Whisper of the worms

Book Title – Whisper of the Worms

Author – Marcardian

Published by –  Cactus Publishers

Pages: 310

Price: Rs. 240

Description : A crow eyed peep in to the backyard of a banking organization. An unusual portrayal of the life and times of an ordinary mortal and his subdued fight for survival. A moving story of the commercialized people in an imaginary country called Marcardia, portrayed through their psyche and polity, makes one think, laugh, and get emotionally choked. Listen to the Whisper of the worms to hear the muffed wail of the humans on the run, lured by the carrot, forced by the stick.

Review:  Marcardian brightly captures in his novel Whisper of the Worms the confused professional life in a bank and the comparatively serene life of simple Thobias Mathai of Panamkara village. The banking life has taught him a lesson. After a brief stopover in USA, homesick Thobias returns to his roots in Panamkara after contracting a deadly cancerous disease to count his last days living with his mother and friends in the middle of the treasured memories of his late father. The horrifying ghost of the banking life follows him from the moment he lands in his native land. After the last journey overseen by an event manager to the tomb through the most travelled village roads and the funeral rites, the spirit begins to hear the insight of the worm. The soul departs with the last laugh. Marcardian, who has watched at close quarters the risky profession of Thobias Mathai, has a message for all. The memoirs of a man on his last journey are moving but tend to tow after a few pages. I did not like this novel because I don’t like reading slow paced stories.

Verdict: 2/5 ( not my kind of book)

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

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Festival of words – 7

7 foods that help us fight fat

Diseases rob us of all the pleasures of life. Foods mentioned below helps in fighting fat and cholesterol levels in the body by assisting in maintaining a good health by protecting us from hypertension, artery blockage and cardiac ailments. We should eat the right healthy foods so that we can fight fat which results in many serious diseases, to lead a healthy, happy, disease free life as a sick person is burden on the family, society and the nation as well.

1. Apples:  all of us have been hearing to the proverb “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”; emphasizing the importance of apples. The medicinal secrets of an apple are attributed to the many chemicals in it that if it is taken regularly it helps in getting rid of the extra fat. Apples contain a fibre called Pectin which promotes digestive health by preventing constipation, as it reduces the appetite and the urge to eat as the fibre thickens in the digestive tract leading to feeling of fullness. It helps in lowering cholesterol levels in the body.

2. Yoghurt: Adding yoghurt to the diet may speed up weight loss. Yoghurt helps in fat loss in the body. Obese adults who eat 3 servings of fat free yoghurt daily as a part of reduced calories diet, lost 22% more weight and 61% more body fat than those who simply cut calories. Calcium and protein obtained from low fat dairy products help in burning fat and promoting weight loss.

3 Chillies: Chillies have a compound called capsaicin which through a series of reactions in the brain leads to the secretion of endorphins (body’s natural pain killer). They lead to a temporary feeling of euphoria. Other responses include increasing the heart rate to increase the metabolism. The heat one feels after having hot peppers utilises energy and calories to produce the effect. Sweet red peppers have substances which increase thermo genesis (heat production) and oxygen consumption. Peppers have also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

4 Lemon: Lemon is a versatile fruit with low calories and lots of health benefits. Lemon is rich in vitamin C which does not permit the formation of blood clots and strengthens circulation by giving elasticity to artery walls. It does not allow the formation of calcium or hardening of arteries.

5 Amla: Amla significantly reduced the level of free fatty acids in the body. In the raw form it reduces cholesterol levels and fights cholesterol induces atherosclerosis. Supplementation of the diet with Amla has shown a decrease in the cholesterol levels in both normal and hyper cholesterolemic individuals.

6 Ginger: Ginger enhances digestion by secretion of digestive enzymes. It has a stimulating effect on the heart and lowers cholesterol levels with its fat fighting properties.

7. Onion: The flavour in onion comes from an essential oil present in them which have anti-bacterial properties. It has also been found that onions help in maintaining normal blood glucose levels; they can lower blood cholesterol and lipid levels and are useful in preventing heart diseases.

There is a famous proverb in German “we eat food to live but wrong food eats us”. It has been observed that healthy people when start eating damaging junk food became food-o-holic and develop an dependence for it which is full of saturated fat and cholesterol. Obesity results in higher levels of cholesterol, heart diseases, hypertension and diabetes. To avoid it we must uphold everyone in our families particularly children to avoid junk food and instead eat equally delicious natural foods mentioned above, which not only are low in fat but also help reducing the extra fat in our body. In most of the nations, virtually the whole of young generation has been ruined for the reason that of obesity, owed to large intakes of junk food. Let this not happen in India.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.

