Book Review _ Five Petals by Chinmayee Gayatree Sahu

Details About the Book

The Book was released as a part of Blogchatter’s ebook carnival. In the very same event, my book Life in the Time of Coronavirus was released as well.

Book Name – Five Petals
Author – Chinmayeee Gayatree Sahu
Genre – Fiction
Pages – 31
Language – English
Download Link – Five Petals


Five Petals is a book of five short stories. The characters in each of these stories are from different walks of life and different age groups. This has enabled the author to give us a varied spread of stories, keeping them all interesting. The book has only 31 pages which makes it a one sitting read.

The Book begins with a college story wherein Piyush, a reserved boy develops feelings for his classmate Ridhhima. As Piyush struggles to confess his feelings that he has kept hidden for over two years, Kunal Kapoor joins the college and gradually gets close to Ridhhima and they fall in love. As they go their separate ways after school, life happens in a full circle and they meet at crossroads again. In this story, Chinmayee portrays how our lives are all inter-dependent and how the right influence can uplift us and turn our lives around.

In the third story of the book, Vinod, a hard working and ambitious young man decides that he needs a break from his family to enjoy his bachelor days. He gets posting as a Chemical Engineer in a different city and decides to take it up. This is where he meets Deepa, a coworker and for the first time in his life, falls in love. However because of the conservative nature of her family, she is wary of sharing her whereabouts or her personal details with Vinod. If her family knew about their relationship, she would never be allowed to work. The author lays out the thought process and the difficulties faced by the protagonist so well that we understand him like he is our own. This lays the foundation for the way the story unfurls.

Among the other three stories, one gives us a glimpse into a family in lock-down during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Another takes us through the lives of a couple who own a resort in Philippines. The one that will tug at your heartstrings would be the story of a grandfather and his two grand children, especially if you were close to your grandparents.

The author has tried to keep all the stories different from one another. Chinmayee’s weapon is emotions and human relationships. She has used them so beautifully to weave the stories. Relatable situations and simple language makes it a breezy read.

As much as the stories are crisp, in some places the author could have elaborated on the characters’ emotions since all these stories have the scope for working more on the emotional aspects. This could have helped the readers develop more connection with the characters.


The book will take you through different states of mind, and keep you hooked. Here is an excerpt from the book that applies to us humans as much as it applies to plants:

“A plant can be given any amount of care, fertilizers, timely
exposure to sunlight but unless it takes up the effort by itself to absorb the nutrients it is
of no use. If it did not know to do so, it won’t be able to survive the test of time.”


My Book Life in the Time of coronavirus is available for free download. It deals about how our lives individually and as a community changed due to the pandemic while taking a closer look at some personal anecdotes.


Name of the Book – Designing a Positive Micro-Universe

Author – Judy Morris

Genre – Non-fiction, Self help

Price – Available for Free Download for a limited period HERE

Language – English


The book is a potpourri of Self-help tips, tips to improve relationships, some travel related pointers and her take on sustainable traveling and living in harmony with nature. It takes us through different aspects of an individual’s life both mental and physical. It first focuses on the individual aspects of well-being, it then narrates as to how this well-being can be achieved in relationships and finally as a community. Judy Morris – the author – is passionate about sustainable travel and living. This has led her to explain how we human beings and nature are inter-linked and how we can live in harmony with the environment.


The author begins with focusing on the Self. The first section talks about how we as individuals can better ourselves with respect to happiness, positivity and the competitive mentality that has been driving us since birth. She beautifully lays down the fact that positivity and happiness are products of mental and physical well-being. She gives her readers the tips for changing their thought processes and actions in order to accommodate more positivity and happiness.

The next area the author focuses on is the relationship. Often, we give a lot to our relationships and what we reap from them shapes our lives. In this scenario, it is critical that we understand what we need from a marriage/relationship and compare that to the reality. The book first gives us an understanding of marriage from the author’s point of view. It then gives us a checklist of sorts that could be used to understand our compatibility with our partner/prospective partner, and improve our relationship further.

The author, Judy Morris, gives us the example of the lifestyle followed by Bishnois of Rajasthan to make us understand how we could live in harmony with nature. We don’t have to take the drastic measures, but we definitely can begin with baby steps. We all heard of the various animals that were sighted in unusual places during the lock-down. What better example could one give, to portray the impact of humans (or lack thereof) on the environment?

An avid traveller, she then gives tips on planning a travel while not being too hard on your pocket, and on traveling responsibly. She introduces us to the concept of virtual tourism, how it has gained prominence during the lock-down and why we should start thinking of it as a travel option.


The author had some simple but valid points that made me think. Here is one:

“When a seed germinates, life happens and it continues till the plant dies. However many times, the blooming of a flower or ripening of a fruit is often valued more. This is because we rank the achievement of a particular activity more than the activity itself.”

If you have wanted to make positive changes in lifestyle with respect to sustainability, this book is for you. It is a breezy read with mostly two-page chapters. I’d definitely recommend for a quick informative read.

My Book ‘Life in the Time of Coronavirus’ released at the #Blogchatterebook carnival is available for Free Download HERE. It talks about life at a personal level and the humane aspects during the Pandemic.

A Bucket-list For a Better Lifestyle in 2019

I am surprised and equally glad that I am here in 2019 with my second post, continuing my blogging. It’s a small step on my part to make 2019 worthwhile. To start with, let me assure you one thing. Making a bucket-list and trying to stick to it, has its benefits. Because I made 9 trips in 2018 as opposed to zero in most of the years before that, all because of the bucket-list I had prepared.


Since my earlier bucket-list sort of worked, here I am creating another one for 2019.

Why a Bucket-list?

Most of us grovel under the weight of the things that we have to do, and want to do. But often, we neglect the important things and don’t realize that we are wasting away valuable time. Sometimes, I even forget that there were a dozen things I had to do. A bucket-list is a road map of sorts,

  • Giving you an idea of things you can do.
  • Reminding you the things you want to do and,
  • Giving you the push.

