Friday, November 29, 2013

IndiVine Post: Dove's Guessing Game with my Friend!


"Best friends are the sisters God forgot to give us!" 
~ Anonymous 

My best friend and I have not been best friends forever. Even though we met when we were 5-6 years old, we did not hit it off at all. It wasn't till 2004, when we were both in 9th standard, that Soumma and I started becoming really good friends. Friendships are not born in one day...and I can bet anything we're the proof of that. 

But we're also proof of being crazy, weird, funny and having a world of our own - which makes us both get so wrapped up with each other, that sometimes our other buddies prefer not to meet the two of us together. Despite knowing Soumma for the last nine odd years, it's funny that we never went out shopping together. Nor have we ever discussed jewelry. That has been a more recent development. For some reason (don't ask me what), we discussed the clothes and jewelry part of our lives with other friends. 

And yet, it would be wrong to say we've never dressed up and had pretend fashion shows. It would be wrong to say, we've never tried on makeup. Well, mostly Soumma was the one experimenting. And I have always been her favorite person to experiment on. 


This is the picture from my birthday part in 2004. I had just turned 15...and we decided to dress up and take a photograph. Needless to say, I was reluctant. The girl in the blue skirt convinced me to put on makeup, wear fabulous clothes and well, just pose for the camera. Nine years later, I am so glad we took this picture. It was one of the landmarks of our friendship. 


This picture was taken in our friend, Amrita's terrace, in 2006. We had just all entered class XI, feeling so good to have crossed over from class X, so awesome to have cleared our ICSE. It was during this time the already good friendship began to grow more steadily...


Soumma's experiments continued.... This is us in 2008, I believe. We just gone our separate ways - into two different colleges. Amrita's birthday was an excuse for everyone to meet up, dress up and take pictures. I don't know why people find that so annoying... because tomorrow the pictures taken today would only become memories. Isn't it a good thing to keep as many memories as possible? You never know when you might need to recall them again... I am glad that though I have a lot of memories with Soumma, we still have tons of pictures to keep the record as well. 


Even with the whole gang meeting up on Ekadoshi in 2010, Soumma and I made sure we had a picture together. This one is a little blurry...but who cares? We're happy. And that's what has always mattered. 


In 2011, we volunteered for my uncle's Art Workshop...and tired and exhausted, we tried to take our own picture... Because that is exactly how crazy we are. Despite spending almost the whole day, running after kids, serving them food (my work), helping them draw (Soumma's department), we were still not that exhausted to click this amazing picture... (one above) 

When I began writing my debut novel, The Secret Proposal, during this time, Jasmine's best friend, Meghan Mukherjee, was doubtlessly based on my own best friend. Both of them share quick wit, love giving advice to their friends, love their best friends dearly, and inspires them to follow their hearts. When I do have a fiance, I hope he shares the same bond Meghan had shared with Veer (my book's hero)... ^_^ 


Last year (2012), I had just come back from a trip to Darjeeling with my college friends. The school gang decided to meet up for an impromptu End of the Year party. While we waited for the rest to arrive, Soumma and I got talking... During my week away, she was taking her examinations. We had barely spoken. And for us, not speaking is...like big, fat novels getting stacked up to be read. This was one of the worse phases of my life...and she was there. I was keeping quiet and not really taking part in things with all my heart. She noticed. 

"Wait," she said suddenly, reaching into her bag and pulling out the makeup things she carries in them, "I'm going to make you look different."

"How is that going to help me?" I remember asking her, surprised.

"Never underestimate the power of makeup," she had told me. 

The result was the picture posted above. Most of people who saw this picture, couldn't believe this was the Aniesha they were so used to. 

I began to discover for myself how a little bit of makeup can make you feel so good about yourself. She was one of the main reasons I began wearing kajal to college everyday. And I consult her, every time I have to go to an event all dressed up. She's a natural at this. 

Another thing she's a natural at, is clicking amazing portraits of people. So the next photo was taken at a time Soumma was determined to make you look...well, for the lack of a better word, stunning. Who knew this girl possessed the ability to do just that with a tube of lipstick and an eyeliner? She never ceases to amaze me. 


When I got hold of this picture, my reaction had been, "WHO IS THAT?" She's not stopped laughing about it...yet. She's a very skilled lady and I just wish, I could put some makeup on her for a change. 

