Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Monthly Favourites//// March 2015.


Three months of the year are already over! It goes by faster and faster every year. 

March was a good month. Even though it signaled the end of my two month holiday in my parent's hometown and stay with family, it was a nice month overall. 

It had my Maa's birthday. 
Family time. 
Two flights. 
Back to Bombay. 
Cleaning up our flat. 
Getting back to the swing of things. 
Blogging more regularly.
Being more organised. 
Cooking many meals at homes. 
Shopping--- both online and IRL. :) 
TV shows. 

All good things. 

But let's see some of the things I've being loving all month long! 

1. Pretty things from Kikkik--- the haul post is coming, I promise. I just loved everything we picked up. So cute! Just perfect! 

2. Facial Ubtan from Forest Essentials--- A cousin of ours gifted this jar of magic to us earlier in the month and we, the sister and I, have been loving it. I've used this every single day this month in the shower to wash my face and neck and I love it. It takes care of the oiliness and leaves my skin feeling wonderful. Slightly exfoliating too, but very, very mild so it's perfect for everyday use. 

I love it so much, I even bought me a new pot of this and a Rose ubtan as well. 

3. Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado from Kiehl's---- This has been a favourite for a while to be honest. It's simply lovely. My eyes feel brand new the morning after. I wash my face at night and apply this all over my eye area and it's wonderful. I highly recommend it. 

4. Holi--- I am not Holi's biggest fan. I love Diwali. Lights over colour any day. But this year Holi was spent with my family in the hometown and it was rather nice. Also organic, jasmine scented aabir! What fun! 

5. Fox Tote from Chumbak--- Ah fabulous Mr. Fox! So dapper! 

6. Hart of Dixie--- Ah! March also meant saying goodbye to a show I loved. Hart of Dixie has wrapped up for good. It breaks my heart when a show about good, kind and lovable people doesn't garner enough TRPs and has to wrap-up. 

If you haven't seen this show before, well, now you can marathon all seasons at once. Set in Bluebell, this show feels like a big, warm cup of tea. Full of quirky and lovable characters and a love triangle and a super hot leading man--Hello Wade! This show is seriously nice! :) 

7. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt---- Tina Fey's new show, she is the creator and writer in this show about a young woman who was kidnapped at 13 years old by a crazy pastor and held captive in an underground bunker for 15 years. She is finally free and living her life in New York City and trying to make up for lost time. A funny and light-hearted take on a serious situation. This show is just charming and funny and if you love Tina Fey's writing style and humour, you'll like Kimmy too :)

8. Soothing Mint--- A pretty top I recently got and it matched my sister's nail-paint perfectly. 
The top is from Westside. 
Nail-paint is from Inglot. 

Hope you had a nice March too and go on to have an even better April. 

These are my favourite things from March. 

What have you been loving? 

Book Haul/// eBooks of March 2015.

March was a good book buying month. Not only did I add some delightful physical books to my real like bookshelves, I also added some ebooks to my virtual bookshelves..mainly mu Kindle bookshelves. 

I got these books on my Kindle and I am excited to get to them over the next few months. 

Three Souls-  Janie Chang..a book set in China and about the idea that we have three souls and that they need to be at peace and in harmony for us to go over to the other side once we are dead. I have heard great things about this book and I find the premise interesting. 

China Dolls- Lisa See...another author I've been meaning to read for a while. Will start wit this book and then get to her other works. 

Sweet Water- Christina Baker Kline...my sister read The Orphan Train by the same author and loved it and we decided to read something else by her. 

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August- Claire North...a man lives his life over and over and over, and finally in one lifetime, right when he is about to die he is told that he needs to save the world in his next life. Sounds great and I have heard really good things about this book. Very excited! 

The Martian- Andy Wier...I heard about this book on Book Riot and it sounded interesting. An astronaut is left behind on Mars and has to fend for himself and survive. I read a little bit of this book, like 2% and it reads really well and I am excited to get to it. I think I'll like it. Even though sci-fi isn't really my jam! 

Trigger Warning- Neil Gaiman...short-stories from Gaiman...I just had to! 

Vanishing Girls- Lauren Oliver....a story about sisters and their relationship. I think this is also a psychological thriller and I am intrigued.