The goal isn’t to finish all the milestones. But to strive and complete at least a few in place of doing nothing at all.

If you aimed at reading 12 books but finished 8 books, instead of fretting over the 4 unread ones, you should be happy that you kept a goal in the first place. Without the goal, you might have read only 2 or 3!

My Bucketlist 2019

  1. Volunteer at an Old age Home – This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time, but never got to doing. I have always wanted to make a difference; be the reason for someone’s happiness and be the source of someone’s inspiration. This year, I need to constantly remind myself to make it happen. I want to give back to the Universe.
  2. Read 12 books. Read Everyday – I always keep this goal in my list but never really get to finishing it. Cell phones have reduced our attention span. I cannot finish reading a page without checking my phone in between – A perfect example of low productivity and lack of focus due to cell phones. I want to get back to reading as well as improve my concentration. A book a month is achievable.

    The Books ready to be read
    The Books ready to be read
  3. Write a blog post a week – This post is a part of the one post a week plan. The important part is to keep this going. This time I intend to focus more on the topics that I choose. I want my blog to become more useful. I want people to find happiness and help in my blog.
  4. Gratitude Journaling – I am just conjuring this up in my head. Just today, I thought I should write down the things I am grateful for. Either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. So I’ll either write a post at the end of every month or write in my diary at the end of every week as to the things I am grateful for. That means, I just missed 2 weeks!
  5. Travel – I have decided to make 2 long trips this year and 4 to 6 short trips. This means I will be exploring North or North East India for the first time. It scares the hell out of me, but also, I am excited!
    Did you know that I haven’t been to any of the mainstream places such as Goa, Pondicherry, Gokarna or Hampi? Well, so one or more of those will be covered as well, I hope.
  6. Listen to Myself and My Needs – As I grew, at some point or the other, I began to move things around to suit everyone else’s lives. When I listen to music I am always wondering if I am disturbing others. If I am switching on the fan, I am looking around and seeing if anyone else has a problem. And these questions keep resurfacing in my head. Instead of being in my own element I am always wondering if everyone else is happy. This is a habit I need to stop – obsessing over others’ comfort and ignoring mine!
  7. Eat Responsibly – Staying in a PG has its cons. The biggest of all is the lack of nutritious food. I need to try to include some nutrition in my diet. Oats, sprouts and boiled eggs are a few to start with. I am also trying hard to eat my food on time so that I do not compromise my health.

This is a rough list and I intend to come back and make changes or additions so that I improve for the better by the end of 2019. It is always a great thing to start. So I am starting by putting this out in the Universe.

So far I have gone on one trip and am reading a book that I had started last year. I have bought Oats, eggs and green grams but haven’t started using them. The first baby steps have begun. It is up to me to be consistent.

Do you have a bucket-list? What do you want to achieve by the end of 2019?


Book Review – The Last Attractor of Chaos

Book Name – The Last Attractor of Chaos
Author – Abhinav Singh
Rating – 3.5/5


“Whenever chaos go beyond a measure of control, it gives birth to an attractor to restore balance.” This line from the book reminded me of,
“Dharma Samsthapanarthaya Sambhavami Yuge Yuge”.

Gist – Ashwin Rathore gets killed and as he dies, he realizes that the death was ideally aimed at his pregnant wife. The major part of the book deals with how Ashwin Rathore, after his death, tries to protect his wife and his unborn child with the help of his own perpetual and immortal pair (Named Tantunam). The author Abhinav Singh has depicted the idea of a perpetual pair (a particle) that is present for/with each human being. The pair assists the respective person in the choices he or she makes whether in birth or death.

Ashwin along with Tantunam decides to save Shruti from the clutches of the perpetrators in spite of the restrictions they face in their afterlife. During this process, Ashwin realizes that there was more to Shruti than he had known. Rest of the story is intertwined with Ashwin saving Shruti and getting to know her better.

Analysis – By now it is evident that the Last Attractor of Chaos is not your normal book. As the blurb rightly reads, ‘Particle physics, duality and quantum enigma are the building blocks of this story’. Do you have to know them to understand the book? No. But will knowing these areas help? Yes. As I am not from a physics background, I had to reread some of the sentences to get at least a vague sense of how things worked in the book. But that did not hamper the story interpretation at all.

The language used is simple. But the description of certain scenes and actions lack fluidity. It has the effect of watching a poorly shot stunt scene. When an attack happens, you know that there are about two other people who could act simultaneously, but they just wait for their chance to get killed. Also, I felt that there were unnecessary punch dialogues in situations, said by people which made it over dramatic. In short, it does require a bit of fine tuning.

On the bright side, the books stands out from rest of them due to a multitude of reasons:

  1. The book discusses at length about a missing weapon, a deadly one. This is the beginning of all the chaos.
  2. The book begins with the death of the Protagonist and wait for it, it continues from the Protagonists viewpoint. That is pretty rare.

So while it has the factors of afterlife, a loose weapon posing threat to the country, and spies at R&AW for which Shruti works, it slightly touches upon the romance between the couple and the love between a father and a daughter. To Sum up, it is a quick, breezy read which requires a little bit of fine tuning in terms of sequences.

Sharing Some Books/Movie Recommendations I Received

If you are a frequent instagrammer, you might be aware of some interesting Insta Story games that have been making their rounds. There was one particular story that I liked a lot as it involved asking lots of questions and so I decided to take it up. I put this up on my story:

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Some of my friends were very excited about it and send me ‘X’. I asked them these questions:

1. What’s your favourite instagram/blogger account?
2. Which is your favourite season of the year and why?
3. What are the little things in your life that you enjoy the most?
4. Describe me.
5. What do you think of my account?
6. A book/movie recommendation for me.


