Loyal Stalkers by Chhimi Tenduf-La

Image result for loyal stalkersLoyal Stalkers is an anthology of stories by Chhimi Tenduf-La that will warm your heart, bring a smile on your face, a tear in your eye and, occasionally send chills down your spine. Set in Colombo, the stories give us an insight into the lives of these islanders of Sri Lanka: from poverty stricken homes to high-rise apartments, it shows the dreams, desires, flaws and lifestyles of the people. What amazed me was the way in which the stories are inter-connected. It reflects that all our lives are connected in a way or the other.

A shout-out to my favourite tales from the anthology: Devil Mask Tattoo, Balls, Lovable Idiot, Loyal Stalkers and Everyone Has To Eat! I thoroughly enjoyed reading these among others.

It broadened my perspective: it showed that each human being has a tale to tell, no matter who they are or what they do. These delightful and flawed characters will stay in your mind long after you’ve read the book. It’s fast paced, easy to read and definitely one you can’t put down until the very end!

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Origin by Dan Brown

image1Robert Langdon, the Harvard symbologist is back and this time he’s chasing across Spain to unravel a secret along-side an actress and art museum director Ambra Vidal. A juxtaposition of religion and science, like all his Langdon books, what is different about Origin however, is that, there are also some futuristic AI gadgets in it. If the rustic, ancient basilicas of Barcelona coincide with the personality of Langdon, the ultra-modern alien-spaceship like Guggenheim Museum hints at the vision of the futurist Edmond Kirsch in the book. It is an amalgamation of history, art, architecture, Antoni Gaudi’s distinctive style and beliefs, along with glimpses of the era of super-computing.

Fast paced, entertaining read that had me biting my nails and flipping the pages at hurricane speed. There is so much of landscape and art history to soak up apart from the central story of Kirsch’s discovery. The ending is a bit unsatisfying though: unexpected, abrupt and a few loose ends haven’t been tied up. Also, Robert’s eidetic memory is talked about far too many times! We get it, he’s a symbology professor. He obviously has a pictorial memory of codes. If you can ignore these minor cons, the story itself is a complete entertainer that will keep you guessing the culprit on every page.

A book is to a bibliophile what music is to everyone else, in the sense that a book can remind of you a particular place and time in your life. I first read Dan Brown when I was thirteen years old, and reading one of his new books today brought back the memories of my school days. I could not fully appreciate the vast historical details, architectural descriptions and the feel of a place that Brown provided, back then. I was only interested in Robert Langdon and Vittoria Vetra’s adventure across Rome. But, Origin is written in such a way that Robert forms only a small part of it, and yet you’ll be able to appreciate the story as a whole.

All you Angels and Demons’ fanatics hit the bookstore, there’s a new Brown book in town!

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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Of course, you have heard of Neil Gaiman. What with American Gods coming to TV this year, it is impossible not to have heard of Gaiman. But I chose to read Neverwhere before I read any other book of his because of two reasons:

a) As I was browsing his novels in office one afternoon,  I came to know Neverwhere was his first novel.

b) It was set in London. As a Potter fan, any fantasy fiction set in London is quite irresistible. And by ‘quite’, I mean ‘very’. Potter fans would agree.

Unlike Rowling, Gaiman paints a different picture of London. He takes you through the sewers of London to its rooftops filling you with a sense of deep, dark and mysterious. Richard, an office-going employee in a new town finds access to a world unknown to everyone around him, London Below and a series of adventures follow. This Urban Fantasy tale is Alice in Wonderland for adults, and just as delightful.

Also, this version of Neverwhere, the mass market paperback has a note by Neil himself, and an extra chapter, a short story based on the characters of the book at the end of the novel.

 

 

Indian Restaurants in Japan

For most of us, it is in our genes to travel. Be it with our family or friends, we all want to explore different places and cultures, but one of the biggest issues for a vegetarian family coming from India is finding food in a foreign land. If you’re someone who wants to travel to Japan, and can’t do without Indian cuisine for long, good news, you don’t have to pack ready-to-eat foods or those long-storage-friendly theplas and khakras anymore. Below are a few good restaurants, and delis we tried in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto regions.

1. Ashoka Hotel in Kyoto and Osaka

Now, Ashoka is a chain of restaurants across Japan, so you can find it in many towns, or like the Japanese call it, prefectures. Super, delicious, quality, authentic food! We liked it so much, that after visiting their Kyoto outlet, we went to the one in Osaka too. It’s run by an Indian family and serves North Indian food.

Links to check the menu/ call/ reserve/ directions Ashoka Hotels Address

2. Namaste Taj Mahal in Osaka

Decent food and place found inside the acclaimed Umeda Sky Building in Osaka prefecture. Serves North Indian, as far as I remember you can find a few South Indian dishes as well.

Links: Hotel (Don’t panic, select the language to English when you click these links)

3. Khazana in Tokyo

This is on the upper floors of Decks Mall, Tokyo. It’s a small place with a pretty view, overlooks the beach. Food is quite good.
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4. Annam Hotel in Tokyo

Though it’s found inside a compact building, the inside of the hotel is quite spacious. You can even find Jain food here, garlic-and-onion-free. North and South Indian food. Slightly spicy, but you can ask for the level of spice you prefer. Ginza is one of the main shopping streets in Tokyo, so you can easily walk down to this place after your dinner.

Links: Annam Hotel

5. Mumbai in Tokyo

This one is found in Ginza street too! Small restaurant, but good, sumptuous food.

Link:  Mumbai Hotel

Happy Eating! 🙂

(PS – Images not clicked by me, if it’s yours and want me to remove them, kindly drop a message)

The Good, the Bad and the oh-so-Evil.