But we had our roles cut out for us since we were seventeen. She's the artist and I'm the writer. If we still remain single by the time we're 30, I am sure we'll go through with the plan we made as teens. We'll hire an apartment together. We'll both  have day jobs and at night - she'll be the artist and work in her studio, and I'll be the writer, concocting tales out of nothing... 


And this was the most recent one of Soumma's clicks. This is me, in her room....and I am smiling happily. She's the one who came up with the hairstyle and the makeup. Once again, I am amazed at what she did...because while she was busy making me look pretty, I was talking nineteen to the dozen, telling her about everything that has been going on in my life. 

I guess for us, the dressing up thingy is a one way street. I like playing the model, and she likes being the one experimenting. So far, all her experiments have been successful. (Also, I am a very obedient model!) 

These pictures reflect only our good times and that's how I wish to see our friendship. Like every other relationship, we've had our shares of ups and downs. We were there for each other during times of loss, during times when the world didn't seem to care. We have been at each other's throats too. We've have screamed at each other, disconnected phones, switched them off... bought birthday cards together (both being September born), gone to sleep without wishing each other goodnight. Woken up to regret it the next morning. 

Taken long walks, talking, musing, pulling each other's legs, staying over, eating desserts, sitting in the terrace and just talking....watching the sunset. (We're too lazy to witness sunrises.) We're only yet to go shopping for clothes with each other. 

Oh well. We have a lifetime ahead of us do all the things left undone on our lists. 

I'm just thankful for having her for my best friend. After all, they say you've done something right, to have at least even ONE good friend. 


I would just like to thank Dove, for giving me the opportunity to blog about all the regular but weird things we have done together... 

Some friendships are meant to survive beyond school. 

I love you, Soumma. 

P.S. - I just wish you had an internet connection. 


This post is a part of the Dove's Guessing Game Contest in association with IndiBlogger, http://www.dove.in/en/Products/Bar-Body-Wash/Bar/Cream-Beauty-Bathing-Bar.aspx

Friday, November 22, 2013

Book Review: The Homing Pigeons

Details of the Book 

PublisherSrishti Publisher
CoverPaperback
No. Of Pages328
Date of Publication2013
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 139789380349916
ISBN 109380349912
Year Of Publication2013
Author



About the Book: 

In the middle of the catastrophic 2008 recession, Aditya, a jobless, penniless man meets an attractive stranger in a bar. Little does he know that his life will change forever.

When Radhika, a young, rich widow, marries off her stepdaughter, little does she know that the freedom she has yearned for is not exactly how she had envisioned it.

They say homing pigeons always come back to their mate, no matter where you leave them on the face of this earth. The Homing Pigeons is the story of love between these two unsuspecting characters as it is of lust, greed, separations, prejudices and crumbling spines.

About the Author: 

A hotelier by education, an ex-banker and a senior executive in the outsourcing industry, Sid gave up a plush career in the outsourcing industry to follow his passions. Based out of Ranikhet, he is now a struggling entrepreneur and a happy writer. A self- proclaimed eccentric, he is an avid blogger who loves to read and cook. Cooking stories, however, is his passion. The Homing Pigeons is his debut novel. He can be reached atsidd.bahri@gmail.com



The Review: 

When I was first asked to review The Homing Pigeons by the Readers Cosmos, I didn't really know if I wanted to read the book. Firstly, my University classes were taking up a lot of my time and secondly, because I was getting involved in all sorts of work.... But I am glad that I decided to read and review this book.

The story is told through the alternating points of views of Aditya and Radhika. While I found it really entertaining to see how these two very strong characters dipped in and out of each others lives, I found it difficult to sometimes to keep track of the year we were reading about. I wish the chapter heads had come with the years, so that it was easier for the reader to find their ways back to where the author wanted to lead them.

The Homing Pigeons is a heartfelt tale about two star crossed lovers, who just have to be with each other despite every single problem that they are faced with. The book has the capacity to draw the readers in and make them live in a world where Radhika and Aditya are fighting all odds to be with one another.

What I found especially admirable was the profession Aditya takes up when he gets laid off his job. Even though readers can guess the quite predictable ending...I was very taken with the fact, Sid Bahri didn't leave us with the cliched happily ever after. You've have to read the story to find out what he left us with!