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Festival of words – 6

7 benefits of being a single woman

I am a single woman, since decades. I have not been lucky in relationships. They broke before they were made. I wonder if something is wrong with me sometimes. Now in the 21st century, the identity of many women seems to be wrapped up in marriage and family. There is societal and family pressure to marry as well. However, women are increasingly beginning to realize that being single does have its advantages. Many women ( like me )choose to delay marriage, preferring instead to focus on career, friends and self-identity.

Here are 7 great benefits of being a single woman.

1. Your Time Is Your Own:  Ever try to organize a girls’ night out with your married friends, especially those who have children? Between the Little League games, ballet classes and band practice, mothers also need to try to fit in time with their husbands. Something as simple as meeting for drinks can be grounds for a Mission: Impossible style planning session. If you are a single woman, you do not have those concerns. You can pick up and go anywhere you want, anytime you want. You may occasionally feel that you have too much empty time on your hands, but you can fill that time any way that you want.

2. Career Freedom : A single woman has the ability to dedicate herself to her career. If your work is important to you, this is your opportunity to develop your career. You can make choices that would be tough with a family to support, such as moving across the country or changing careers. Put in long hours and work toward advancement or job hop until you find one that gives you personal satisfaction. Your career decisions affect only yourself.

3. Make Your Life Anything You Want It to Be:  This is ultimately the biggest advantage to being a single woman. You have the unique opportunity to mould and shape your life and pursue your dreams. There are no reasons to settle for second-best and no one else is depending on the choices that you make. Even if your ultimate goal is to marry and settle down, you might as well get your own life in place first. So go for the brass ring and shoot for the stars. Create the life that you want for yourself and then, if you want one, find a partner who will fit into that life. Being a single woman is a source of consternation for many women. Societal and family pressures to settle down can make even the most confident woman doubt herself.

4. Upgrade yourself for the better : Since you have more time, use it in upgrading yourself. Hit the gym , learn a new language, read books that interest you clean your room, get a new haircut style, I feel the list is endless! Upgrade yourself to what your heart desires. When you upgrade yourself for the better, the quality of your life becomes better, including the partner that you attract. Having skills and abilities makes one valuable. The more valuable you are, the more “high value” people you will attract into your life, friends and lovers.

5. No emotional dramas : When you are in a relationship, you always want it to keep it intact. To achieve that you have to take care or your partner’s emotions on top and have to ignore your wishes. You always feel insure of losing your partner or hurting them. In fact many lovers spent sleepless nights if something goes wrong in their relations. It’s not that being in a relation always hurts you emotionally but you do have to face ups and downs to keep your relationship working. Thus, if you are single then do enjoy your life to fullest.

6. Friendships : Once you’re married or committed to a serious relationship, you have less time to develop friendships. Create lasting friendships while you’re single by spending more time with friends. Hold a girl’s night at your apartment, or start a weekly or monthly book club. This valuable time you spend with friends will have lasting results. Often, friendships you create while you’re single continue when you’re married and have less time to make new friendships

7. You can control your finances : If you’ve ever been in a serious relationship, you know that, sooner or later, a good chunk of your budget goes into steady lady-maintenance costs. Being single gives you full financial freedom, and you never have to worry about paying for dinner or buying presents. However, understand that this does not mean that you will save money and on the contrary; you might be spending more on partying, buying drinks, dressing well, and so on. But at least you are the master of all the money you spend.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.

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 7 must see must do’s in Mumbai

I love Mumbai, why? It’s a can-do, fabulously frantic city where anything is possible provided you have the fortitude to stick it out! I love it because it’s the only city in the country where people appreciate the value of time. Only in Mumbai, I saw old and new worlds at the same time; I saw and visited five-stars and dhaba’s at the same time. It’s such a variety of culture for me that I don’t think I can find anywhere else in the world.

This is my list of what 7 must see must do’s are in Mumbai.

1. Marine Drive: This three kilometre long promenade is perhaps the most iconic spot in Mumbai. Featured in numerous Bollywood films, Marine Drive is always populated with people that come here to sit by the ocean and enjoy the cool evening sea breeze. The stretch is often referred to as Queen’s Necklace, since the lights along the promenade look like a string of glowing jewels.

2. Colaba Causeway Market: With a number of shops, restaurants and street vendors located along the bustling Causeway, this sure is a shoppers’ paradise. Once here, look for ethnic jewellery, footwear from mojris to stilettos, bags, clothes, scarves, books, carpets, antiques and more.

