Book Review - Diffcult Daughters(Manju Kapur)

The book "Difficult Daughters" by Manju Kapur revolves around a large family  living near India - Pakistan border. Its set around the partition period. Protagonist of the book - eldest daughter of the
family -  decides not to take the trodden path of early marriage and motherhood.

She has fallen in love with a married professor and in a bid to stall marriage, embraces education.But no where in the book does her passion for studying or later teaching comes thru - her life seemed to revolve around the adulterous affair with a spineless teacher! Even later, when he takes her in as his second wife, the story focuses on how his  first wife and MIL makes her life miserable!

My grouse with the book boiled down to this - the author is painted a not-so-rosy future for a girl who decides to follow her heart as compared to other sisters who take the trodden oath of arranged marriage and seemed to lead a happy life! Errr is this really what we want to tell our women? Or did I somehow miss any subtleties in this story...

Having said all this, I will credit the author for how well she bought out the pains of  partition - even without going into too many gory details she bought the horror it played in daily lives!

My overall Rating - 3/5!

On The Last Day...

I had woken up with a light heart for I knew it was my last day there! The admission with scholarship at  Ismalia university seemed God-sent opportunity to escape the physical and mental trauma at my in-laws place.

But my hear skipped a beat as I absently leafed through the medical report – a mandate for my admission! The “positive” against the “Pregnant” column was all it took to change my heart… 

Its only today – five years and three children later - I realize that all these “pregnancies” were premeditated by my MIL and husband to stop me from flying away…

This is my entry for "100 words on Saturday" for the prompt "I knew it was my last day there"! I have always wondered how a school acquaintances pregnancy announcement always came on the heels of her wanting to break out from the marriage...

Be Safe!

Come October and am all set making plans for our annual vacations - I at times feel "planning of Holiday" is as much fun(if not more) as the actual holiday!

The other day, as we sat in the office cafeteria discussing our holiday plans, a friend was v excited about her upcoming solo trip - a 15 day long backpacking trip across Kerala. She was doing the usual touristy places of Kovalam, Munnar, Wayanad but also wanted to do a few off beat places too. Though it being a solo trip and  first time she was in Kerala, she wanted a few safety tips. These were the ones I could think top of my head then! Please feel free to add any:

  1. Skimpy dressing (shorts, skirts below knee) is a big No especially outside the touristy centers. A swim suit maybe ok in a Kovalam beach frequented by foreigners but will be a strict no at other beaches!
  2. Be wary of the "Lodges" that pepper the tourist centers. Though economical and centrally located, do a thorough research before zeroing down on any
  3. Make sure you inform your family or friends about your daily itinerary including the hotel you are staying at! This way they will be able to swing into action if they do not hear from you at regular intervals.
  4. Especially in Kerala - except the v touristy centers - the entire state goes off to sleep as early as 10 PM. So in case you intend to return late, ensure you have made proper travel
  5. While traveling solo, use public transport - they may not be half as comfortable as a cab but you are definitely more safe!
  6. Use a GPS or have a rough idea of the route especially when using cab services. This way, you know of any deviation en-route. Do not hitch rides to save a few pennies!
  7. Be cautious in dealing with opposite sex - drivers, lodge owner etc. Do not be over friendly - be safe than sorry.
  8. Install a safety app like "Smart Suraksha" on your phone - at the press of a button, it will alert your family and friends if you are in danger.
  9. Keep a few emergency phone nos including that of local authorities in your speed dial.
  10.  Always remember the basics of personal deference - carry a pepper spray, minimal jewellery, sufficient cash, not wandering away in nights and be safe! Keep your wits - trust your intuition!Be Safe....
I am sharing my Smart Suraksha Tips at in association with Smart Suraksha App.

Stay Safe - Smart Suraksha!

Thus came to end another day at office. The time was 10:30 in the night. By the time, office cab would drop me home - where baba would be waiting up no matter what the hour - it would easily be midnight! Nothing depressed me as the v thought of it - will a day come when I would reach home in time for at least dinner if not evening chai!

 As I walked towards the waiting office cab, my eyes looked around for Ismail - a regular companion on the route. My heart sank when I realized he is on leave - the new office rule mandated that if a female employee is travelling lone, she should be accompanied by an office guard. This was easier said than done - due to the shortage of guards this sometime meant a wait time of one hour! The prospect of reaching home after one in the night made me hyperventilate. I slowly walked up to Basu - the regular driver on our route - and asked him to sneak away via the back entry without the supervisor noticing us. Baba's warnings of not to travel alone rang in my ears but considering the roads will still be packed and also Basu is been our cab driver for past few months I decided it was a risk worth taking!

As the cab hit the ring road and the cool night air caressed my face, I at last started relaxing. Baba’s phone is been busy for last few mins - Mai must be on the phone with her sisters. As we entered the city, the roads were once again jam-packed! Basu as usual took the inner by lanes – it went through dark deserted streets but would at least save us a good 30 mins! I sat back and soon got lost in the late night FM music.....

Even when Basu slowed down near an open ground, I didn’t think anything was amiss! But the moment he jerked to a stop and accosted me out I realized it was too late... My screams would go unheeded and there was no way I could make a quick call or send a message asking for help! It was then I wished I had Smart Suraksha with me which at the press of a single button would have sent out message of help to five pre-chosen contacts from my contact list along with my current location!

While this is a fictitious story, In today's IT industry where late night shifts is more of a rule than a exception and considering most of us carry around a smart phone, it makes so much sense to install a app like Smart Suraksha on our phones!You can read more about it here.

smart SURAKSHA - screenshot

I am participating in the Seeking Smart Suraksha contest at in association with Smart Suraksha App.