I took a little break from my Kindle in March, after reading on it exclusively in the month of February. But I love my Kindle and the ease and convenience it brings to my reading life. 

Happy reading guys!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Book Haul: Books of March 2015 Part- II.


Back again with a book haul, the second one of the month and once again from Amazon. 

I love these group of books, I know I say that about all of my book hauls but I love, love these books. A nice eclectic little mix.

Let's see what books have been added to my bookshelves. 

Books Bought: 

Pashu- Devdutt Pattnaik
The Postern of Fate- Agatha Christie
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding- Agatha Christie 
The Scatter Here is Too Great- Bilal Tanweer 
The Burmese Days- George Orwell 
One Part woman- Perumal Murugan 
Sula- Toni Morrison 
Jazz-  "
Strings of Murder- Oscar de Muriel
The Skinning Tree- Srikumar Sen 

Happy reading guys :)

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Book Review: An Obedient Father by Akhil Sharma.

Book: An Obedient Father

Author: Akhil Sharma

Pages: 278

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: Ram Karan, a corrupt official in the Physical Education department of the Delhi school system, lives in one of the city's slums with his widowed daughter and his little granddaughter. Bumbling, ironical, sad, Ram is also a man corroded by a guilty secret.

When Rajiv Gandhi, the soon-to-be Prime Minister, is murdered, the country is plunged into confusion and Ram, as his department's resident bribe-collector, is trapped in a series of escalating, possibly deadly political betrayals. While he tries to protect himself and his family, his daughter reveals a crime that he had hoped would be buried forever. Ram's struggle to survive, and make amends after a life of deception, thrusts him among gangsters and movie stars, into riots and morgues.

Akhil Sharma's characters, whether politicians, children, priests, or extortionists, are exactly rendered, full of pathos and absurdity. An Obedient Father takes the reader to a world that is both far away and as real as the headlines or the house across the street-and into the mind of a character as tormented, funny, and morally ambiguous as one of Dostoevsky's anti-heroes.

General Thoughts: Well, I had no idea going into this book that it would prove to be a difficult read. The blurb on back of the book isn't particularly helpful in telling me what to fully expect from this book. I only knew the bare minimum. The plot summary above, is not the one on the back of my edition. I just wanted you guys to have a more comprehensive idea about the story and subject matter.

I mainly bought this book because I heard some amazing things about Sharma's new book Family Life that came out last year. I got this first since it's the author's debut novel. I have bought Family Life this month and will be reading in later in the year.

Things I Liked: 

1. The writing was good. The author does an amazing job at creating this world--- not just the Delhi of the early 90s, but of this family, this broken and highly dysfuctional family as well is made to seem real and flesh and bones.

2. The characters in this people were so real, sad and broken and damaged but incredibly real.

3. I loved, absolutely loved the setting of this book and the time period it was set in. India post-Liberalization is one of my favourite time periods to read about. For one I have actual...somewhat clear memories of the time. Especially the summer in which Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated is very clear in my mind. So reading about this time and seeing the repercussions of his death on party workers made for an interesting read.

4. Ram Kiran is a vile, vile man. He is vermin in my opinion. Apart from being a relentless bribe-taker. He is a child-rapist. A father who raped his own daughter. There is no redemption for him in my eyes. It was very hard to see the world through his eyes and his distorted world view. Especially when he thinks about past events and thinks back to the time he used to actively abuse his daughter. As hard as these bits were to read, it made me see the world and see a person, I'd normally not want to read about, it was a very different reading experience. To see the world of a person like Ram Kiran.

5. The book looks into the world of petty bureaucracy and it's very corrupt and twisted form that sometimes (a lot of times) exists here in India. This was also something I found interesting to read about.

6. A book covers a lot of history of this family- Ram Kiran's childhood and youth, the early years of his marriage. Anita's tragic childhood and her marriage and the early years of her married life. I liked that we got to see so much of this family and it's background. 

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. The difficult subject matter never got easy to read. To read about rape is never easy, worse still if it is the rape of a child. It just left a very bad taste in my mouth.

2. Anita, the victim of the sexual abuse, was such a non-character. Even thought huge portions of the book was from her perspective, I felt no connection to her. I felt that I barely got to know her. I felt empathy for her but I just not to connect with adult Anita.

