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Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Oath Of Vayuputra

I could not go for the launch of this book at Peddar road, but had watched it on U-tube and was surprised to see the crowd that waited to enter the store. Never in my life have I seen a book launch of such magnitude. Amish said that during book launch of his first book, there were only his family members and few friends had been forced to attend the event, his wife had distributed the questions to be thrown at author during the book reading, but popularity of those two books had changed his status and now he was known as one of the most sought out writers.

I, like thousands others, was waiting eagerly for the third and final episode of Shiva Trilogy.

I had liked the first two parts too. I had written the review of ‘Immortals of Mehula’ and ‘Secrets of Nagas’ on my blog

At the end of part two of Shiva Trilogy, I was left with questions such as:

What evil is he talking about? How can we destroy evil when it does not exist by itself? Good and evil, two sides of the coin, he must visit Panchavati, the city of Nagas to know the secret.

Shiva did reach Panchavati, I had eagerly waited for evil to emerge, making wild guesses of putting face to the evil, was it really Nagas? If it was not Naga then who was evil?, Then suddenly it is revealed that Somras, the powerful magic potion, which was good at first, had turn to evil and it had to be destroyed. Then the journey to seek the help of Vayuputra began to put an end to evil by destroying people who would not stop using Somras.

The third part, however, did not excite me as much as the other two parts did. Maybe my expectations were too high.

However, I did like the narration of the last fight of Sati. This excerpt made me sit at the edge as I read through the pages of her final fight:

“Swuth didn’t approach Sati with both his curved swords. That would have been unfair according to the rules of Aten, since Sati had one sword hand. He held the sword forward in his hand. As he neared Sati, he started swinging the sword around, building it into a stunning circle of death just ahead of him, moving inexorably towards her. Even as Swuth’s sword whirred closer, Sati began to step back slowly. She suddenly thrust her sword forward quickly, deep into the ring of the circling blade of Swuth, inflicting a serious cut on the Egyptian’s shoulder. She pulled her sword back as rapidly, before Swuth’s circling blade could come back to deflect her sword. He’d never met anyone with the ability to penetrate his sword’s circle of death.”

The book title says ‘Oath of Vayuputra’ but what oath? And Vayuputra (isn’t that supposed to be Lord Hanuman) has less than 100 pages of fame.

The read is easy flow, so even though I had put away after reading 200 pages of more brutal war and long sea travelling, I did return back to finish the book. 

The book did have the elements of surprise, joy and pain.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Travel and Souvenirs

Many years ago, when I started travelling abroad, I noticed people buying things that they didn’t really need. I was brought up in a middle class home where we only shopped for things that we needed and nothing more. Therefore I was surprised when I saw people buying dozens of assorted key-chains as if they were free.

That was the first time I was introduced to the concept of souvenirs.

I learnt that people shop for souvenirs to bring back home the memories of the places that they visited and to give away mementos to their well-wishers too.

I used to love dolls, I had decided then that I would collect dolls from every country that I visited.

But this passion did not last long, because after traveling to many places, storing the dolls was an issue. There are many souvenirs I have collected over the years but most of them I have given them away. They attract me but the thought of storing puts me off.

Walking through the narrow streets of Ghana I came across this wooden carved figure and I couldn't resist buying
 trekking through the dirt path in the interiors of Tenerife in Spain, I came across a tiny shop that sold this metal lizard with a baby
 Then I was looking for table lamp and loved this hand painted shade with a carved metal stand when I saw it in Spain
masks always amuse me and this tiny wooden mask captured my attention

Over the years I have collected many souvenirs that have included books, artifacts, coins, key-chains, fridge magnets and many more.

It becomes easy to give as souvenir to friends, specially those who appreciate it.

I have tried many airlines but I like to travel in those flights that have good inflight shopping. Most of them have duty free stuff like perfumes, jewelry and drinks. But sometimes if you are lucky you might find rare things too, for example this ‘camel-tooth-pick’ souvenir that I had purchased during my travels to Dubai.