There were a few who gave such genuine, heartfelt answers that I was overwhelmed. I got to know certain things about myself that I had no idea about. Here is a compilation of book and movie recommendations I got through this exercise. I thought I’d share them with you all:


  1. Leading
  2. Godfather
  3. The Minds of Billy Milligan
  4. Agathe Christie
  5. The Nightingale  by Kristin Hannah
  6. Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  7. The Alchemist
  8. The Fountainhead


  1. A Walk to Remember
  2. Godfather
  3. Predestination
  4. Little Miss Sunshine
  5. The adjustment Bureau
  6. Midnight in Paris
  7. Coco
  8. Drag me to Hell
  9. Motorcycle Diaries

And a TV Series recommendation.
1. Game of Thrones (No prizes for guessing 😛 )

It is fun to answer questions like these and so I had lots of fun. I was also supposed to go to each of their accounts and pick one picture that I liked the most. This helped me know each one of them through their pictures and profile. There was more interaction between some of them and that in a way renewed our friendship.

So, will you be willing to play this with your friends? What will be your book/movie recommendations? Do you know any other activity similar to this we could do using stories?

Image courtesy: Books and Movies

I am Tired of Struggling to Survive. Yes, I Give Up!

Title: The Story of a Suicide

Author: Sriram Ayer

Genre: Tragedy

Website: The Story of a Suicide

Note:  This is an e-book which can be read in the website above.



The story revolves around four college students – Hari, Sam, Charu and Mani.

Hari, an average guy from a conservative south Indian family, and his sister’s pet, almost always keeps to himself. He is often disturbed and moody and battles constantly with his own demons.

Sam is a very ambitious guy from a rich family. He has got the looks, the brains, and the skills to woo girls – a deadly combination! And he is very well aware of his qualities.

Charu, an extreme feminist, is beautiful in her looks and impulsive in her decisions. She lives with an I-don’t-care attitude and comes off as arrogant at first. This, coupled with her highly unpredictable nature lands her in various predicaments.

Mani‘s mother is a laborer in a brick kiln and his father left them many years ago, to return occasionally to abuse his mother and Mani for money. Mani is wiser than his age, probably due to his experiences.

There are several other characters that play pivotal roles at the right times, as the story unfolds.

The Plot

This is a story set in a college campus. It begins with a tragic event that brings Sam and Charu together. Sam is instantly attracted to Charu and she initially reciprocates his feelings. But soon things become unsure by her unpredictable behavior, coupled with Sam’s possessiveness.

All it requires is a bit of humiliation & a spiteful Facebook status to give an ugly turn to things.

Hari, Sam’s roommate, befriends Mani and the two become very close. For the first time in his life, Hari is able to confide himself in someone. He tells Mani about his demons and his childhood and this gets them closer further.

While the entire college turns against Charu due to her impulsive actions and devil may care nature, she turns to Mani & Hari for solace.

Meanwhile, there is a stranger sending inappropriate pictures to Charu. She is terrified when he sends an image of her cleavage taken from a very odd angle. A picture, not taken by her, but taken a few minutes back, when she is alone in her room.

As the story unfurls, the plot thickens and the four characters are caught in a mesh of each other’s doings with none of them having any clue about how the other is getting affected.

In the process, a life is at stake!

Relevance of the book in today’s scenario and tips to deal with them

The book brings to the forefront, myriad social issues. Some have been under much debate recently while some still remain unaddressed:


1. A Note regarding IMPULSIVE DECISIONS –

Many a time when we are anxious, angry or upset, we make impulsive decisions. It could be an action, a word, a facebook post or even refusing to do an act. Once we are cool headed, we often regret it.

Sometimes, it is too late to make amends. Even if, at times, our actions were justifiable, it wouldn’t be received well by others. It could backfire at any moment and wreak havoc! (As it happens in the book).



How many times do we leave children unattended or send them with strangers? Most of the child rapes are committed by people within the family. How could we trust strangers when there are demons within the family itself?

While, there are people who believe that men cannot be raped. Even if they are raped, it means they are weak or in the colloquial language, ‘They have no balls’. They do not report the cases out of shame and because no one would believe them! By denying them, you are denying the  fact that, even you are a potential victim.


Empathy is the key.


This is a term that most of the people shun. It has been defined, redefined, misunderstood and trampled to make it look disgusting. The thin line between feminism & feminazism should be understood here.

Charu has a point when she expresses that a female is an individual and has the right to take decisions about her life as much as a male has. By possessing her, one cannot take her reins in their hands or clip her wings and dictate how she lives the rest of her life.

But there are instances where Charu generalizes men as a whole and voices strongly how they are all similar when it comes to female domination or thinking with their genitals. This isn’t feminism and it is important to know the difference.


How often has this topic been discussed and why do people fear LGBTs? Why is Love feared, mocked at and shunned while hate and terrorism is well accepted?

Does the fact that your relative, friend  or neighbor is bisexual or gay, affect you in any way? I think not. As long as people are compassionate and live peacefully, their sexual orientation is none of our concern. Hate and violence are what we should worry about. Not Love!



Suicides have been increasing at an alarming rate. This happens when people have to confront their own demons alone. Calling them selfish, mocking them or being insensitive about their pains will only worsen their situation. They need people who would really listen to them and also some counseling.

People fear change. People fear the unknown & the uncertain, which is why we think death as a finality & mourn. We have no idea what happens after death. Now, imagine how horrible one’s situation must be, for one to give up one’s life and embrace the unknown death!?

And when we haven’t gone through this phase, how could we judge them and call them selfish?



Social media plays an important role in the story. It depicts how dependent and vulnerable internet and social networking sites have made us. Our emotions are almost always kept for display in all or many of these sites.

Technology has its uses but it also takes the ugliest of forms through cyber bullying. The book gives a warning that through technology, anything could be accessed at any time and that you are at your vulnerable best. How scary is that!? It is always better to be cautious and wary of the pictures you take, people you talk to,  friends you make and the information you share.



Quotes from the Book:

  • How can the world decide that men and women of all ages have to behave in a single regimented way? Every person is different; I have the freedom to live a life as I please. I am not saying all men are the same or all girls are victims of male domination, but you will have to accept that men have for centuries tried to control women and their destinies in ways that were convenient for them. I hate to be in a relationship that clips my freedom.
  • People don’t remember what you did to them, but they would never forget till their grave about how you made them feel. You might argue that it was a reaction to how someone made you feel but never underestimate the potency of a disgraced beast.
  • Much of our problems can be negated by killing our impulsive and reflexive responses. Aren’t our responses mostly to fight? Inflicting pain on ourselves with the hope that our pain will hurt the other is plain stupid. People just don’t care. 