3. The book's ending was also a bit absurd.

4. The politics towards  the end was a bit boring, for me. I am not hugely into politics and I don't like reading about it. So personally, those bits were a little dry and dull.

Rating: 2/5 (A bit harsh but this overall, was a let-down read for me.)

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Review: Those Pricey Thakur Girls by Anuja Chauhan

Book: Those Pricey Thakur Girls

Author: Anuja Chauhan

Pages: 400

I read: The paperback

I read it in: 2013.. and so, I don't remember how much time it took me :)

Plot Summary: In a sprawling bungalow on New Delhi's posh Hailey Road, Justice Laxmi Narayan Thakur and his wife Mamta spend their days watching anxiously over their five beautiful (but troublesome) alphabetically named daughters. Anjini, married but an incorrigible flirt; Binodini, very worried about her children's hissa in the family property; Chandrakanta, who eloped with a foreigner on the eve of her wedding; Eshwari, who is just a little too popular at Modern School, Barakhamba Road; and the Judge's favourite (though fathers shouldn't have favourites): the quietly fiery Debjani, champion of all the stray animals on Hailey Road, who reads the English news on DD and clashes constantly with crusading journalist Dylan Singh Shekhawat, he of shining professional credentials but tarnished personal reputation, crushingly dismissive of her state-sponsored propaganda, but always seeking her out with half-sarcastic, half-intrigued dark eyes.

General Thoughts: I bought this book, for a special silly reason, on my birthday in 2013. I read this book in February 2013- way before this little blog was even born! So, even though I really enjoyed this book, I didn't get down to reviewing it. However, given that now & TV (AND TV) is adapting this book into a TV show called Dilli waali Thakur Gurls, I thought I should put up a review, since this is a book that I immensely enjoyed. 

What I Liked: Quick list:
  • The writing is really good. Anuja Chauhan is the best Indian rom-com writer. Period. I also immensely enjoyed her previous books- The Zoya Factor and The Battle for Bittora. 
  • The book is set in Delhi in the late 1980s and it was such a delight to read so much Dilli-ness in the book! Plus, the 80s were awesome! So, if you enjoy flashbacks to the less tech-heavy but so-much-fun days of the 80s, then that is reason enough to pick up this book. 
  • I have three words for you- Dylan Singh Shekhawat. So dreamy! Ms. Chauhan has a knack for writing drool-worthy leading men. Read this book for Dylan. 
  • Debjani is also a fun character.. she loves stray animals of all kinds and she is no pushover. So, she was a delightful character to read about. Plus, she is a DD English newsreader. If that is not a flashback to our lives at 9 pm in the late 80s, then I don't know what is! 
  • The story is predictable but the execution makes you want to forgive that. 

What I Didn't Like: Only a few things: 
  • There was some unnecessary political angle added in to make this book more serious than it needed to be! This is a rom-com/ "chick flick" / insert latest politically correct term for this genre and I think one should embrace it for what it is without trying to be profound. Being superficially profound does not work. 

Rating: 4/5

Friday, 27 March 2015

Book Review: The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami.

Book: The Strange Library

Author: Haruki Murakami

Pages: 77

Read On: Hardback copy.

How Long it Took Me To Read: 3 hours (with many breaks)

Plot Summary: 'All I did was go to the library to borrow some books'.

On his way home from school, the young narrator of The Strange Library finds himself wondering how taxes were collected in the Ottoman Empire. He pops into the local library to see if it has a book on the subject. This is his first mistake.

Led to a special 'reading room' in a maze under the library by a strange old man, he finds himself imprisoned with only a sheep man, who makes excellent donuts, and a girl, who can talk with her hands, for company. His mother will be worrying why he hasn't returned in time for dinner and the old man seems to have an appetite for eating small boy's brains. How will he escape?

General Thoughts: I wanted this book since it first came out last year. An illustrated Murakami is the stuff of dreams. I am glad I finally got my grubby hands on it and I read it on a day I was very ill and it provided me with much needed comfort and joy.  