I greatly appreciated the fact that the book was devoid of any typos or grammatical errors...a rare find during these days.

I recommend this book to anyone who needs to restore their faith in happy endings and the concept of soul mates. Happy Reading, people!

Many congratulations to Sid Bahri for his wonderful debut novel. I wish him all the best and hope to review his future books as well...

Thank you, Readers Cosmos, for giving me such a pleasant read that entertained me for quite sometime now. I have to part with this book and go on to the next one on my pile now.


This review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on tothereaderscosmos.blogspot.com 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Recipe: The Heart Shaped Brownie


It's just the 15th of November 2013, and yet my goal for 2014 is still being realized. So this evening, was another one of my cooking experiments. This time I decided to modify a recipe I'd come across online called, "Brownie in a Mug", to make my very own "The Heart Shaped Brownie".

Ingredients 

100 g of flour 
100 g of sugar 
3 tablespoon of cocoa powder 
A pinch of salt 
4 tablespoon of olive oil 
6 tablespoon of water 
3 tablespoon of milk 

Method 

In a mixing bowl, add the flour, the sugar, the cocoa powder, the pinch of salt, the olive oil, and water....now mix this all up, add the milk in order to make your ingredients become a plain batter. Be sure not to let any lumps form. 


Now pour this batter into your mould (or any microwavable bowl). Make sure it settles down well, and remember to grease your mould beforehand. You really don't want to scrape your brownie out!!! 

Microwave it...for around 5 minutes. I suggest microwaving it 1 minute at a time, and checking on it. 5 minutes is the ideal time if you're cooking it at 700 W. 

You'll know it's baked when it looks this: 


You can cut the brownie out directly from here, or you can get your brownie out like I did: 


Oh well, my heart broke when I tried to get it out of the mould...but that shouldn't happen. Make sure you grease your mould well enough... 

It was yummy to eat though! 

Happy Brownie Making, People....

P.S. I got the idea for this lovely brownie from here. Check it out, if you want to make Brownie in a Mug. 


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Recipe: The Cake in a Cup (with a twist)

A few days ago, I made a to-do list for 2014. One of the things on that list is, to learn how to cook. I have been making Pancakes since the time I was 14, but I really want to branch out and learn how to cook other things. And not just cheese omlettes and such cliched food. I had been struggling to make a proper cake for a long time, so imagine my surprise when I learned there is such a thing as a "Cake in a Cup" which takes approximately 2 to 5 minutes to bake. 



The Cake in a Cup (with a twist) 

Ingredients: 

1 Coffee Mug/Any Microwaveable Mug 
4 tablespoon of flour 
2 tablespoon of cocoa 
1 egg 
3 tablespoon of milk 
1 tablespoon of butter 
1/4 tablespoon of sugar 
Vanilla essence 

Method: 

In a bowl, mix the milk and the egg well. Then add the butter, and keep on stirring. Then add the sugar, mixing it all very well.

Add the vanilla essence. 

After mixing it, add the flour and mix again. 



Now you can put a part of this mixture into your mug and microwave for around a minute or so. When it's done, it should look something like this: 



To the remaining mixture in the bowl, add cocoa powder, and stir it very well. It should look like this:


Now pour this mixture onto your already baked cake in the mug. Be careful not to fill it to the brim, because there's a chance it might overflow onto your microwave. And you really don't want that to happen. 


Now put this in the microwave for around a minute or so... 


Finally, to get your cake out of the mug, keep it upturned over a plate. It would come out (especially if you have remembered to grease your mug before pouring in the mixture at the beginning with butter). 

Your cake might look something like this, or even better! 



Your two-in-one cup in a cake is now ready to be gobbled up!!! 


P.S. - This is the first time I've attempted to write a blog post on a recipe. Feedback is welcome. Do try this recipe and tell me how it turned out....I just added a fair few twists to the already available recipes online. 



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

IndiVine Post: The Platinum Day of Love



Describe your Platinum Day of Love, the one that you have experienced or the one you dream of. Tell us why platinum is best suited to celebrate the day you find everlasting love. The most heartfelt stories will win precious platinum jewelry! 