When the inflight shopping is interesting, then it is certainly much better activity than just sleeping and eating, no?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Women’s Day Tea Party

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. The idea of celebrating this day is for recognizing the importance of women’s role in the society. It is an occasion to review how far they have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development. It is also an opportunity to unite, network and mobilize for meaningful change.

And I got opportunity to unite and network with women this week end when I got an invitation from Rushina to attend her Tea party at her studio.

All I could feel was thrill, thrill, thrill!

At 4pm I arrived with my friend at APB cook studio. I am always impressed at this cook studio that has a large kitchen with 6 working stations. Plus there are shelves of products on sale that include sauces, jams and other food items, there are also food magazines and other interesting kitchen articles like apron, kitchen clocks that we may not find at other places.  

The room was filled with beautiful well-dressed ladies, all with their smart phone, ready to click the event. There was ample food and drinks to pamper the taste buds. There were bite size desserts from ‘Icing on Top’, mini cakes from ‘Piccoli Tortini’, sauces from ‘i2cook’ , wine from ‘Fratelli wines’, tea from ‘tea Trunk’. The evening was all about networking, sharing of ideas and communicating. I had an interesting conversation with Meeta who updated me on healthy eating.

The evening was packed with activities like sharing the skills and demonstration of recipes.

Akshola Honawar of ‘Runal Salon’ educated us on hair care telling us the importance of massage and spa.

This was followed by the reading of a book “Escape from Harem’ by Tanushree Poddar.

Next there was a discussion on adding prunes to our regular diet followed by demonstration of recipes with prune by Harsha Sabnani

Rushina demonstrated the recipe of stuffed mushrooms and chicken in orange juice and wine, which was tangy and sweet, an interesting combination.

The evening was lovely, made lots of new friends and yes, not to forget the gift hamper that had peanut butter, pitted prunes, a test tube bottle of tea leaves, fig jam and spicy Paan masala

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

No More Visits To The Libraries

Remember this? A library card that was stamped with the date, on the day the book was borrowed. The popularity of the book was judged by the number of times it was borrowed.

I remember those days when I was more regular at the libraries than in the classrooms. I was allowed to borrow four books from British Library, which was located in South Mumbai. The books were heavy but it did not deter me from carrying that weight. The monthly trips to the library were quite tedious. There were no auto rickshaws in those days, hiring a taxi was out of question; there was no direct route by bus. I used to walk (a good 15 minutes) with that heavy weight from my house to Bandra stations, then a local train ride of 30 minutes from Bandra to Churchgate, and then another walk for 30 minutes to Nariman point, where the library was located. I marvel at my energy quotient at that time. Auto Rickshaws have made me lazy, I think.

The reward after this tedious journey was an entry into an air-conditioned room full of books and magazine.

Rows and rows of books, categorized according to their subject and titles, found their place on the shelf. We could search the book either by going from shelf to shelf or go through the categorized cards that had list of all the books.

Spending a day at the British library was an outing by itself. I used to spend all hours, watching documentary films, reading magazines and then borrowing books. Silence was maintained that allowed us to concentrate on reading. Many times I used to be distracted by young couples, playing footsies while reading, an uneasy distraction perhaps.

Internet had not yet made its entry into my world and I depended on books and magazines for an inspiration to write. Not that I wrote much, but it gave me immense pleasure to read at leisure and be in my own sphere.

I loved being surrounded by books. It was like sitting in the middle of boat where stories are doing their rounds. The words floated in the air, silently attached to each other by series of hyphens. Even during my travels, I looked for a library to spend few moments of peace.

I dreamt of owning a library of my own and had even started a collection, but life took too many turns, the migration to different countries made it impossible for me to carry my heavy books with me. Heart bled as I distributed my books away before moving. Most of my books have not come back, I am not sure if they are safe in their adopted homes.

Books have a life of their own, their own fragrance, and texture that cannot be compromised by e-books. The few books that are left with me are the feast for my eyes.

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