3. Siddhivinayak Temple: This 200 year old temple, made of gold and marble occupies a pivotal position in the city, both figuratively and literally. Devotees from across the world visit this temple to pray for their wishes to come true.

4. Haji Ali Dargah: Dargah is located in the middle of the Arabian Sea and is spread over 4,000 square metres. A meandering concrete footpath running over the sea leads to this holy place which is visited by thousands of people every day.

5. Bandra-Worli sea link: India’s first cable-stayed bridge constructed over open seas. Drive down this eight lane bridge and the travel time from Bandra to Worli is reduced from 45 minutes to a mere 10. The best time to take a ride is during late evening when the cable on the link is illuminated.

6. Second hand books: SoBo’s most famous business area Flora Fountain’s pavements are home to second hand book sellers during the day. Whether it’s marketing genius Philip Cotler’s words of wisdom or Sidney Sheldon’s mystery novels, you can find almost all authors and titles here. These books are in decent condition and one can easily bargain for a good price.

7. Monetary Museum: This is the one stop shop for all your questions on the history of currency. Apart from valuable artefacts like coins used by Tipu Sultan, the museum also showcases information on our current currency.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.

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PS: Click here to read my another post on Mumbai written a few months back.

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Festival Of Words – 4

7 Desserts I like

The very mention of the word, ‘desserts’ brings water in my mouth and many images of my favourite sweet dish pops up in my head. There are innumerable kinds of mouth watering sweet treats and to be counted among the best 7 I like is a very big task. This list depicts the desserts that have gained appreciation from me . If you have tried them, great, and if you haven’t, then go for them immediately and make your life sweeter.

1. Rabdi – Although the rasgulla and gulab jamun give it tough competition, rabdi, with it’s thick, creamy texture and heavenly milky taste is a cut above the rest.

2. Gelato – There is no denying that the Italians treated the world when they invented the gelato. Gelatos is my favourite ice cream because of their low fat content as compared to traditional ice creams and their creamy smooth texture that melts in the mouth.

3. Tiramisu – The layer upon layer of captivatingly yummy ingredients, make this an irresistible deal. It is a combination of layers of savoiardi biscuits soaked in strong espresso and alcohol along with the heavenly zabaglione cream and topped with a sprinkling of cocoa powder.

4. Baklava – By the sound of it, Baklava may seem too rich and too sweet for most people’s tastes, what with the ingredients being pastries of flour, rose water, sweet sugary syrup, dried fruits, nuts, spices and honey. But the beauty of this treat is that inspite of such heavy sounding ingredients; it actually is a pretty light.

5. Cheesecake – I absolutely love cheesecake! Plain, with strawberries, cherries, whatever topping, I love it!

6. Mango mousse – A delicious, airy, light mango mousse definitely hit the spot. It is delightfully tasty.

7. Gajar ka halwa-  It is an absolute delight to my taste buds. Very delicious and healthy. It does taste much better during winters, but whenever possible I do make a point to have a bowl full of it.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.

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7 places to visit

Everyone has their own opinion about the best places to visit in the world. The world is obviously a big place and there are so many gorgeous places.

This is my list of what I believe are the top 7 places to visit.

1. El Nido – By far one of the most beautiful places you will find in all of the Philippines. It is quite worth the journey if you love crystal clear waters, gorgeous limestone cliffs, and vegetation galore.

2. Rome – Want to take a trip back in time about 2000 years? This city is filled with amazing architecture that dates back hundreds and thousands of years. Rome specifically has so many marvels to see, such as Il Colliseo, or the Colliseum, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and others. One will never have enough time visiting this city. That is for sure!

3. Giza -Many mysteries surround the construction of these huge pyramids, which are part of a massive mausoleum complex in the heart of the Sahara desert. No one knows exactly how they were built, but they are man built.

4. Stonehenge –  No one really knows what was the initial meaning of this huge 25-ton sandstone blocks was, though there are many theories. However, its mystery, combined with an amazing view created by the setting sun, causes a magnificent glow through the arches, and makes it a place definitely worth seeing before you keel over.

5. Paris – There is a romantic hidden in each of us, and France’s capital, Paris, is the best place to reveal it. You can go together with your significant other, or with your family, it doesn’t matter, because Paris will find something to amaze you. The list of interesting things to see in Paris might be very long, but some of the most beautiful are the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame de Paris, Versailles, and the Disney Land.

6. London – The magnificent city of London, the capital of the United Kingdom, is the place that everyone must visit. Being one of the biggest urban areas of Europe, London has many places of attraction to offer like the Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. The beauty of this old, historic city, and the large amount of places to see, made it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, let alone the entire world.