The Green Fingers!

Every once in a while, I rue my lack of green fingers! No plant (not even a money-plant) has survived under my TLC! But I have a trooper of a friend who despite the bout of failures gifted me a Tulsi sapling nurtured by her mom.

Maybe cause of aunty’s green fingers, this sapling soon grew tall, bushy – though the lack of new flower buds even after weeks disheartened me!

So imagine my surprise, when today I was unexpectedly greeted with the sight of my Tulsi brimming with flower buds :-D. A small achievement but something am definitely delighted about!

This post is in response to the 100 word prompt "Every Once In A While" on WT.... A "Shady" post for my fav "shady" gal who contributed this prompt ;)

My savior in her small balcony that she has converted into a mini forest now :)

Blog Action Day - Dark is Beautiful!

Anisha woke up with a flurry of excitement - after all, this was the day for she had been practicing for the last few weeks! Today was the audition for class 4 students and the best of them would be chosen to play the role of Mother Mary - a privilege, her mom told her!

She was one of the first to reach the venue in her pearly white costume. Despite the butterflies in her stomach, she mouthed the lines with perfect diction and drama just as she had practiced it! Anisha hopped and skipped her way back to class sure that she had the role in her bag! 

Next day after school assembly, the class teacher assembled the entire class to declare the results of the audition! Anisha fought her tears as the teacher announced that her arch-rival Nisha was chosen to be the Mother Mary - simply cause she was the "fair beauty with the chiseled face" - just perfect to play the coveted role! Anisha along with other dark-skinned girls of her class were chosen to play the motley role of a shepherd! 

Thus at the tender age of eight, Anisha had her her first encounter with discrimination based on color - a uphill battle she had to struggle against all through her life! 

While this is a fictitious story, this could be the story of many a dark skinned girl in India! This is so ingrained in most of us, that a jibe on our color is simply laughed off! I should admit that I am equally guilty of ribbing my sister many a times about her darker skin tone. I did not even realize that am violating a very basic human right..... 

I am glad that "Dark is beautiful" campaign is making waves and maybe in the next generation, a little girl's self esteem isn't based on her skin colour alone! Maybe she will realise that her "Dark Brown Chocolate" colour is as delicious (if not more) as her "Fairy White" companions!

I am participating in Blog Action Day. Blog Action Day is a free annual event, that is organised since 2007. Its aim is to unite the bloggers from all over the world, by posting about the same issue, on the same day, in order to raise awareness and trigger a positive global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all.  Around 1, 717  blogs from 124 countries, across 26 languages have registered to take part in Blog Action Day 2013.  This year, the focus is on Human Rights.


Dussera - Chennai Style!

This year we happened to spend Dussera in Chennai. In this part of the country, this festival is associated with Golu(Doll Arrangement). Every couple, is gifted a pair of wooden toys on the eve of their marriage and to this they keep adding new dolls year on year.

A typical Golu!
While in many cases Golu seems like dolls arranged thoughtlessly row after row, look closely and you may be surprised! Mind you, usually the girls of the house put random dolls together to create these scenes.....

A village house complete with temple and Kids playing Caroms

A temple scene complete with devotees and Horse men!
A Musical Recital In Progress
Grain Merchants - Don miss the Money Box
A scene straight From South Indian Wedding
Post Marriage Procession :)

A Haiku...

Have you checked out the latest challenge at WT? This time its a haiku contest.... all you have to do is pen a Haiku around this pic

the blooming berries
nurtured by sun, rain and love
planters eyes aglow

Go ahead submit your Haiku. You may end up winning a framed copy of this picture from the photographer himself(A co-incidence totally that he happens to be my beta Half ;) )

One Lovely Blog!

Just the other day I was reminiscing fondly of how almost all the posts here are in response to a WT prompt, when today a fellow triber bullies me about it ... Now tell me with friends like this who needs enemies ;) But errr today's post while not in response to any prompt is courtesy another lovely blogger I met via WT. She awarded me with a "One Lovely blog" award :-D. Talk of nice people huh ;)

As a part of this award I am required to mention eight things about me, share five writing quotes and nominate five bloggers for the awards.

 Now cause I think I have already exposed my heart and soul  on this blog ;), I delegated this task of coming up with eight things about me to a person I consider my "Soul Sister". These are the eight things she came up impromptu about me:

1. Outgoing
2. Strong Willed
3. Book Worm
4. Sensitive
5. Sympathetic
6. Intransigent
7. Obstinate
8. Overprotective(!!!)

Just ignore last 3 points, am a sweetheart alright ;)

Now for my 5 favorite quotes

“Every true love and friendship is a story of unexpected transformation. If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven't loved enough.”
Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love

 “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

“Never argue with an idiot; he will bring you down to his level and win from experience.”
Brad Slipiec

“You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not.”
Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper

There's Giving someone space and then there's giving them so much space they end up thinking u don't care....

  ― Susan Lewis



 Now to pass it onto 5 lovely people whose blogs i enjoy reading


Pixie - Err honestly more for the online camaraderie that she brings along everywhere

Santulan - Despite the happy go lucky guy he comes across as, his writing has a surprising depth to it!

Philosopher Stone - The serial writer at WT :)

Vaayaadi Pennu - Well for nothing is she my 'Twin Soul' ;)

Throo Da Looking glass - ;). Honestly for those lovely lines that follow every picture of his!