ANYTIME GUP-SHUPS

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PANORAMA : A Collection of Short Stories

Panorama

PANORAMA – By Shilpi Chaklanobis

“PANORAMA: A Collection of Short Stories” – written by  Shilpi Chaklanobis is a collection of short stories, justifying the book title to its core. The book consists of around 15 short stories covering almost each and every aspect of human relationship and bonding like mother – daughter, father – daughter, teacher – student , husband-wife, owner – domestic help/pet, lovers, friendship. Not only it is panoramic with respect to the human relationship, it also touches different aspects of society through each story – poverty , corruption, our patriarchal society etc. The stories have been written in different backgrounds ranging between different cities in India and abroad. The author has very beautifully picked up how the characters will behave and call each other in those backgrounds.

I have enjoyed reading this book. What I loved about the book was the simple yet matured language used by the author. The writing style was fresh and very much like a seasoned writer. Although this was author’s debut novel but the way she has written, I was overwhelmed. She has done justice to each and every character. The stories were really nice, hard to pick a favorite but if I have to I will go with The Thirst. Every story had a message in it for the reader. She has no where tried to spoon feed the reader with what should happen next but the reader is left to think and decide the future. The core issues  like poverty , corruption have been addressed so beautifully yet making a significant effect on the reader. Although the book comes in the genre of fiction but the stories were very close to real life and can be very well related to the present world. At the end of the book it seemed that in the world , all these stories may be happening somewhere in real.

What could have been better in the book may be : was to do away with few editing errors in the book and the last story – The Sealed Wish had a too long beginning focusing on the way Martha was curious about the sealed urn. I wanted to read more on how Martha actually found the secret of urn in little detail.

This is a light read book for any generation of reader. I will eagerly wait for the next part of “Panorama”.

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6 Degrees – Game of Blogs

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6 Degrees – Game of Blogs is a product of an unique concept done by Blogadda. The bloggers were told to form team of around ten members each and spin a story around the same characters- Sekhar, Tara, Roohi, Jennifer, Cyrus, and Aryan Ahuja living in the same city – Mumbai. Well, its not only the names of the character that’s same across the book but their background remains the same throughout:

  1. Sekhar : a house husband and freelance writer without much of work these days;
  2. Tara : Sekhar’s wife and a highly successful professional in a media house
  3. Roohi: Sekhar and Tara ‘s 9 year old girl
  4. Jennifer : a happy go girl with her Nikon camera
  5. Cyrus: a law student
  6. Aryan Ahuja : Sekhar and Tara’s neighbour

After many rounds, three teams were selected as winners by renowned authors and 6 degrees was published. The stories which made to the final entry into the book were :

  1. The Awakening – a science fiction
  2. Entangled Life – a murder mystery
  3. Missing – A Journey Within – a thriller

I am purposefully refraining myself from giving any kind of gist for the stories. This may ruin the charm and secret or suspense factor of the stories for the book readers.

With respect to my opinion or review of this book, I simply enjoyed reading all the three short stories. Although fiction but hard to believe that how the same characters can lead entirely different lifestyle in each story. The stories were written with utmost perfection in its details, well-paced and very well can be related to our real life. The language used in the stories was simple yet chiseled and clearly looks like coming from a batch of seasoned writers. Well I remember, while reading the first story, I felt a blue eye starting at me from side. I had to close my book and look around. The story was so engrossing! Reading the stories were surely a delight.

To be honest, I did not hurry up at all in finishing the book. Since the characters were same in all the three stories , I thought of taking a break to sink in with the previous story and then jump on to the next so as to avoid any kind of comparison. However, I felt that each story being so unique in itself, it cannot be compared and will surely be unjust to do so. The characters are given their due justice in each story. The connection between the characters were well drawn , the stories were well knitted.

The second thing which I loved about the stories were that these were not at all any age specific or gender specific. Can be enjoyed by anyone at anytime. The book being a collection of short stories is ideal for a short and easy read.