Do I recommend this book?

Yes. To get an idea about the trial and tribulations faced by victims of sexual abuse. To understand what leads a person to the verge of suicide. To understand the problems faced by LGBTs and how their lives get affected when they are discovered. The book narrates incidents that are very much real and messy and living in today’s world, we need to get a taste of it. Not to hate, but to be empathetic.


The book reaches out to the youngsters, moral policing ideologists, to the parents and to every living person. It keeps us engrossed right from the beginning, increases pace as the plot thickens and towards the last one-third of it, you can barely stop. Every chapter has been supported with beautiful illustrations.

I must admit that it dwells a bit too long  on dream sequences repeatedly. It also leaves a lot of loose ends with respect to what happens to rest of the characters. But all this can be ignored since it drives home the messages.These are the kind of stories the world needs now. Raw, brutal and real.



Image courtesy for all images – The official site of The Story of a suicide.

The images and the contents with the watermarks belong to A Few Handpicked Things in Life.

Letters, Rains, Books, Conversations – A Friendship

100 Happy Days – Day 88

Happiness is friendship in rain, with book, through letters and conversation.

It was 6.50 am. The queue began from the first floor, stretched through the staircase to the ground floor and out. I was on the staircase closer to the first floor. I heard Carnatic music emanating from the room filled with 50-60 youngsters; CA students. A guy with curly hair and sacred ash on his forehead emerged from the crowd, took out his phone and answered the call, cutting off the Carnatic music.

I walked into the classroom after my registration. A friend gestured me to come forward, for he had saved a seat for me. As I took my place beside him, I looked around to get acquainted with my neighbours and there he was, right in front of me. I glimpsed a drawing in his notebook. A rough sketch of Lord Shiva. There was a Shloka written next to it. I asked him about it and as he explained it, I made a mental note to read more on it. But soon, I forgot. I must ask him again. Or maybe, he’ll tell me if he reads this. 😉


In a while, Gopikrishnan, the guy with the Bhasma on his forehead and immense love for Carnatic, and I became friends and then, there was no looking back.

We have these deep conversations at times, but we could easily talk silly too. They happen very rarely; maybe twice or thrice a year. But, it doesn’t matter. It is easy to pick up from where we had left. But mostly, we don’t have to pick up from where we had left. We could simply start a conversation with absolutely no back history.

During one such conversation, we realised that both of us loved writing letters. From then on, we started exchanging handwritten letters. (Heck! That was when I realised that most of the post boxes never functioned.) Whenever I saw the blue inland letter waiting for me in the hall, I knew where it came from. Sometimes, I’d tear it open right away. Sometimes, I’d keep it safely and opened it when I could read it peacefully.

Each of your friends add value to your life in different ways. Gkris, as he calls himself, prods my inner consciousness through our conversations and letters. The things he says, give new perspectives to my thoughts. His words have the power to make me see new things, take me to a new world where things needn’t really work as per a set of rule books.  There is a spiritual connection underlying our friendship and this is what makes it special.

While we spoke about so many things, bonded over books, music, movies, poems, quotes, ideologies and TV shows, we couldn’t meet. When I was free, he never came to my place. When he came, I wasn’t here. And so, after  three long years, it was time to meet.


I picked him up from a common point and we stood there and spoke, oblivious to the place and the time. After a lot of discussions, we decided to go to a mall though we preferred a peaceful place amidst nature. On our way, the rain beat down from nowhere. Though we took shelter initially, the next time we were on the road, the rain couldn’t stop us. Both of us being rain lovers, decided to embrace the drizzle and continued. After a while, I heard him laugh ever so softly.

“What is it?”, I asked.

“You don’t want to know.”

“Now I do. Tell me!”

“Your hair brushes against my face every now and then. Um… and the smell. It smells so good.”

“I know”, I said.

“What is it with Women’s hair really? What smells so good? It isn’t Shampoo.”

“I don’t know. But I agree, it does smell good.” 😀

(The conversation ended there. It was later on that I got to know about Pheromones and remembered this conversation we had.)

Mall is a sad replacement for these rains, I thought. But not after we entered the mall and veered into the crossword book-store. Time flew as we bonded over books. Well read as he was, he showed me the books he liked, he suggested me some, he narrated some of the stories, his eyes twinkled as he described his book-shelf; a mini library.

During the conversation, he picked two books that I hadn’t read and asked me to pick one for myself. I was over-whelmed for that was the first time someone was gifting me a book. I asked him to choose since I had no clue about the two. He gave a gist of both the books and asked me to choose. Since both seemed interesting, I picked one randomly.

Later, as I was sipping a cup of tea, he spoke of his wanderlust, his experiences, and experiments during his journeys. He suggested places I’d like and he described beautiful sights. His plate was empty and yet, I was sipping my tea. He took the book he gave me and scribbled something in it. As he handed me the book, he said, ‘I have underlined some sentences in this book. Don’t read it beforehand.’ and I kept my word.

I returned home that day with the satisfaction you get only after you meet a close friend. When some people say goodbye and leave, we feel low. But when I dropped him off, I didn’t feel sad. Our bond wasn’t made through meetings. It was through words, letters and conversations. As long as the letters were exchanged, the conversations continued and music prevailed, this bond would exist.

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While there are those friendships; the ones with lots of backstories of trips, heartbreaks, jokes, pranks and much more, there are some friendships that are subtle yet deep in their roots. One isn’t better or worse than the other. As I mentioned earlier, every friend adds value to you. One need not meet them or talk to them often, face tough or funny situations with them or go on trips. Probably, there are just a few silent moments together, just a few stray words exchanged. The bond speaks for itself.