7. Hong Kong –  The city attracts 7 million visitors per year. The personal feature of this city is that attracts with the diverse contrasts of stunning cityscapes and soaring mountains, heritage sites and extensive green countryside.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.

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Festival of Words -2

7 things I can’t live without

It’s hard to think of vital because not just very few things are actually essential but are many. Let me give you a little peek into what I find essential in my life. I should say things I can’t live without.

1.A bowl of fresh almond cereals with fruits for breakfast. It is actually a must for me.

2. My Samsung galaxy note phone – I rarely leave home without it.

3.My family and friends who love and adore me. I don’t think I can survive if I don’t have my family and close friends around as they always give me support when I need it and they are also always there when I’m in trouble by chance.

4.A possible success in all areas of life, emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, social and financial.

5. My collection of books. They are my best friends.

6. Chocolates, of all the wonderful things created on Earth, chocolate hits the highest note for me.

7.Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress. Not a surprise. It’s like living 2 lives, one in reality and one in cyberspace. There’s just a constant need to interact with people. Because man is a social animal.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.

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Festival Of Words – 1

7 books in my to-read pile

 Not just a hobby but reading is my obsession. I started reading when I was 4 years old. I enjoy reading because I like to explore the imaginative world of the authors.

I read at least 2 hours every day. At the end of every month I write a note with to read/buy book list for the next month. In this way I always have books in hand and shelf to read.

Books in my to-read pile have a mix of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and essays.

1.The Other Dimension by Amrita Pritam

2.Neglected Poems By Gulzar

3.And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

4.To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

5.Life of Pi by Yann Martel

6.The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

7.Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

 I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.

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Cold Feet

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After reading her blog, tweets & columns in the newspaper, I finally decided to read Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan’s third book COLD FEET as the first book of this month’s reading quota.

COLD FEET was launched last year (2012 December).  She was everywhere, touring major Indian cities, bookstores with reading sessions. I had an invite too but I did not go for it, I thank my stars now that I gave a miss to the session of hers.

I usually finish a book in a day or two days but this dragged on and on. I could not connect with the book.  I was a bit curious to be frank after reading about so much about it in the newspapers & websites but it turned out to be discontent.

PRO’s

  1.  Set up in Bombay ( not Mumbai), my favourite city in India
  2. No grammatical errors at all. Perfect English language used.
  3. Handy and not much heavy ( my hands still ache with that Inferno’s weight)

CON’s

  1. ‘Should I leave it or should I read it to finish’ was my reaction after reading 3chapters, but I did finish it.
  2. Not a page turner, no well-built characters, ends unexpectedly, and no plot at all.
  3. Definitely not a blockbuster, but below average.
  4. Horribly slow and boring.
  5. I became cold after finishing the book.

Verdict: 2/5

Publisher – Penguin
Publication – Year 2012
Language – English
Pages – 248

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Compass Box Killer

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Compass Box Killer, is my fourth book received from Tales Pensieve to be reviewed.

Category: Crime Fiction

Price: Rs 195

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: Rupa & Co (July 1, 2013)

Language: English

About the author: Piyush Jha  is an acclaimed film director, ad filmmaker and the author of the bestselling novel, Mumbaistan. A student political leader at university, he pursued a career in advertising management after acquiring an MBA degree. His films include Chalo America, King of Bollywood and Sikandar. He lives in Mumbai.

Story description: A crime thriller set in the by-lanes of Mumbai. One afternoon, a senior police officer is found murdered. When Inspector Virkar arrives at the scene, he finds a cryptic note that spills out of a student’s compass box. Then begins a series of killings and in each, a telltale compass box reveals more clues. Accompanied by TV reporter, Raashi Virkar has to race against time to catch the Compass Box Killer before the bodies pile up. As the investigation shuttles from Mumbai to Khandala to Belgaum, Virkar is taken deep into a labyrinth of backroom deals that lead to shocking revelations about the ruthless killer’s motives.

Review: I like reading fast paced and easy reading stories, this present book belongs to that category. Crime thrillers are exciting to read for me. The very effortless language used by the author made it a quick read. I liked the way Piyush Jha has given thorough clarification of scenes with superb depiction of each personalities of the story. I finished reading it in a single stretch of 3hours. It managed to keep me hooked. It is my first book of Piyush Jha, though I heard about Mumbaistan series but never read. If one has got bored of reading non-Indian author’s crime fiction than one can definitely read Piyush Jha for a change.

Verdict: 4/5

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

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