the unbearable pain. It was arduous to see her every day writhing in pain in front of my eyes. She suffered for one whole month. She had a brain stroke. It was heart wrenching to see her battling with the loss of memory and tremendous pain due to secondary infections. She was at home for the last 14 days and I feel blessed that I could care for her like a baby. I got the chance to mother her for those 14 days. 

My grandmother was a very fit lady who did all her tasks and herself. She made tea for me whenever she made tea for herself. Last year, she went with Dad and me on a trip to Darjeeling. The manager of our hotel was surprised to see an old lady like her bubbling with enthusiasm. Despite getting much less than what she deserved in life, she was so full of life. She was the epitome of goodness and cheerfulness. 

Adapting to changes because life goes on...

Now when I have to spend every single day of my life without this magical person who was my mother, grandmother, best friend, and sister rolled into one, I feel lonely beyond words. When I lost my mother, I had a mother figure in my life. But with the loss of Dida, I am completely motherless in this huge world. 

There are days when I cry, scream and feel that I can't take it anymore. But thankfully my habit of writing saves me in those times. I record all the beautiful memories with Dida in my journal. It feels great to relive those moments in the white pages on those dark nights. I am planning to start a memoir section on my blog too. 

We, human beings are great at adapting to changes. No matter how painful the change is, we ultimately find a way to adapt and start again. And when I get drowned in the overwhelming emotions, I feel Dida is telling me how much she misses that twinkling smile on my face. She hated my tears and always blackmailed me emotionally by crying more than I cried. 

This is the last picture that I had clicked with Dida before she had the stroke. It was taken in March, this year and how crazily we were laughing our hearts out that day. I had no idea that after two months, I will be writing this post about losing her.

Dear Dida, 
My moonshine,
I will always look for you
In the starry nights,
In the goodness of the world;
I will always feel you
In the autumn breeze,
The cardigan you had woven for me;
I will always remember you
While having tea, 
And listening to old Bengali songs.
I will always miss you,
Cherish you, admire you
And love you!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Adventure to Mt. Kilimanjaro

If you are an adventurous soul who seeks adventure constantly, the Mt. Kilimanjaro trek might be on your bucket list. Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa (19,340) that soars above the verdant tea plantations and the low hills of Tanzania. This once-in-a-lifetime trek will reward you with extraordinary views and breathtaking sunrises that you won’t be able to forget as long as you live.

Highlights of the Mt. Kilimanjaro Trek

Doesn’t it sound absolutely thrilling to climb the tallest mountain in the world once in your life? If you take the Mt. Kilimanjaro trek, you will be able to climb the world’s tallest mountain and sleep on its floor. You will be able to explore the beautiful rain forests, lava formations, heather moor and glaciers. You can also know about the unique fauna and flora of the mountain from the local guides.

Preparing for the trek

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro requires physical fitness. You need to be physically fit to climb the tallest mountain in the world. If you have a fit body, you can definitely withstand the stress of hiking and camping for days. If you have hiked before, it will be easier for you to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. It is recommended by experts to train yourself for climbing the mountain at least two months before your departure. If you have never gone hiking, you can train yourself by going for brisk walks and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Planning your Mt. Kilimanjaro trek

Planning an adventure to Mount Kilimanjaro sounds like a daunting task, but Mojhi is there to solve all your problems. Once you decide to fulfill your dream of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, you need to send all your details to Mojhi and they will take care of the arrangements of Kilimanjaro climbing.

At first, you need to select the route that you have chosen for climbing the mountain. If you are unable to decide the route, Mojhi will suggest the best possible route after studying all your requirements. Next, you have to tell them how big your group is or if you are going single. Then, you have to mention the dates between which you can go for the trek. Finally, you need to drop your email ID and phone number so that they can contact you with the best quotes.Follow the Facebook Page of Mojhi for regular updates.

Live the adventure!

Your adventure to Mount Kilimanjaro will be perfect when you plan it with Mojhi. They will arrange everything for you in the best possible manner. They have an awesome customer service that is there to answer all your queries. Their quick and professional response will let you go on your dream trek without any hassle.

The snow-capped summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and the spectacular views will mesmerize you and make you see life from a fresh perspective. There is so much to see and explore while climbing the highest mountain in the world. Live the adventure and give wings to your dreams.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Win exciting prizes everyday with TicTok Games!

Most of us love playing games on our phones. Now, what if I tell you that you can win exciting prizes every day by playing games on your smartphone? The prizes range from gift cards, gold coins, tablets, Bluetooth speakers and smart phones. Sounds great, isn’t it?

