Book Review – God is a Gamer by Ravi Subramanian


This is a review written under Blogadda’s Book review Program

Book: God is a Gamer

Author: Ravi Subramanian

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 3.5/5

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God is a Gamer is a gripping, high speed suspense drama. I will say a good effort!

It surely is a page turner. At one point it actually seemed like flipping a daily newspaper with world event headlines. The novel is set across continents from India to USA and involves many scams money laundering, banks, politics, terrorism, government promotions and to top it all personal revenge.

What I liked

Total masala novel

It is a fast paced read. You can’t put the book down once you have started. You feel like flipping the page. The book is quite like a thriller movie, only Bollywood in nature, where first half is good and builds your expectations very high while the second half falls a bit short. I did enjoy the book. It was a light read for me. The story is written quite lucidly and has all the elements or as we say in Bollywood – full on masala book!

Adds value to your knowledge

I loved the angle of bitcoins. Frankly, I had never heard of this concept earlier and found it too interesting. So the book did add value to my knowledge.

Believable characters

Characters and situations are quite believable. You can easily relate to Malavika(the lady who gets through with social contacts), Aditya (the wise businessman), Varun (the dynamic and budding entrepreneur). The charactization is just appropriate, not too deep nor too shallow,; just enough to take the story ahead.

Eye Catchy book cover

I totally loved the book cover. It has shades of grey and gold. Yes, I judge a book by its cover and it completely excels in that, 10/10 from me. The cover is catchy.

What I didn’t like

Lack for proper justification for events

The author seemed to be in great hurry and a bit lacking in research. The end was too abrupt. I mean the complete story is based on a forlorn lover taking revenge on behalf of his girlfriend. Why couldn’t the girlfriend take her own revenge? If it is me who is affected then I should be the one taking the revenge and not my boyfriend. I would have found the story more justified that way.

Also some stories don’t match up in the end. Some parts sounded too farfetched to be true.

I guess the author had no options with so many open cans.

I would surely mention how contemporary foreign authors write a suspense story. I mean look at their level of research. You got the hint, didn’t you?

Location name as chapter titles

I almost got irritated when every chapter title was the name of a location – Goa, Washington DC, Washington DC/Mumbai – sorry but boring for me and also felt that you assumed your reader is a bit slow in comprehension (or you wanted to show off that how your novel is set on such a wide canvas). I mean Mr. Subramanian I would have loved to see a bit of creativity there. You could have weaved the story in such a fashion that we know of the location while the heading could have been kept creative, or even no heading would have been better in this case.

The Final Word

Go for it if you love suspense and thrillers. It is an easy read. No tough words or high vocabulary required. The flow is maintained and suspense keeps on building till the end.

A healthy child = A happy home


A home is complete with a child. You know why? It is because of the innocent happiness and unconditional love that they spread around.

I sometimes think how vulnerable and how dependent a child is on us. If we miss a cue of pain, uneasiness or hunger, the child suffers. When I became a mom, the first thought that crossed my mind was how I will know if my child is in pain. Trust me; it is the most difficult task. Infact a child is known to give wrong cues too.

My experience

Let me tell you my own experience. We were posted to Uttarkashi and were travelling from Delhi. It was a difficult journey. A six month old baby, pathetic roads, long journey and on arrival a messed up house – nothing less than a nightmare!

I am sure many would concur with me that shifting a house is no easy task. So much mess around, packing and unpacking….Ah! Never ending crib of an Army wife!

I had no choice but to leave my baby with the maid and get onto the task of putting the house in order. Attu, my son was a bit cranky and warm when he got up in the morning. I had already consulted the doctor before starting on the journey and I was prepared for this. It was expected that travel fatigue will cause mild fever. I gave him the prescribed medicine and within sometime he was his normal self; giggling and playing around.

I got busy with house management. Around evening, while he was playing, he slipped a bit and hit on the remote lying on the bed. He started crying. As I was sitting besides I knew it was not much. I picked him up and tried to cuddle him. One moment he was crying loud and the other moment he fell dead silent, he was gasping for breath, tightening his fists and rolling his eyes. I went mad. I was shouting for help. I didn’t know what is happening. My hubby picked him up and started running towards the hospital. I was just crying and shouting. Frankly, I thought I lost him.

This is the worst feeling a parent can have.

However, it turned out that he had high fever and because he fell it was kind of a shock. Both combined together he couldn’t get his breath properly.

He was back to his playful self within an hour.

Such are the kids.

Lesson learnt

I learnt a lesson though – health of a child is the most important thing. As long as he is healthy, my home is happy. The moment even a slightest of health problem happens, as small as a running nose, my house gets upside down.

Yes, health is wealth and I will do everything to keep my child healthy. Inculcate healthy habits, healthy food and healthy lifestyle. The lesson starts from now itself.

Migrated my blog to a brand new website


It’s been long I was thinking of having my own website. Feels like owing a small property in this big bad online world.

So finally I have my own website, my baby and I have named it Travel By Karma

Though the website is new and more organized but the content style is same and the writer is still me but with a new enthusiasm.

Do visit my website and shower your love as you have always done.

Looking forward to hear from you.

Do check out my latest posts –

Janmashtami Festival Celebrations in India’s Small Cities

When we were kids Janmashtami festival celebrations was an event of hyper excitement and enthusiasm. Jhanki decoration ideas, planning, material collection and execution began days in ahead. Door to door fund collection and daily practice for the cultural program was our top priority. Ah! Gone are the days of such elementariness and excitement.