This post has been written in association with Chaayos & Blogchatter on occasion of Friendship Day

Four Fictional Characters

Day 2 – Four Fictional Characters

More often than not, fictional characters have a lot of impact in our lives. We look up to some, we cast aside some and some of them leave us in tough positions as to whether they are lovable or not. There have been debates about certain fictional characters and the debates will be there as long as the books keep taking the rounds. For instance, Snape-James debates. Oh! I witnessed ‘word’ wars in their names.

I relate, not to the heroes. I adore some of those supporting, special characters for their simplicity and straightforwardness. Here are four such fictional characters I adore. If you know them all, you’ll know the underlying connection between them too:

1. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter – She is weird, she accepts that and doesn’t change herself to suit the rest. She knows that people make fun of her, play games with her (remember she was searching for her lost shoes and found them hanging from the ceiling?) and that does not disturb her in the least. She continues wearing her radish earrings, spectrespecs and she keeps talking of nargles and wrackspurts that make no sense to anyone else.


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While the rest write her off as weird, she has the insight at times to solve certain mysteries that even Hermoine couldn’t solve. Yet, Luna talks of them as though they are the most obvious things that anyone could think of. One such instance is when she helps Harry find Ravenclaw’s Diadem.


There isn’t much that Luna says, but every word is filled with wisdom and every other unintelligible word portrays how it is okay to be yourself. I Love her!

2. Phoebe Buffay from FRIENDS – Not a book character as most of will know. Phoebe Buffay had her own beliefs and no matter how weird they were, she stuck to them. Like Luna Lovegood, even though she knew that people found her weird, she wasn’t bothered. She was very compassionate towards animals and refrained from using woollen clothes or  eating meat.

During one instance, during her pregnancy, when she had a craving for meat, she ensured that her share of animals were not killed by requesting Joey to refrain from eating meat during that period (He is too adorable to have helped her considering how much Joey loves food).

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She believed in being herself. I adored both her moralistic and the effortlessly humorous side!

3. Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones – Here is Tyrion Lannister’s most famous quote; a lesson for each one of us.


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Tyrion not only knows his flaws, but also, he is aware of his strength. He is well read and cunning. His wit and knowledge are his sword and shield. Surely, we do see how he wages wars with words. That brain of his has helped him escape some tough spots more than once.

There aren’t many people who love Tyrion Lannister and yet, he fights. He lives among cunning lions, he knows he could be killed any moment, yet he is compassionate to the weak and righteous. The poison in the family doesn’t spread to him. Perhaps, it could be because he is the oppressed one in the family. Even so, he is one character that you cannot help but love.

Oh! And how could we miss those sarcastic one-liner jabs?

4. Ian from The Host – The Host is a book which has not reached many. You can read about it here and I am sure you will love it if you like fantasy, alien invasion & a bit of romance.

Ian is a young man who is one among the humans who are hiding from the aliens. When an alien walks into their midst, he hates her at first. But with time, he begins to understand her, empathises with her and gradually falls for her. The alien is nothing but a soul, and Ian isn’t bothered about her not having a body. He is in love with the soul alone and that speaks volumes about him.

The soul of the alien resides in the body of Melanie alongside her soul and Ian doesn’t care about Melanie’s form for it is only the alien part of her that he loves. The alien tells him that her soul is a ‘reflective silver living ribbon with nearly a thousand thin feathery attachments’ and yet, when he eventually holds the soul in his palm, he holds her with love.

He loved her personality rather than her form.

If you are the kind of book lover I mentioned earlier, please do read The Host. It takes a while for the plot to sink in. But after that, it is worth it.

This is Day 2 of Four Things Ten Days Challenge. If you like this, you can read the first day’s post here – Four Likes Four Dislikes.

PS – If any of you want to join the challenge, you can start right away. This is for 10 days and you’ll have only 4 things to list each day. I’m not revealing the remaining list now. You can discover it with each day. You can either join the challenge in your blog or in the comment section. 🙂

Four Likes & Four Dislikes

I have become lazy with respect to writing. Maybe this is just a phase, or maybe it is time for me to end this blogging journey. I don’t know. Anyhow, I decided to take up another challenge so that I’d get into action again. If this doesn’t work, maybe, I’ll stop.

It is a Four Things Challenge I found online. It is a ten day challenge where I’ll be discussing things in fours. You can take it up if you like it. 🙂 So, here is to getting rid of my writer’s block.

Day 1  – Four Likes & four dislikes

Four Likes: I found it very hard to list just four out of my umpteen likes. These definitely have a special place in my heart.

1. MAGIC – Anything related to magic. Books, people, conversation, movies, places with a magical element in them, others who believe in magic, Harry Potter! I grew up reading Enid Blyton’s books and I could say magic runs in my veins due to these books. I keep looking for fairies, witches & wizards and I try to link things to magic. Life is filled with possibilities and looks more mysterious this way.

Image courtesy: Here

2. DOGS – I should probably use the word ‘Love’ for dogs. I am so very fond of them. I had a dog and she died on me :/ I think of her at times and the grief is always there. It has been 9 years and I haven’t owned a dog after that. I have always wanted to. When life gets tough and when you feel there is nothing that could cheer you up, their leaps of joy, licks of love and playful nibbles would become an unavoidable part of your life.

It is said that chances of depression are low when you are around dogs and kids. 🙂

Image Courtesy: Here

3. PASSION in people’s eyes – Have you seen that twinkle in people’s eyes when they talk about their passions? They sound excited, their voices have a ring to it, their words come out in a hurry, they get all animated and sometimes incomprehensible. I just look at their eyes & face and even if I don’t understand a thing, I can’t help but smile. The happiness is contagious. Passion means purpose in life and that sure makes life interesting.

If you do not have a passion, it isn’t wrong or bad. Life has endless possibilities. Passion is just one among them. I personally like watching that part of life. 🙂

4. SILENT CONVERSATION –  Sitting with a good friend, watching the setting sun and saying nothing. Yet, when you are going home, you have a smile on your lips, you wish the day hadn’t ended and hope for another day when you can sit with him/her without saying a word.

