March 29 2016

“Colour, colour which colour do you like”?

I love colours. It inspires me, makes me happy or sad, confident or uncomfortable. All colours are made from an assortment of primary colours of blue, red, and yellow. It is amazing to think that all colours in the world are created from this simple pallet.

How does the colour orange make you feel? Orange for me is strong and energetic colour. Like yellow and red, it can be very attention-grabbing which is perhaps why it is often used. Just like orange colour I am bright, happy, and uplifting. People tend to either love it or hate it but you cannot ignore this colour.

Who doesn’t love the orange coloured sweet called as Gajar ka Halwa? Gajar ka halwa needs no introduction as Indian dessert. It is rich delicious and creamy, with all the goodness of carrots and dry fruits, I could go on and on praising this self-indulgent dessert! Whenever my craving for sweets sparks, Gajar ka halwa comes to the salvage. I made this bright colourful sweet this afternoon. It is my happiness in a plate/bowl. There is something in the layers of this very amazingly tasty halwa that magically alters the taste of the final product, perhaps the reason is as it is made with lots of ghee, milk, khoya and dry fruits and also I have added much of my love. This heightens the calories but gifts the halwa a deep bright orange color.


“This post is a part of the prompt of the week, Color , by The BlogChatter online community of bloggers in Twitter which meet every Wednesday at 8.30 PM IST discussing various blogging topics on twitter.”

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March 29 2016

Color Me Rich


Blurb : A sensitive love story of a handsome and talented struggling painter Akash Saigal. What happens when he marries an extremely rich and beautiful artist and art investor Zenobia Taraporevala? Grab your copy @ |
About the author: Mohan Deep, is an Indian author, painter and Feng Shui Master. Mohan Deep is the author of ‘The Mystery and Mystique of Madhubala’ (1996), ‘It’s My Life’ (Novel) (1997), ‘Simply Scandalous: Meena Kumari’ (1998), ‘Eurekha!’ – an unauthorized biography of Rekha. (1999), ‘Four Options’ (2000), ‘Feng Shui for the Bold & Beautiful, the Rich and Famous’ (2001) and ‘Nehru and the Tantrik Woman’ (2002). After a sabbatical of a decade, during which he touched upon the lifves of people as a Feng Shui Master, he is back with The Five Foolish Virgins, a book of fiction, to be launched in April 2013. Mohan Deep is arguably the only Indian author to write what is often described as controversial, unauthorized star biographies in India. Columnist-journalist and former editor of ‘Illustrated Weekly of India’, Khushwant Singh called him ‘a truly gifted gossip writer’. “The maverick writer”, like columnist-reviewer-poetess Tara Patel described him has also been called William Goldman of Bollywood’s stars (By Behram Contractor, the Editor of Afternoon Despatch & Courier) (Source) Kitty Kelly of India (By R K Bajaj, the Editor of ‘The Daily’). Interestingly, almost every book he has wrote/penned has invited controversies for its bold content.
Review: I was more than happy to receive a copy of Colour Me Rich from the Author himself – Mohan Deep who is very accomplished author and well known named journalist in the field of Hindi film industry (Bollywood). I read his work (at length and full) for the first time, though I have read and heard about his earlier & only book – Eurekha. I am a big fan of Hindi films (who is not, I am sure everyone is). Through Colour Me Rich, we enter the world of artist Akash Saigal and the narration being racy- pacy, makes it an interesting read over a hot cup of tea or coffee. The story is about Akash and his quick journey to success, the dilemmas, struggles and challenges he faces. He makes Zenobia as his life partner and he does adjust in her world sharp contrast of his character, is reasonably praiseworthy. Author touched a very pertinent point through his protagonist Akash, that creativity doesn’t differentiate between rich and poor through expressions of Akash when he feels at his creative best in his Adarsh Nagar residence rather than in Zenobia’s posh penthouse. Then there is Pran, who is Akash’s friend and he immediately reminds all of us of Pappiji – of the movie Tanu Weds Manu fame played by Deepak Dobriyal. As the author Mohan Deep was a student of Architecture, the time he spent at Jehangir Art Gallery and Coffee House Samovar and the observations he did on the painters and artists can be seen in the character of Akash very well. To conclude, I found the book Colour Me Rich as a mixture of struggle, rise, fame, romance, murder, unfaithfulness, deceit which would keep readers enthusiastic to the end till the jolts hit our brain. I highly suggest this book.