Sam: Why do I and everyone I love choose people who treat us like we're nothing? 
Charlie: We accept the love we think we deserve. 
- The Perks of being a Wallflower 

Source: Google Images 



My Platinum Day of Love is yet to arrive! But that doesn't mean that I never think about that day. More likely, I keep dreaming about that day... 

I don't know why but I've always found stories which involve people who've known each other since childhood, suddenly falling in love to be absolutely adorable. 

Knowing someone for so many years and loving them, already gives you a solid ground. Falling in love with them...that's right next to magical. 

"Love doesn't hurt", and it's so true. It's mostly the people we choose to fall in love with...who give us an unrealistic hope of what we want in our relationships...and take all that away from us. And we sink into depression, because we don't see how we're ever going to find someone special. What we really need to learn is, to take a chance and live our lives to the fullest. 

Source: Google Images 

My Platinum Day of Love 

11:00 am, Saturday. 

Hands over my head, thinking what else could wrong...
Would have stayed in bed, how can the day be so long? 
Never believed that things happen for a reason, 
But how this turned out, removed all my doubts...so believe it.
That for you I'd do it all over again...I'd do it all over again. 

"Oh my God," my friend, Ashwin's voice cut in through the song, "please tell me you're not still whining over that idiotic ex of yours." He had unceremoniously plucked out one of the ear pieces of the headphone.
I had been sitting by myself in the corner of my room, listening to songs on my phone since morning. I had not even noticed it when my friend had come into my room. I debated whether to ask him if he had knocked, but thought better of it. Because with the way I had songs blaring into my ear drums, there was no way I could have heard it.
"I am not," I said a little defensively, snatching the ear piece back, "I just like this song."
"Yeah, I know," he said, rolling his eyes. Then he put on a high pitched voice, "But for you I'd do it all over again," he returned to his normal voice, "Get over it already. He's not coming back."
"Who said I'm waiting for him?" I snapped. I was super annoyed with him now. He'd touched a nerve. I did not like being accused of thinking about my ex, when I hated even acknowledging the fact that I was in relationship once upon a time.
"I didn't mean it...," he tried to tell me, but I wouldn't hear a word of it.
"Leave me alone," I almost ordered him, "I don't want to talk to you."

11:30 am 

Whatsapp Message
Ashwin: Audio 
Ashwin: Listen to the song! :) 
Ashwin: You know you want to... ;)

I downloaded the media file Ashwin sent me. It turned out to be the song "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter. I remembered the very first time I'd told him why I liked the song.
"It's amazing two people who are meant to be together simply find each other," I had said, thrilled when I had watched the music video for the first time, "they keep having bad days...but miracles happen."
He had merely laughed then and said, "They do, when you believe in it."
Soon after he began dating a girl from our college. It's funny that today, I cannot even remember her name. There was a time I had pulled his leg so very mercilessly about her...

'Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
You've seen what you like
And how does it feel for one more time
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

11:45 am 
Whatsapp Chat

Me:
You still believe everything will come around after that terrible day?

Ashwin: 
I thought you believed in miracles.

Me:
I am skeptical now.

Ashwin:
People change. :)

Me: 
:(

Ashwin:
I'll come over tomorrow. Okay?

Me:
Sorry about today. :(

Ashwin:
It's okay. I pushed it. Sorry :P But seriously, get over that idiot.  Was he really worth your time?

Me:
The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing.

Ashwin:
WHAT?!?!

Me:
Blaise Pascal. Quote.

Ashwin:
See you tomorrow. Okay?

Me:
Brilliant. :)

11:30am, Sunday 

I expected Ashwin to start on the topic of my ex again and braced myself for the usual, 'how long does it take to get over your heartbreak' lecture to start. I was surprised when he said instead, "Let's watch a movie."
"Fine," I said, "but I'm not stepping out of my house."
He rolled his twinkling black eyes, "I wouldn't expect you to, you Grinch."
"It's not even Christmas," I pointed out.
"Yes," he nodded, "that's exactly my point. You stole it."
The movie that Ashwin forced me to watch was Pitch Perfect. A movie about the struggles faced by an all female acapella group, as they tried to win a trophy.  We sat on the carpeted floor, with my laptop resting on my portable study table. It was a really sweet movie...and despite my mental resolution to not get too involved in the story, I got very interested. In fact I found myself actually dancing to the final song in the movie. I pulled Ashwin to his feet and danced around with him.
He laughed out loud, "You really are happy."
"It's an awesome movie," I admitted, "It would make anyone happy...but I didn't like the puke scenes."
"Hey, I did warn you to close your eyes."
"What? You watched this before?"
"I had to road test it," he shrugged.
"Why?"
"You'll see," he smiled, "hey want to see another movie?"