So I will recommend my readers to please read this book of unique concept and do let me know, if you also felt the blue eye staring at you or if you also thought Mr. Java was a mean man and a jerk, like I did !!! 🙂

I am looking forward for the second volume of 6 degrees were I can get some new stories around these characters. I hope to see them soon! Moreover, I would like to congratulate all the teams on their win and Blogadda for initiating such innovative concepts and taking creativity to a new level.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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Sahib’s Barbeque by Ohris

I felt a little naive after Sahib introduced me to its barbeque menu inspired from traditional Hyderabadi cuisine. To all those like me who think its all about biryani and haleem , please visit this new entry of the town. Sahib has not only taken that traditional cuisine of Hyderabad but has also given a royal touch to its ambiance with live ghazals going on in background.

This was a food tasting session. We were welcomed with a masala lichi drink which was followed by Marag, Lukhmi, Bheja Fry, Shikampuri Kebab, Veg Tikki etc. My favourite was Lukhmi in this section. Then came the barbeque section which had paneer , mushrooms, pineapple, chicken and prawns. The barbeque part was average. I was expecting more variety here given the name of the restaurant is Sahib’s barbeque. The main course was a huge spread of biryani, mehkalia chicken, curries of paneer , mixed veg, chicken, prawns , katti dal etc. with variety of naans (speciality is taulia naan and a must try). I loved the unique naans Sahib had for the main course. The dessert section had choice of double ka meetha, kheer, gulab jamun, jauji halwa, khubani ka meetha and variety of ice creams. I loved the jauji halwa and the way they smoke it and serve. Do watch the process if you here and enjoy the halwa. This huge menu is complimented with salads, dahi vada and a huge collection of unique pickles. I could not taste the pickles myself as I was already overloaded my tummy.

Overall I enjoyed the food and prompt service by the staff. Few things that I felt could have been there were a better food presentation, an individual comfortable chairs instead of sofas, a little choice for mocktails and cocktails with the food and addition of variety in barbequed menu.

Sahib’s Barbeque by Ohri’s Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Aamlicious Affair At Rajdhani !

When King of Thali – Rajdhani Thali decides to bring in King of Fruits – Mango Raja on its plate, it becomes a delicious aamlicious treat for all. I have been to this kingsize thali restaurant ample number of times to cherish the traditional rajasthani dishes. Dal Bati Churma, Kichri , Gatte Ki Sabzi are some of the dishes that I love here most but this time it was an aamlicious affair at Rajdhani.

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I was invited for a food tasting event on their ongoing Mango Festival and my expectations were I will get aamras, aam panna and some aam dessert and chutneys. Fortunately, I was completely wrong and awestruck with the aamlicious menu they had served. Mango in everything and everything tasting so awesome. On menu they had kaccha aam drink , mango lassi, dal with mango, kache aam ke samosa ki sabzi, snacks filled with mango, mango chutneys, aam ras, aam pulao , aam jalebi , aam ki launji  and the list goes on and on. A glimpse of what all we had is here in the picture below.

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Never on my dreams I had thought of relishing mango in so many different forms. Thanks to Jodha Maharaj for inventing such wonderful dishes and Rajdhani for hosting such a special event. A picture of him and with him becomes mandatory then !

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I will recommend my readers to must visit this place on their ongoing Mango Festival and enjoy the summers with this innovative dishes.   I visited Rajdhani Restaurant, Forum Mall, Kukatpally, Hyderabad for the food tasting event.

Rajdhani Thali Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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“You Raise Me Up” by Arjun Hemmady – A book about hope and destiny !

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“You Raise Me Up” by Arjun Hemmady is about Aalok Sharma, a 27 year old Chartered Accountant. Aalok is an introvert person who lives in Mumbai and leads a very simple life. He has his own aspirations in life but his actions are controlled by women surrounding him – his mother, twin sister Isha, Tanvi and Priyanka. This romantic fiction makes you believe in serendipity. Whatever happens in our life happens for a reason and if we fail at times we need to ‘Raise Up’ is the motto of the book.

The story begins when Aalok is returning from Moscow to Mumbai via Delhi. He choose to take a flight from Delhi to Mumbai instead of overnight Rajdhani train just to make sure he can take rest over the weekend and have an energetic start from next week. Well as the destiny conspires he meets Priyanka in flight, a Dehradun born girl who lives in Delhi and works in legal department of Mahindra and Mahindra. This is where conversation begins between them. As rightly said the opposite attracts, same happens here as the story unfolds. The first part of the book is about how a closeness grows between Priyanka and Aalok but something is holding Aalok back whereas Priyanka is quite open about her love through her gestures. In the second part the reader is taken ten (10) years back where Aalok is staying with his parents and twin sister Isha. He meets their family friends Tanvi who comes to Mumbai to have her internship in KPMG as a part of CA education. Aalok looks upto her, as he had failed his PCA exams four times whereas Tanvi was an ace. Their friendship grows and then the twist comes. I will not reveal Part 3 of the book where actual climax is and the curiosity of the reader grows to the highest level.