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March 24 2016

The Honest Season

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Blurb: 2 political rivals fighting for power
1 journalist caught in the battle
6 tapes secretly recorded in Parliament
1 government with a lot to hide
Sikander Bansi, an unlikely political heir in Delhi, secretly records politicians in Parliament as they haggle to become cabinet ministers, bag defence contracts, dodge criminal charges and collect corporate largesse. Among them is a rising leader of the People’s Party, Nalan Malik, whose success has come through unscrupulous means. When Sikander suddenly disappears, Mira Mouli, a newspaper journalist with an unusual gift for knowing people’s thoughts, receives the controversial Parliament tapes along with clues to find him. She is attracted to Sikander’s principles and is wary of Nalan’s deceit. But her powers of knowing tell her a different story, one that she can unravel only at the cost of her life. From the bestselling author of Shoes of the Dead, this is a disturbing political fiction that reveals why Parliament functions behind gates closed to the public.

About the author: Kota Neelima has been a journalist for 20 years and holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. She writes on politics, democratic reforms and issues concerning rural poor in India. She is Senior Research Fellow, South Asia Studies at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC. Neelima has written four books of fiction based on her exploration of Indian politics, her experience as a journalist as well as a researcher. Each book questions the accepted notions of politics and society and seeks to demarcate desperation of hopelessness and choice.

Review:  The Honest Season is the 2nd book I have read of Author Kota Neelima. The book starts as intelligent political thriller which made me wonder that these all refers to some of the recent national level impacted events. There were many oh God moments where I felt the plot got a bit crushed in them. I was interested to read this book, after reading the blurb but it did not appeal much to me. I am used to the power feel being born and brought up in Delhi and also coming from a family bureaucrats. The Delhi portrayed in the novel was not something new to read. At some places, the novel went beyond politics and corruption, making it a little boring read. No doubt The Honest Season has touched those issues of our daily lives in a different manner; I appreciate the author for her writing style. The story is of 2 political rivals’ struggle of power and a woman journalist caught in that dirty battle, generating perfect scene of the Indian politics. At times I felt the book can be made into a movie as it has that kind of potential to be on screen. Though it kept me engaged, some parts were real boring. Otherwise it is a good read and who have not read author Kota Neelima earlier can go for this book.

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March 22 2016

The Atheist’s Mass (Penguin Little Black Classics)

‘This is as much a mystery as the Immaculate Conception, which of itself must make a doctor an unbeliever.’ A stunning pair of short stories about faith and sacrificial love.

The short story of the master surgeon Desplein and how his disciple Bianchon caught the avowed atheist heading to mass four times a year. Desplein relates how although being a naturalist, he still attends mass. I think the central conflict in this short story is what atheist feel and the naturally human desire to please either yourself or others. When is a lie evil? Is it wrong to tell someone it’s going to be okay, when you know they are going to die? Desplein is driven by compassion, and many of those touched by the divine are as well. The question, then, do you need to be religious to be compassionate? And if you are not religious, should God (if you believe) be compassionate of those who are not? Very interesting short story, one of which, I can easily relate to and that does not have easy answers for the believers or nonbelievers.

My first bit of Balzac. I enjoyed his writing style and apparent depth of character, creating a detailed picture of the story’s characters, with only a few words. I’m intrigued, and plan to read more.  The first a discovery of why an atheist might attend a solemn mass for twenty years, the second a seemingly sentimental tale about the strange performances of normality enacted during the French revolution. Telling of their times, they were saccharine didacticism on the one hand, and screaming revelations of political and social inequalities on the other. The art of misdirection embodied. Clever stuff.

When I first started reading the Atheist’s Mass I got about half-way through and was thinking “Oh great, another book written to tell us how all atheists secretly want / revert to religion” and then I finished it, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was in fact about an atheist who, in spite of their own personal beliefs, gave the only thing the could to honor the memory of someone who helped them.
It was in fact a story about an atheist being a normal, rational and honorable human being.