I’m talking about Bram Stoker’s DraculaThe origin of Vampire fantasy, this book is rich in details of the species vampire, its powers, limitations and superstitions surrounding it. This was my first gothic fantasy read. The book put me in a strange glum mood, and provided slow dosages of classic horror through out. Though it was a slow read, there were parts that completely enthralled me and had me turning pages. I’m glad I didn’t quit this book in half.

The vivid descriptions of Romania, it’s people, culture and many customs as seen through the eyes of a traveller will give you serious a case of wanderlust, especially the countryside which is a palette of colours that Jonathan sees on his ride to the Carpathian Mountains, Dracula’s carriage, the Transylvanian horses, the superstitious beliefs of the land. From the rough terrains of Transylvania and the wild sea to Victorian London, Whitby and Exeter, this book is proof of the phrase – we read so we can travel to a place and time we have never been.

The story builds fast until the happenings at Castle Dracula. It becomes a tad slow in the middle. But then again, it picks up towards the end, though the ending some may find predictable. The only difficulty in reading this book is the language. It was written at a time when the world was very different, particularly the way people spoke. Everything is said in a subtle manner with flowery words and nothing is stated straight-forward. In other words, a dialogue could run for pages and beat around the bush a lot, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll begin to enjoy it. (Beware, you may begin to speak like Van Helsing by the time you finish the book.) I enjoyed the quirkiness of the character Quincey Morris, friend from a foreign land apart from the protagonists. In the end, I’d say it’s one of those classics you shouldn’t miss!

My first trip with a friend…

This was one of those Goa plans that actually worked out. There were highs and lows, ups and downs, but mostly, pleasant. We raced across the city at 5 in the morning and somehow made it on time. We flew by Air Asia, and I would suggest you not to choose it if you can help it-crammed spaces, and bad crowd.

We stayed at the Lalit Golf and Spa hotel in Canacona. The hotel lies to the South of Goa, cut off from the rest of the state, beyond the Western Ghats. It is a two and a half hour drive from Panaji airport. We chose it because it came with a backyard beach, literally backyard, because it takes you less than five minutes to walk down. Raj Baga is a tranquil beach with low tides and alone time, surrounded by the Sahyadri mountain ranges. Corta’s beach is along the same strip as Raj Baga’s, but slightly more crowded.

Our South Goa trip was complete with late night talks, serene beaches, buggy rides, cabanas, maze gardens and sunset by the poolside, where the sun didn’t touch the horizon, instead, the ball of red sunk in the sky, inch by inch.

Pictures on my Instagram

 

Inside the Heart of hope by Rishabh Puri

Book Review of ‘Inside the Heart of hope’ by Rishabh Puri

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Rishabh Puri weaves an inspiring tale of human spirit rising above all odds. One is drawn to the little boy Rick, the protagonist of the story, right from the beginning. And we stick with him through out. His desire to run like the boys of his age is palpable. His fears become ours, as Rick is diagnosed with aortic valve stenosis, at a very young age. A medical condition of the heart that makes him visit the hospital many a times.

Rick goes through an emotional roller coaster of a life through out his teenage years. But his persistent nature leads him to spirituality, bouts of inspiration and finding purpose in life, as he doesn’t give into his condition, but finds a way to lead a wholesome life. The story takes an exciting turn when Rick meets Lisa, in the most unexpected of ways. Their romantic journey is sweet, delightful and keeps us wanting for more.

One of my favourite quotes in the story—“never judge someone by their health. So many times in life, people won’t associate with others who are not like them . . . If you see someone like that, go and be their friend.”

Through this story, Rishabh Puri shows us how not to let our limitations weigh us down, instead accept them and find a way to rise above our limitations.

Loved reading this novel.

A MUST READ, especially for teenagers and twenty year olds!

A pocket full of flowers

In my creative journey, I suddenly discovered the joy of flowers. This week I stumbled upon a pink scented Indian rose and from then now, my writing has seen a variety of flowers arranged in many different ways. Take a look at my them. Tell me if you liked any.

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Bougainvillea, found one  on my morning walk.

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Indian scented rose and bougainvillea.

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Roses red, yellow and pink and a lone jasmine.

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Some dried roses in a metal cup.

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And lastly, some flowers with my book 🙂

Best wishes,

Shalini

 

My Book – Born Too Soon

Hi,

I’m so happy to share with you what New Zealand children’s story author Maria Gill feels about my story in Born Too Soon. 🙂

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My short story is published in the anthology novel Born Too Soon. Our book is a step in change towards society. It is a collection of strong and meaningful short stories and poems written by authors from various parts of India.

You can buy this book on Amazon.

Paperback on Amazon : http://www.amazon.in/Born-Too-Soon-Various/dp/8193298896/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489559484&sr=8-1&keywords=born+too+soon

If you have already bought this book and read it, please let me know in the comments how you liked the book, and my story.

Ebook version on Kindle and Juggernaut will be available soon. I will post the link when they are available.

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my all-time favourite fictional quotes

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the lights.” – Albus Dumbledore. Harry Potter Series – J K Rowling

“You should be kissed and often and by someone who knows how.” – Rhett Butler. Gone with the wind – Margaret Mitchell

“Honestly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” -Rhett Butler. Gone with the wind – Margaret Mitchell

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” – Tyrion Lannister. Game of thrones – George R R Martin

“We don’t choose whom we love.” – Jamie Lannister. Game of thrones – George R R Martin

“To say ‘I love you’ one must know first how to say the ‘I’.” – Howard Roark. The Fountainhead- Ayn Rand

“10,000 hours of practice is needed to became an expert in any field.” – Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell.

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

“I want to chase the dawn with you…” – Christian Grey. FSOG – E L James

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy

These are some of my favourite quotes. Tell me your favourites in the comments below.