Star gazing would be all the more beautiful. I have never tried that with a friend, though. The only star gazing I have done is when I was a child, with my grandmother on our terrace. Those were beautiful times.

Four Dislikes:

1. Unnecessary PRETENCE – Fortunately or unfortunately, I have a keen observation and I can spot pretence pretty fast. The moment I realize that someone is pretentious or fake, I leave a huge gap between them and me. During those rare circumstances when I can’t get rid of them, the irritation is evident on my face. I appreciate honesty to pretence.

We are all fake at some point or the other and I appreciate it when people do it so as to not hurt someone. But where pretence is used unnecessarily, to churn some benefit, to hurt someone or for a selfish motive, I detest that.

2. LITTERING – People littering, spitting and urinating on the streets. We wrinkle our noses when we pass by an ill-smelling, littered place, or when the lorries collecting wastes pass by. Yet, we don’t refrain from throwing trash on the streets. Do we?

No. Don’t do it to save Earth. Earth needs no saving. The day the Earth feels like it has had enough, and decides to clean itself, life form would be wiped from it. Earth will survive on its own. Do it for yourselves. Do it so that your children or grand-children don’t die of painful undiagnosable diseases whilst you are alive.

3. PHONE CALLS –  I am very fond of texting, handwritten letters, face to face conversations, but not phone calls. I can hold on to phone calls for maximum 10 minutes, but beyond that, I get disinterested and sometimes irritated. The introvert in me is to blame says the internet and I happily blame it on him. But people don’t get the point. They tell me disliking phone calls isn’t a thing. I have no other answer but, call me up and face my irritation then.

There are a very few people, very very few, with whom I can easily converse over the phone. The number is definitely below five. Now you know why I never call.

4. ICE CREAM – I have been asked umpteen times, ‘How can you not like ice creams?’ The answer is, it is too cold and I don’t like it when the cold moves down my throat. Plus, it numbs my tongue easily and I find it difficult to talk. I like it melted, though. I mean super-melted. But, if a friend is holding a cup of ice cream, I eat half a spoon. 😛

I was thrilled to find this in Friends 😀

Image courtesy: Here



There! I have written a nice post and after a long time & I feel happy about it. There is this deep sense of satisfaction you get with certain posts. I feel that right here, right now. Hope I’ll be able to complete this challenge. 🙂



PS – If any of you want to join the challenge, you can start right away. This is for 10 days and you’ll have only 4 things to list each day. I’m not revealing the remaining list now. You can discover it with each day. You can either join the challenge in your blog or in the comment section. 🙂

The Seed Bookmark

100 Happy Days – Day 87

My uncle was showing us around Lawrence School, Lovedale where he gives guitar lessons to the students. After almost an hour of wandering around the huge, beautiful place, we decided to visit one last area and call it a day.

As we were descending the stairs, I came across these dried twigs with tiny tulip-shaped buds in the end. Something creative came to my mind and I grabbed a handful of those twigs. I wanted to collect more. But I wasn’t sure that I could carry them safely back home. They looked dried and brittle.


After I reached home, I was dejected to find that many of those seeds had fallen off. Yet, I decided to go forward with my plan. After around an hour, I was too happy with myself. I made one set which I have kept aside for a certain purpose. I noticed another twig with just a bunch of seeds on the tips. I worked on that and voila! 😀


I painted it with an intention to make myself a bookmark:



It was later on I realized that, they were Eucalyptus seeds.

Book Review: Ramayana – The Game of Life


Book: Ramayana – The Game of Life: Stolen Hope
: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Books
Note: This book is third in the series of six books

We have all heard the story of Rama and also its various versions. Most of us know of the peripheral whats, whens, hows & whys, and the story as narrated to us, ends with a moral. We have agreed, disagreed and debated over the turn of events umpteen times. Shubha Vilas’s Ramayana – The Game of Life takes Ramayana to a whole new level.

I began with the 3rd book in the series – Stolen Hope. Yes. You can start with it since it gives a gist, in the beginning, of what happened until then and you really don’t feel that you missed anything. But by the end of this review, you’ll know why starting from book 1 is for the best.

Blurb of the Book



It begins with a sage narrating the history of Dandakaranya – The Dandaka forest – to Rama, Sita & Lakshmana. While reading through the narrative wide-eyed, I noticed numbers marking certain words and footnotes given below the pages. It didn’t take long to realize that the author has done an in depth study in Ramayana. He has analyzed how each aspect of the story can be related to real life and how it can be applied in certain situations. In some parts he gives the cause and effect of certain actions. These footnotes not only help us in analysing the story at a deeper level, but also guide us to look within ourselves.

Here is an excerpt from the book that will give you an idea of how it works. This is one of my favorite analysis from the author.

The body of the book reads:

“And the focus of the sages had been to attain self-perfection, but the menace of the rakshasas has channelled their focus to self-protection instead.”

The footnote related to this says:

“Coexistence of opinions is saintly life. Extermination of others’ opinion is demoniac life. Just as sages and demons coexisted in the Dandakaranya forest, with the demons trying to exterminate the sages, virtues and vices coexist within each individual. When vices try to exterminate virtues, then Rama needs to come in.

When negative forces try to influence our lives, our focus changes from inward evolution to outward aversion. Driven  by fear, the sages of Dandakaranya instead of focusing on inner upliftment, began to focus on outward resistance.”

The situation that led to restlessness in sages, have been analysed in depth and it has been correlated with similar situations in our lives. While the purpose of human life is self-evolution and happiness that we go after is in fact within ourselves, when adversity strikes, we tend to look outside for solution, support and happiness. Our focus shifts from our purpose and we need Rama – call it faith, will power, support, motivation – to get us back on track.

Ramayana has been told and retold in various versions and myriad tongues. Even here, I came across new course of events. Vali – the monkey King, and Ravana were friends. Sita throws a blade of grass between herself and Ravana, who was advancing towards her angrily. The blade of grass stops him on his tracks. To know the reasons for these, you will have to delve deep into the book. The mere act of throwing the grass is substantiated with close to a dozen reasons, each one more denser than the other. It is said that people in that era, spoke and acted with great caution. Every action of theirs was deliberate and had deep meanings. This was one such.