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March 21 2016

Savoir Faire -Do the WRITE thing


Savoir Faire is a collection of 40 poems on Life, Love, Abstract, Nature, Songs etc. It’s a package of emotions and experiences we go through on a day to day basis.

About the Author: Ashwini Dodani is a Brand Strategist based out of Mumbai, India. He’s been writing poetry since the age of 20 and considers words as a release. Savoir Faire, his first poetry book, features poems from his collection over years and is somewhere related to his own experiences and thoughts.

Review:  I thank author Ashwini Dodhani for sending me a copy of his book Savoir Faire for a read and review. I am not a fan of poetry but reading short books (this one is just 74 pages) catch my interest instantly. Savoir Faire has 40 poems and every poem is different from the each. There were feelings of merry and contented to pensive and wistful. This is for the first time I read author Ashwini’s poems and if he happens to pen down another book I will surely read it. The poems are modest. I did not feel them to be misled or cajoling types with excessive and arrogant usage of terminology instead the author attempted to write the poems in such a way which invoked a poignant tie with the poems. Every line and word written has a meaning and a reason for being at the right place. I appreciate the way in which author has made his poetry simple and on the other hand he surprised with the descriptions used. Amid the 40 poems in the book, few poems really are worth a mention- Fly, Communication, Learn, Not perfect and That beautiful night. Nevertheless, one poem that truly engrossed me is That Beautiful Kohl Eyed girl. To put imagine yourself as another person and express their messy mind wonderfully is appreciable. The book is beyond doubt worth our time (it took me not more than 2 hours to read and write this review), I am sure you will like the emotions and expressions each poem has.

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March 20 2016

Leonardo da Vinci (Penguin Little Black Classics)

‘In this painting of Leonardo’s there was a smile so pleasing that it seemed divine rather than human.’

Often called “the first art historian”, Vasari writes with delight on the lives of Leonardo and other celebrated Renaissance artists .

Though an artist in his own right, Giorgio Vasari is best known for his histories of famous Renaissance artists. This is an extract from his three-volume Lives of the Artists looking at Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Filippo Lippi, and Sandro Botticelli.

The essay on da Vinci was enlightening on who he was as a person rather than just the list of accomplishments he’s known for. We learn that he was a physically beautiful man with a magnetic personality who charmed everyone around him, but he also surprisingly comes across as a bit lazy too, creating sporadically rather than consistently. When a patron took him and his entourage on – paying his bed and board, ensuring he had space to create, etc. – da Vinci would do nothing for several weeks before, just as patience was wearing thin, creating something, usually a painting, that completely knocks them down. Da Vinci’s argument for his behaviour was that artists are always creating in their minds even though it appears they are doing nothing. It’s interesting to discover that in order to get the model for the Mona Lisa to smile, da Vinci hired entertainers to keep her amused while he painted her. He decided upon the brilliant choice to make her stand out from other portraits by smiling and that choice arguably made the painting the masterpiece it is. I also didn’t realise he and Michelangelo hated each other! Vasari’s history is delightful, presenting da Vinci as effortlessly brilliant, from his art projects to engineering, scientific experiments, and miscellany (as an entertainment for royalty, he created a mechanical lion whose chest opened up to reveal flowers!). It’s not a comprehensive account but a colourful one nonetheless.

The other two essays aren’t as exciting, mostly as Lippi and Botticelli’s lives were more mundanely focused on art whereas da Vinci’s life transcended art to have a much wider historical impact. Lippi (an artist I didn’t know about until reading this) was a warm and generous person whose teachings influenced his students, the most famous of which was Botticelli who I know of from his iconic Birth of Venus painting. As to his character, Botticelli was something of a randy bastard, chasing women throughout his life! Maybe it’s the translation but for a 16th century writer, Vasari is very easy to read. He’s certainly the better of some 19th century writers I’ve read, even some 21st century writers, so it’s no wonder he’s more known for his books than his paintings. A thoroughly accessible writer. I really liked Vasari’s essay on da Vinci – the others not so much. It’s worth checking out though for that.

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