TicTok Games is the new age sensation in app-gaming where users can win guaranteed big prizes by playing games and unlocking the levels. 

You need to first download TicTok App on your smartphone. You can get the App on Play store, if you have an Android Device and App Store, if you have an iPhone or iPad. You have to create an account and verify your email to get started. As you beat the challenges, you get to win amazing prizes. Levels can be unlocked as the player answers all the questions in a deal correctly, and not when the player wins.

My experience of playing the #TicTokgames

I downloaded #TicTok game today and loved playing it. It is a #KnowledgeGame where you are asked questions about the topics/interest area that you have chosen. You can choose your subject of interest such as gadgets, Bollywood, Business, Education, Fashion, General Knowledge, Sports or Travel. I chose Bollywood, Fashion and Travel. 

6 questions are asked in each challenge. The quizes contain multiple choice questions, guess the image, true/false, memory mania, puzzle and drag & drop. The questions are so interesting that I enjoyed taking the challenges. Although there are many quiz games in the gaming world, #TicTokGames give you a different experience because of the variety of questions. I especially enjoyed playing the memory mania where I had to match the similar image pairs.

There is a time limit for answering each question and therefore, you have to be quick. This makes the game more interesting. There is a new challenge every 15 minutes and the more you play, the more your chances to win prizes.

Various Aspects of the App

The TicTok App is a user-friendly one. You won’t have any problem with browsing the upcoming challenges. You can easily check out the winners of the challenges. Once you win a game, it will get displayed on your profile.

If you want to play the upcoming challenges, you can switch on the notification button so that you can get notified. This #AppGame will surely keep you on your toes and let you win some exciting prizes. You only need to sharpen your memory on the topics that you have chosen. The App looks very vibrant and colorful.

Prizes that you can win

The biggest prize that you can win currently on #TicTokGames is a brand new Honda City Car and Harley Davidson Bike. You need to unlock level #100 for winning the Car and level #50 for winning the Bike. 

The prizes that you can win in the challenges are gadgets, gold coins, prepaid cards and gift vouchers from the leading shopping and food outlets such as Shoppers Stop, Big Bazaar, CCD, etc.

I am addicted to the #TicTokGames and will definitely play the upcoming challenges. What about you? Download the TicTokApp on your phone and start playing. The games are fun and the prizes are tantalizing. Experience the sensational #AppGame today. Don’t miss out the chance of winning exciting prizes! 

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Unleash the storyteller in you via Sweek

Being a writer and a bibliophile, the apps that are dedicated to writers and readers always catch my interest. I came across Sweek on a lazy Sunday afternoon when I was going through some new Apps on the Playstore. The tagline of Sweek is: Stories never end! I must say that this tagline tempted me to download the App and check it out.

Sweek is a free, online platform for reading, writing and sharing stories all over the world instantly. It is an ideal destination for a person who considers himself/herself both a reader and a writer. The App is very user-friendly and has some interesting features.

Sweek : A great platform for budding writers

You need to create an account in Sweek, so that you can explore the stories and start writing your own story. You can write multiple stories and manage them easily on your dashboard. 

To start a new story, you have to mention the story title, write a short description on what the story is about and upload a cover image. Once you finish doing these steps, your story will be visible on the New Stories section on the App. Then, you have to write the first chapter. You can add as many chapters as you want. You don’t need to write all the chapters in a day or a week. You can update your story monthly, weekly or daily, according to your wish.

If you ever harbored a wish of writing a story serially, you will absolutely love Sweek. Bloggers who enjoy writing blog series can also try Sweek for a larger readership. 

When your story will become popular, it can be seen in the Popular or Featured section of the App. The users of Sweek do not hesitate to drop their honest feedback. So, if they like your story, you will surely receive comments on your story.

Sweek: A relaxing place for readers

There is a wide range of classics available on Sweek. You can read the evergreen classics such as Pride and Prejudice, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, A Tale of Two cities, etc. You can explore the numerous classics and read them at any hour of the day. 

If you want to read some new stories, you can check out the featured and popular section of Sweek where you can find some interesting stories written by writers from all over the world. If you are fond of any particular genre, you can search for stories of that genre in the categories section.

The stories of Sweek are categorized into Action & Adventure, Arts & Culture, Biographies, Religion & Spirituality, Chicklit, Fanfiction, Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction etc. 