Things that I liked: (a) The book is written in simple English and easy to read. This is a good read for younger generation or anyone who is looking for a light read or simple story. (b) Close to modern living and circumstances. (c) Although I have read many love stories before but this book had an interesting plot. I loved Part II of the book where grip of the story grows stronger and the way curiosity grows in the Part III as what will Aalok do now. (d) The book gives a motto not to lose hope and raise up every time you fail and sometimes we need to leave things on the destiny to decide.

Things that I did not like were, story was losing the grip sometimes and hence becoming very predictable. Secondly, conversations were dragged too much sometimes.

Overall a nice read over the weekend and I enjoyed the fact that the book could keep me away from all the screens till I finished it. I will advise my blog readers to hold on your reading till the end, you will get curious, to know what Aalok did finally!

I feel honored to receive a copy of the book signed by author himself. Would like to thank Blogadda for selecting me to review this book. I wish Arjun a very good luck with his book – “You Raise Me Up” and his future endeavours.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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An Indonesian Delight With Chef Gatot

What more a foodie can ask for when she gets an opportunity to savour her favourite Indonesian delicacy in her hometown itself. Thanks Zomato and Park Hyatt for inviting me to “Masterclass with Chef Gatot”.

The event was organized at Oriental Bar and Kitchen. As the name suggests it serves Asian cuisine. I was there for a masterclass, so beside getting the privilege to savour the dishes I also had the chance to watch and learn the making of my favourite dishes in the kitchen.  It was a four course meal for us that day – a soup, a starter, the main and a lovely dessert. A lovely Sunday lunch it was.

We started with Sato Ayam soup. It was a non-creamy soup with a beautiful lime flavour in it topped with glass noodles and boiled egg. Perfect for Hyderabad summers. Next was Satay Ayam with Peanut sauce. This was a chicken starter grilled with tangy Indonesian peanut sauce. For main course we had Nasi Goreng . For me this was the dish of the day. A flavourful rice with chicken and topped with sunny side up egg. The last leg of the menu was desserts for which we got coconut ice cream with fried banana topped with powder sugar. I am not a banana liking person however I loved the coconut ice cream.

When such a beautiful menu accompanies the great hospitality of Park Hyatt the day can not be lesser than an awesome one. Constant interaction with the chefs and answering our all layman doubts with full of patience and love was the most loving gesture I felt. They have surely raised the bar of service in my mind and I may not like anything lesser than that now. The staff and people around were so loving and caring. That’s the way you fine dine.

The other aspect which any foodie will look into will be interiors and this place score nothing less than full marks. Occupying huge space with a outdoor and indoor seating area this will be a fantastic place to enjoy your meal.

Overall its was a fantastic day for me and I recommend my readers to visit this restaurant whenever they get a chance and most probably you may find me there as well. I am going to visit this place to relive my masterclass days soon.

Thankyou once again Zomato and Park Hyatt !

Oriental Bar and Kitchen - Park Hyatt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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How We Played OUR HOLI :D

I was brought up in northern part of India somewhere close to Lucknow where Holi is one of the important festivals. Going by our history and mythology there will be umpteen reasons as to why and when we celebrate Holi but for me this festival always used to come when I had my final examination in school.

Today , I actually don’t remember when was the last time I played Holi with my friends and family. Mere thought of this four letter word gave me flume of childhood happy memories. If I dig deeper into my memory tank,  I always wondered why our school purposefully kept exams clashing Holi! Inspite of the draconian ideas our school had to deter the kids from playing Holi, me and my friends always had a plan.