These new perspectives and analysis gelled well with the story and gave a freshness that helped me go with the flow. The book ends with Rama and Lakshmana wandering in search of Sita and chancing upon the ashram where Shabari resides. After a heart-warming episode here, the curtains fall.

The Prancing Deer

At the bottom of the page is a deer. The deer is seen to be standing, walking, prancing as the page turns. As the story advances, the deer moves forward through the book. It moves from the left end and reaches the right end, to be shot by an arrow. Having known the author through his writings, I’d like to believe that this deer has an inner significance, though I don’t know what that is. I fell in love with the deer gradually and it hurt when I saw it shot in the end. This was a unique bit I haven’t seen in any other books. 🙂


The author is a spiritual seeker and a motivational seeker. His intentions of imparting knowledge and providing motivation through epics have been made very clear through his writings. Giving footnotes for certain course of events, the author helps the readers analyse the situation and provides guidance as to how these teachings can be applied in real life. This is why I had mentioned that reading the series from the beginning is useful if you intend to take home the teachings. Written in a simple language, this book could also be given to children to draw values and morals from.


Conversing With the Waves

100 Happy Days – Day 86

Happiness is a chair, a book and the threshold of an Ocean and not knowing which one makes you happier.

Every Bibliophile’s dream – A serene spot with a view, some peace and a book. Behold! An evening at the beach, watching the waves breaking against the rocks, holding a book and finding a nice spot to read.

The Book facing the Sea

I flipped a few pages as the Ocean’s music filled my ears. There was a feeble breeze and the rocks were drenched with water from both the Sea and from the drizzle that had just stopped. The tides were high, way before twilight and it looked as though the Sea would rise any time and gobble me up. I thought it was the rains, but it was something else.

I had come to this very same beach yesterday. I sat atop a bench, cross-legged, closed my eyes and tried to meditate. It took me barely few minutes to abandon my efforts. Not because I couldn’t sit still, but because of what was before me. I looked around at all the people meditating. How could one close his eyes while facing these magnificent waters, I wondered.

Now, I was mocking myself. I walked to this very same beach with a book in hand. How could I delve in one’s ecstasy and ignore the other? I couldn’t read. Not as long as I wanted to watch the Ocean. And I couldn’t watch the waves if I read. I wanted them both – my spouse and my love.


But Alas! I couldn’t handle them both

The Sea threatened, in her deep throaty voice, to swallow me up. Oh! Well, that explains the angry high tides. I must have hurt her pride by bringing along my Love. Sure enough, the book remained untouched while I conversed with the waves.


Life of A CA Student

CA happens to be one of the toughest and the most complicated courses ever. It is very well known that a CA student sometimes takes ages to clear CA exams, that the subjects are difficult and the criteria for passing are very stringent. What people fail to realize is the tribulations undergone by a CA Student, especially the ones who don’t clear after  multiple attempts.

Long post alert: If you are my friend or relative, my blog has been hacked and someone else wrote this. If you are a CA student, I suppose you could relate to this. A group hug is in order.


I sit comfortably in my room. No worries, no pains, no work to do. I just have to read a few written words. Anyone in their position wouldn’t understand what it takes, to open books after books full of technical and incomprehensible terminologies and read huge sentences with no punctuation whatsoever (Read ISCA). We have to remember most of it, as it is, if we need some marks. When it is about huge problems that make no sense at all, don’t get me started on them.

While learning theory, I sometimes, use certain words as milestones, to remember sentences. Sometimes, I create stories, sometimes I use mnemonics. Ask any CA student about ISCA and they’ll tell you it is a herculean task. By the time, I am halfway through the answer, I am called. For some work, or I am told something that isn’t urgent at all, I have to buy things or I have to do something else. No exaggeration, I am called at least half a dozen times in two hours. Regaining focus multiple times and getting in sync with the subject becomes very difficult.

After repeated disturbances, I feel defeated on most of the days and I stop studying for the rest of the day. Sometimes, I rant like this. Sometimes, when I recover from this, I pick up my books only to be called again.

And they say, she has been studying all day, while I have been trying to regain my focus half the time.


“Hey! What are you upto?”


“Oh! You are a padipist (slang for a nerd) always with books.”

They have blamed me many times for not attending functions, or for attending functions with books (after classes), for reaching late and so on. All they can see is no contact or no activity from my side most of the times.

thanks for the share @mlubinsky! pretty sure my graduate nurses (@mriverst) and I are tired of saying this. 8 more months.:

Some of them ask me in a mock tone, “Isn’t it over yet? It has been so long!”. I smile though my heart sinks. I believe this is a question one should never ask a CA student. We have been pursuing this for years and we are very well aware, more than anyone else, that it has been long. We don’t even know if we will reach the shore and if we don’t, god forbid, a major part of our youth go wasted with no alternate qualification.

But No! Sympathy isn’t what we look for. We may feel dejected at times, but we are strong knowing that failure is okay. Failure in CA, we wear it like the badge of honor as Cersei Lannister puts it. We are soldiers who fight no matter what. Soldiers don’t need sympathy. They need encouragement.

They think I am the most studious person in this century. The nerd of the group. :/ 😮


It has always been easy for me to convince my friends. But relatives? Phew!

While my family has been to many places during the last few years, I never accompanied them due to my exams. Attending functions, going for trips etc reduced over the years because of the constant nagging feeling in the back of my head that kept reminding me that I had to study.

  • The Complaining Relatives

They keep inviting us to visit their homes outside Kerala. When I say I don’t accompany my parents on any trip, it is implied that I really can’t spare a week to stay with relatives too. I cannot enjoy, knowing that I have exams coming. More often, I am asked to take my books with me. Why would anyone go on a trip & study there? Besides, have you seen a CA student’s room? It is like a book store with books old & new, small & big, we have amendments for every attempt and sometimes, we study one subject using as many as three to four books. Carrying all of them isn’t practical.