Sweek is a perfect hub for writers and readers. Now, read and write to your heart’s content on your phone. Don’t keep those stories locked within you. Share them with the world through Sweek and enjoy honest feedback on your work. Unleash the storyteller in you today!

You can download the Sweek App on Android and iOS. 

Indian Bloggers

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Things you must know about Alphonso, the King of Mangoes

The best thing about summer is definitely mangoes. Despite the sweltering heat, people in India welcome summers heartily to enjoy the delicious mangoes. It’s only in the summer season when mangoes are found at every nook and corner of the country. I have fond memories of plucking mangoes from the mango tree in my ancestral house and gorging on them in the afternoon. The delicious summer fruit brings a smile on our lips and a wave of nostalgia in our mind.

Mango is known as the king of fruits as it is loved by almost everyone. It is also very rich in nutrients. There are plenty of health benefits of mangoes as the fruit is a great source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. There are various types of mangoes that are available during summer, but the King of Mangoes is undoubtedly Alphonso. 

Alphonso, the King of Mangoes

The season of Alphonso is from the end of March to May. It is the most expensive variety of mangoes available in India. It is considered as a luxury food item because of its rich flavor, tantalizing appearance and high price. There is a royal feel with the King of Mangoes that you cannot ignore. The price of 12 pieces of Alphonso mango ranges generally between Rs1000 and Rs 4000. The price depends on the grade, texture and size of the mangoes.

Featured in 1000 things to eat before you die

The Alphonso mango becomes a national obsession during its short season. They are available only in India and are exported to other corners of the world. Alphonso mango has appeared in many lists such as “1000 things to eat before you die”. If you have ever tasted the King of Mangoes, you will understand why it is celebrated all over the world. The Alphonso mangoes are very popular in the UK. 

The rich and unique flavor of Alphonso mangoes

Alphonso has a unique flavor that is a cross between apricot, peach, melon and nectarine with hints of citrus and honey. The unparalleled flavor of the Alphonso mangoes makes them the King of Mangoes. The sunshine-yellow skin of Alphonso looks very tempting. It has a buttery and smooth saffron colored flesh that is extremely inviting. Alphonso mangoes have a beautiful, sweet aroma with extraordinary flavor.

Chefs find Alphonso a great food item to experiment with. You can find Alphonso on the cocktail and dessert menus of popular bars and restaurants in the world. Alphonso is widely used for making yogurts, ice creams, pudding and cakes. You can also prepare many desserts and drinks at your home in summer with Alphonso mangoes. Sweet Mango Chutney, Mango Kesar Milkshake and Alphonso’s French connection can be easily prepared at home. 

The story behind the name of Alphonso mangoes

Alphonso has been named after Afonso de Albuquerque, a military expert and nobleman who helped in establishing the Portuguese colony in our country. The Portuguese introduced the process of grafting on mango trees that can produce great varieties like Alphonso. 

Best variety of Alphonso mangoes

Alphonso mangoes are cultivated widely in the state of Maharashtra. There are many varieties of Alphonso, but the best variety is grown on the farms of Ratnagiri. They are hand-harvested and widely exported worldwide. Ameya Vartak had established Aamrai (meaning mango orchard) at Ratnagiri that is delighting mango lovers all over the world since 2011. It is an acclaimed brand for the best quality Alphonso mangoes in the country. You can enjoy the season’s first Alphonso directly from the farms of Ratnagiri. Give yourself a beautiful experience this summer by relishing the King of Mangoes. 

Loved by the British

The British love Alphonso mangoes. In 1953, Alphonso mangoes were exported to London for the first time from the legendary Crawford Market of Mumbai. Since then, the love affair between the British and the Alphonso mangoes has only grown. There are many courier companies that provide the facility of gifting Alphonso mangoes to friends and relatives all over the world. 

Great taste and wonderful health benefits

Alphonso is the perfect combination of great taste and perfect nutrition. As it is rich in iron, it is great for pregnant women. It is also loaded with antioxidants and is rich in Vitamin A, E and Selenium. Its extraordinary taste will make you enjoy the summer season like never before. 

The mango season is a national obsession in our country, just like cricket and Bollywood. The top restaurants in the cities start mango festivals to attract customers. The street vendors sell fresh mango juice. People savor the Alphonso mangoes in various ways. So, what are you waiting for? is providing great offers on Alphonso mangoes. If you are yet to savor the King of Mangoes, treat yourself this summer to the best quality Alphonso Mangoes. You will have a wonderful experience with your family that you can’t forget. 

Note:  The images have been sourced from the website of
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