So today I will tell you about how we played Our Holi. The first day is Holika Dahan where we have to put a fire in the evening to burn the devil Holika. In a group of around 6-7 kids, the task was divided. The big ones of the group would collect big logs , the medium ones would collect the small logs and take care of the bigger logs collected because the other group people may come and snatch it anytime and the little ones would collect the fallen dry leaves, newspaper, junks and some money from neighbours showing their cute puppy faces for the prasad. In the evening we all with our parents merrily burn the devil Holika , celebrate over the waste collection we did as a team, feel proud that our flare was taller and brighter than others and happily munch on the prasad with a hope we will do great in our exams.

Now the next day and the best one because parents were not going to shout that why are we so dirty! What a relief it was. We started our day with wearing old cloths, greasing our hair and body with coconut oil and then move out with fighting weapons, the pichkaris.  As soon as you move out the game of colours begin. The only rule was colour your friends as much as you can. When colour can make no difference on our appearance, it was time to attack the other group as a team. The motive was to win , no idea what we won. Unfortunately, if we ran out of our water colours or  pichkari got blocked with colour then we borrowed some gulal from elder ones but that can not make us win the game. So the wet mud balls!  Finally if either a team has won the game or parents had somehow recognised their rainbow coloured kids then we were taken to home. Well I do not have a picture of our gang but we would have looked something like the below picture by the end(random google image).

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Random Google Image Just For Description

After bath  we would eagerly wait to go out in the evening and check out our friends. Most of us would be pink even after multiple baths and if you are in no colour that evening then it means you have not played your Holi well. It was a disgrace! Whatever it was we would happily munch on sweet gujiyas, play, laugh, giggle and again hope that we do well in our exams.

Don’t remember how many of us actually did well in the school exam but we all are living a great life now and whenever we meet somewhere the Holi memories are still a topic to be discussed in the gang. We all have passed the test of friendship and learnt the value of working as team.

Thankyou BlogAdda and Parachute Advance for giving me an opportunity to share my great Holi memories with all. I’m pledging #KhulKeKheloHoli this year by sharing my Holi memories at BlogAdda in association with Parachute Advansed. The video below has made me all the more nostalgic and I request my readers to watch it !

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Dine O China

We chose this restaurant for a casual dinning experience for our Sunday dinner. This is a new entry in the list of Chinese restaurant in Gachibowli, Hyderabad area.

I personally like the Indian version of Chinese , the spicy one !   So don’t know if people love that non-authentic version or not but I prefer that. So there goes a plus point to the restaurant for that.

The ambiance is pretty nice and comfortable with ample seating area. We chose to sit near the huge glass window overlooking the city lights. I loved the combination of lamp shades they have used, its a mix of red and white in the center and black hammered metal ones on the sides.

For the food we started with lemon coriander soup , crackling spinach and potato, fried chicken wings. I felt the soup was too thick in its texture , I like the lemon coriander soup to flow like water but the taste was good. The crackling spinach and potato was fine would have loved had it more spinach and less potato in it. The fried chicken wings were stunning! In main course we ordered Chili Paneer and Schezwan Noodles. The noodle was nice and chili paneer was awesome. The paneer was cotton soft and just melted in mouth. The best chili paneer I have had in Hyderabad. The quantity of food served was good, one dish was enough for two people.

Now the service. It was remarkable! The staff was very prompt and courteous in their service. The food came very quickly. Then the bill. We paid around Rs 1000. Very economical restaurant.

Overall a great restaurant and we will visit it again on Chinese craving days.

Dine O China Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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It’s All In Our Mind !

Today’s Daily Prompt is – Divide  !

Whenever we, atleast I, think of the word ‘divide’ the first few thoughts which come to my mind are minus, loosing, sorrow, grief, enmity, war,rule etc. How can a word by all itself be so negative ! So when I thought once again about the word ‘divide’ , I realised that I have been unnecessarily too harsh with the word. There can be good things associated with the word too, like share, give, happiness etc.

As kids we have been always taught by our parents that divide and share your chocolates with siblings and friends. When we were adults we were told share and divide your sorrows with family and friends and it will vanish.

Thus dividing or divide is not bad at all. It’s all about the circumstances and the way we perceive it. It’s All In Our Mind !  Stay positive, stay happy.

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New Badges – Loving It !

Got two new badges and I am absolutely in love with them. Thanks IndiBlogger !


Earth Is Calling - Winner!

This one is for Save Tree : Go 100 % Paperless At Workplace


McCain IndiBlogger Contest Winner

This one is for Origin Of A Beautiful Smile 🙂

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