Some relatives call me up these days only to express their bitter feelings. They tell me that I’m using CA as an excuse to not visit them, that they are fed up of listening to the same excuse for years (As though I have been enjoying it). When I tell them I have classes, they ask me why can’t I go visit them after classes. They do not understand when I say I have only one month left and that itself isn’t sufficient for my preparation.


  • The Relatives Providing Advisory Services

Then comes the relatives who advice me to work. They ask me to stop writing and start working. They call up my mother & grandmother and keep pressurizing, forcing them to stop me from continuing my studies. They do not realize how I feel about the 6 years I have invested for this course. They do not know that I feel hopeful once again. They do not want to know what I want or what I feel.

  • The Relatives Who Are Worried About My ‘Future’

Future = Marriage

“This guy is 32 years old. Superb guy.”

“She can study after marriage.”

“They want a CA girl”

“They have no demands. They prefer a CA girl who can take care of the firm.” (Am I supposed to marry the firm?)

“He’ll take her to You Yes Yay!” (Nay!)

“She cleared inter, she’ll get awesome job. She should marry.”


I'M TRYING TO STUDY GO AWAY!!!! - When you finally hit that sweet spot where your brain actually starts working...:


“Twenty – odd years old? Marry ASAP!”

“Send me the Jathakam!”

“Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Africa, London, You Yes YAY!”

The entire world has figured out my life for me.


Make up my mind to study, get called, make up my mind to study, get the door bell, make up my mind to study, listening to relatives’ abuses, get dejected, waste the day, make up my mind to study, resist the temptation to attend a function, study, get called, make up my mind… phew!


A CA student’s challenge isn’t the exams alone. It is the entire society. It is the ignorance about the course that prevails around them. CA not only tests our knowledge. It tests our patience too.


The only ones who will understand this write up of mine and every word here are the CA students themselves. We are unique and we are proud of that.

Wishing all my fellow CA students all the best for the battle in May. 🙂

Read my other CA Related posts here:

  1. Even CA could be funny at times – I
  2. Another CA Post
  3. From the diary of a dishevelled CA student
  4. The end of another phase

Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6

Do You Have A Vision?

Sometimes I just stop whatever I am doing and try to make sense of the things happening around me.

We study from a very young age. Our adolescence and youth is spent mugging up unnecessary theories that we will never need in real life. Our youth is spent pretending to understand further more complicated theories. This is followed by the pursuit of money and the momentary pleasures they could buy, not that it is all wrong.

But when I ask myself what do I need in the end, all I can think of is a vision. A tiny cottage beside a river, a library with books for a lifetime and someone to love.


Someone with whom I can be myself, share my fears, joys, sorrows and the silliest of thoughts even if it is at the oddest hour of the day.


I look at the books & documents around me. I have no clue how these papers would give me the life I want. I look around me and see others with their documents and laptops. Do they have a vision? Will they achieve theirs? Have they even thought of a vision?

Have you?

The sad part is, we are all content with our robotic lives. Studying, working, earning, marrying, creating more robots, retiring. We are satisfied, maybe because we have no vision. Even if we have one, we have replaced it with the societal definition of vision.

Even if we have one, we forget it, ignore it the way I will ignore mine. After posting this piece of writing. Once and for all. Because now, I need to study, get a job, earn, marry, create robots and retire. By the time I remember my vision, I’ll be too old, withered and will be visiting hospitals every week.

Now, let me ask you. What is that ultimate vision you have about yourself? Are you in the process of achieving it?

PS – Did I mention that I need a dog? I need a dog too. In that riverside cottage of mine. 🙂
 Image courtesy1, 2, 3

February Gratitude List

2016 is on a roll. I still remember writing posts after posts when the new year began and it’s already March. For a CA student, it is very unsettling as May approaches. So, the unease is setting in already.

I have begun to wonder why I started this Gratitude list. The answer lies write here. If not for this, I wouldn’t be blogging today. So let me start February’s Gratitude list on that note:

1. To have started the Gratitude list – Technically, I began this on Feb first. Though there is a slight regret about starting it due to my exams, I am happy for my blog. This year, there will be 12 assured posts in here at any cost, due to this challenge.

2. Watched my first ever Stand Up Comedy – And updated about it here. A couple of months back, I came across Kenneth Sebastian’s videos. I don’t devotedly watch Stand up comedy. But somehow, I liked this chap. Just when I was wishing that I could watch his show live, he decided to do his first Cochin show. After some confusion, I made it to the venue. You can read about my experience here.
And here is the video of his latest show. The one I went to. Hope you like it.

3. Finished a Book – Not just any book but the mighty Game of Thrones! I love reading. But in the present scenario, this is an achievement because, I never read when exams are approaching. During the last couple of years, I must have left around half a dozen books half read. Due to this phenomenon, I decided to finish it this time and Voila! I have begun another. 😉

4. My Bucketlist 2016 – When this year began, I wrote out a bucket-list of goals for the year with a view to make the year more productive. Reading more books and venturing out to places and events were two among them and that is precisely what has been covered in points 2 & 3 above.

5. A Conversation – You must have come across certain people who have much more to them than their appearance or their initial demeanor.  These old souls have a certain luster that come from wisdom accumulated through ages. When they speak, all you could do is to sit and listen to them wide eyed, grasping every word they say, drinking in their aura.

I got to know a certain old soul. I came across this person, or rather this person found me earlier last year. But, it was during this month that I got to know more about this soul. The ideas, the imagination, the wisdom are all unparalleled.


The conversation made me realize how insignificant I am. I felt refreshed after that. It happened around 2 am and the first thing I did after that was, to write. The words rushed as though scared, they would remain forgotten.

The last one was a new experience. Deep conversations with wise souls don’t happen too often. They are like eclipses and blue moons. Rare, magical and manifesting when certain phenomenons come together. The next two months will be tough for me with exams and classes. I may not be update this space often. But I’ll try because above all, I have this second home of mine to be thankful for.

What does your February gratitude list comprise of?