The next movie was The Perks of being a Wallflower. It was a very good movie as well: the regular troubles of high school, coupled with unexplained stories from the childhood. I found myself tearing up, especially towards the ending when Charlie the protagonist says, "...and in this moment, I swear we are infinite." I clapped hard when the movie ended.
"Where did you find such amazing movies from?" I asked, turning towards Ashwin.
It was only then I noticed he was looking at me like he had not seen me before. I wondered what was wrong with him.
"What's wrong?" I asked him.
"You're beautiful," he breathed.
"And you're crazy," I laughed.
He frowned at me, "Can't you be a little serious at times? Why do you joke about everything?"
"Because that's what I do," I explained, "how long have you known me?"
"You don't take it seriously when I tell you you're beautiful," he accused, "but if God forbid some idiot from college had said the same you would have believed them in a heartbeat."
"You're kidding," I said, slowly, "Ashwin, where's all this coming from?"
"It's coming from the fact that you can be so dense," he practically screamed, "here I am trying to tell you that I love you and ask you to marry me - and you tell me I'm crazy."
I gaped at him.
"What?"
"And now you've spoiled my oh-so-romantic proposal," he went on, in an injured voice, "do you know how many days I put into planning this perfect date?"
"We were on a date?" I asked, appalled, my hands immediately flying to my face, "Ashwin, you idiot. My hair's unkempt and I'm still in my stupid t-shirt and pajamas! I could've done with a heads up."
"Don't you see?" he asked, flailing his arms about, exasperated, "I love you. Even when you forget to wash your hair and don't dress up prettily. I watched that ridiculous Pitch Perfect movie with you because I knew you'd love it. I downloaded Bad Day on my phone, just so I could give it to you."
My head was spinning.

I missed the first train, stood out in the rain all day. 
Little did I know.
When I caught the next train, there you were to sweep me away.
Never believed that things happen for a reason...
But how this turned out,
Removed all my doubts so believe it...
That for you, I'd do it all over again. 

Now Ashwin was kneeling down before me, the wonderful platinum love band in his hand. I almost fell over, seeing him like that. The song Again was playing on my phone. It meant someone was probably calling me. I walked slowly over to Ashwin, drawing my phone out of my pajama pocket. I disconnected the call without even looking at who was calling.

"I love you too," I whispered, "And of course I'll marry you."

I hugged him tightly, and felt his arms around me too. I knew it then, that we were always meant to be. This was a love story waiting to happen. He put the platinum band on my finger. I looked at it and smiled, "Did you spend your first salary on this?"

"What else?" he laughed, "That means you're sponsoring all our dates from now on."

"Ha, ha," I said, wiping the tears from my eyes, "I need to find a job first."

"What? We passed out of college two months ago!"

I smiled at him again, "Why this? Why not a gold or even a silver one? You know I would have been just as happy."

He smiled warmly back at me, "Platinum is forever, my love. It's true...so even when  you're old and grey, and don't look half as good as you do now, my love you will stay like this love band."

"Half as good?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Okay,"  he corrected himself, "Quarter."

"Not helping, my love." Then I looked at the ring again, "It's simply amazing....And it'll always stay the same. Forever," I looked into his eyes. I knew it then, what he wanted to tell me, and I agreed, "Just like us - we're forever."

We decided to go out for lunch because I had no reason to deny myself happiness. I had no reason to feel miserable. After I was dressed appropriately, and happily skipping out of my house, I checked who the missed call was from.

It was from my ex.

I didn't flinch. I didn't feel a twist in my stomach. I didn't react at all.

I deleted his number.

I took the hand Ashwin offered me, and together we went towards our destination.
We were in love. We would always be together.

Source: Google Images 

THE END 


This post is a part of The Platinum Day of Love