Things I Liked: 

1. The art was just splendid. There is art on almost every single page and it was just lovely. 

2. This is a beautifully made and designed book. A real beauty and such a delight. 

3. This is definetly a book I will re-read over the years. A quick easy and wonderful read to flip over. 

4. There were some typical Murkami elements in this book- magical realism, bizarreness, wierdness, descriptions of food and of course good writing. 

5. I read this book when I was really sick and it immensely cheered me up. 

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. This is clearly not Murakami at his best, obviously. It doesn't come close to Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore or Wind-up Bird Chronicle. So don't go in expecting to be blown away. This book is short, sweet and strange. But not his best work. 

2. The ending was a little too abrupt and sudden. 

Rating: 4/5 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Project 365 2015: Week 12.

This week started on a bleak note. I was down with food poisoning and was in a world of pain. So those two days quite honestly were not really documented. But once I started feeling better this week turned around. This was a happy week, since I had been a little sick, I felt a little self-indulgent and wanted to treat myself to a little something something...quite a few somethings if I am being honest. 

So some online and real life shopping happened. Stay tuned for book hauls :) 

Let's see what else I got up to this week. 

Day 78: A day of being sick often requires positive thinking and positive messages. Thankfully my walls at home are full of happy thoughts and positive reminders. 

Day 79: Snacking for a sick girl. A bowl of goodness. Raspberries and blackberries. So delicious. I even bakes a three berry tart (I just might do a recipe post!) So good, I love eating fruits and it's been my goal to include more fresh and seasonal fruit in my diet. 

Day 80: Bag love. Love the colourful patch on my handbag. Such a gorgeous pop of bright colour. Posed next to my sister's classic leather tote from Fossil. 

Day 81: Rings and nailpaint. The turquoise ring is something I wear every single day and love it, it's from Accessorize. The big blue lapis lazuli ring is from a silver shop in Bangalore and I adore it. 

Day 82: One of most loved meals...a green beans, mushroom, celery and lettuce salad from Moshe's. Love love love this. So fresh and light and delicious. I really want to attempt to replicate this at home...I must give it a try. 

Day 83: Chocolate chip pancakes. Once again at Moshe's. Sister had a meeting and I had some time to kill. So I grabbed a book and had a coffee and pancake at Moshe's. The pancakes are yummy and drenched in Maple syrup and Honey and served with a Kiwi preserve. 

Day 84: A long day that ended with iced-lemonade in a darling little cup. A good way to end a hot summer day. Bombay reached 40 degrees Celsius, the hottest March day in 10 years and boy it was HOT! Iced drinks were a necessity. 

Hope you had a nice week too. 

See you again next week. 

P.S.: I am so heart-broken over India losing in the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup. So disappointing. Gah! I will now cheer for New Zealand. Go black caps!!!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

General Whimsy/// Spring in bag form!

This tote bag to me is the perfect embodiment of spring, especially here in India. All these yellow and oranges are such Basant colours. 

Just makes me happy to see these colours and see the happy bloom print on the bag. 

This tote was a birthday present and I am yet to tote her around. She is roomy and sturdy and I think she will fit a ton of stuff. 

Also totes and spring just seem like a pre-ordained pairing.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Book Haul/// Books of March 2015. Part-I.


Here we are with the first ever book haul of 2015! Wow! How did this even happen?! I last bought books on the 26th of December 2014 and only six books at that. So very unlike me. 

I wasn't on a book-buying-ban or anything like that, it was just that with travel, books buying took a backseat. Well, now that I am back home, I jumped right in with my book buying. 

I bought these books from Amazon and got great deals on them. I've already read two books out of this bunch already and I am excited to read the rest soon! 

So let's get haulin'. 

I am so happy with all my books and I am so excited to get to them eventually. 

The Strange Library- Haruki Murakami 
A love-story for my Sister- Jaishree Misra 
Smart- Kim Slater 
The French Lieutenant's Woman- John Fowles 
An English Boy in New York- T.S. Easton 
Three Act Tragedy- Agatha Christie 
A Village by the Sea- Anita Desai 
Oscar Wilde and The Ring of Death- Gyles Brandreth
Something Happened on The Way To Heaven- Sudha Murthy 

Happy Reading Guys! 

I have more books on the way and will haul them once they arrive. :)