Well, this year I was invited to a Janmashtami festival celebrations organized by Uttarkashi Police and it brought back such nostalgic. The simplicity, youth involvement and reverence in Janamashtmi festival celebration as seen here can only be found in a small city.

 

Tranquebar, a Dutch town near Chennai

Neha, my best friend came to Chennai to visit us. She is the only friend who  dared to come and meet us atleast once in our place of posting, be it far flung remote area of Arunachal Pradesh and getting bitten by a weird insect at midnight or the hip and happening Chandigarh, The city beautifulor the terror stricken Kaluchak area in Jammu. This time in Chennai it was all about beaches andmasti.

The itinerary for the Chennai visit included beach hopping; relishing South Indian food and a must do visit to Pondicherry. But Neha was not an easy one to please and she demanded more, she wanted to explore more.  She sat for hours on Google researching and then theatrically declared;”Let’s go to Tranquebar”

Eh? Tranquebar (I gave an unconvinced expression)

Neha assertively enunciated;” Tranquebar is a Dutch town near Chennai”.

On Neha’s conviction and my initial hesitation we set out for Tranquebar

Trekking in Uttarakhand To Shikar Varnavat

I never thought I will complete this trek. It rained heavily the night before and trekking in Uttarakhand rains is no joke though it has its own charm. The trek was a walk through the swampy dense forest and then up the straight mountain at 8000 feet. The expected reward on completing the trek was meeting a Sanyasi who has been living at Shikhar Varnavat since 18 years and surreal view of the mountains.

Uttarkashi, a district town in Uttarakhand has many good treks. Infact you can just climb any mountain or walk the offbeat route and you are bound to explore something fascinating. On a bright Sunday morning I set on my trek to the Shikar Varnavat which is Mahidanda. There are two ways to reach Shikar Varnavat – one the normal path which takes more time and the other through the restricted land of ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) and is more scenic.

Looking forward to having you there.

And, thanks again for reading and appreciating my blogs. Without your initial support I wouldn’t have ventured higher.

 

Perfect meal at Auroville – Can I recreate it?


Scanning through the Borosil website, admiring the crockery – elegant, feminine and classy I was nostalgically reminisces of that perfect meal I had in Auroville and how I wish I could recreate that magical platter and serve it in such Borosil’s beautiful crockery.

In 2010, I was to Auroville to volunteer for Wellpaper, an NGO to help Tsunami hit women rebuild their lives and livelihood using recycled paper. During my stay in Auroville food was a surprise experience – FOOD that was simple yet so international.

I was amazed to see how Aurovillains have taken the concept of healthy and conscious eating to the highest notch.

My roomie and friend, Zara, a petite girl from Spain invited me for dinner. Around 5 pm she came breezing in her second-hand luna, which you can easily rent there and signalled me to hop on. Her English was just manageable so body language is what completed our conversations.

A short distance of 1 kilometre was covered in approximately 30 minutes owing to her bad driving and bumpy road. Frankly, we could have reached earlier if we walked. But time is not a concern when you are in Auroville. It is the experience which matters.

She took me to La Terrace, a restaurant above the famous solar kitchen. We took the winding stairs at the entrance. The roof top restaurant was splendid. Huge terrace, cool evening breeze that swayed the green plants placed in a particular pattern to allow natural air to cool the place. Dim lights and setting sun created a perfect ambience. People were casually sitting, chatting, reading books, playing music or just gazing out in blank. It was peaceful and perfect.

We sat on a table amidst trees and hanging lights overlooking the expanse of Auroville. We didn’t talk; we just sat  absorbing the peace and simple beauty of the place. Zara went up to the counter and placed the order. And within half an hour the food was served.

The Hibiscus Flower Mocktail

There was a slender glass with the edges coated in tiny brown crystals, filled with a pinkish-red juice, a fresh green mint leaf floating atop, half a wedge of lemon thinly sliced with a slight lip cut out and precariously placed on the edge. After admiring the beauty of the presentation, I picked up the glass and placed it under my nose to whiff in the aroma. It smelled so fresh, I took a sip of it and this amazingly refreshing sweet red syrup passing through the brown crystal edge gave it just the required zest and the mint leaf slightly brushing against the lips when you take the gulp wraps up the feel and flavour of this incredible drink. This was a hibiscus flower syrup made of nothing but fresh, organically home-grown hibiscus flowers. The glass edge was coated with a mixture of Himalayan salt (purest, unadulterated form of rock salt) and brown organic fine sugar crystals. When you sip the juice and it passes through the coated edge it adds a zest. I have had experimented with many cocktails and mocktails but something so delightful and simple is avant- garde.

The Meal

Next was a platter something like the one you see in contests like Masterchef. It was not just food; it was a piece of art. I couldn’t resist but take out my camera and click a few pictures.

A transparent rectangular white glass plate with a gold line around the edges gave it the royal and elegant touch.

Mashed Potatoes

A small serving of scumptious freshly mashed potatoes with a whiff of butter sat beautifully on one corner of the platter. The mashed potato was neatly stacked into a roundel; not an inch splattering here or there.

Stir Fried Vegetable Salad

Besides the mashed potato was stir fried vegetable salad. All the veggies cut in exactly equal shape and size. The colour of the veggies spoke volume of its freshness and superior quality. Green beans, red carrots, blood-red beetroot and light green zucchini; all of them par boiled to perfection and lightly tossed with lemon, garlic, sesames seeds, olive oil and salt. A few drops of olive oil that was poured on top slowly began to percolate down creating a small puddle around the veggies. It seemed as if these veggies are still hanging on a hypothetical tree and the first drops of rain have brought them alive. They were happily brimming with colours. It was divine.

Lemon Fish

At the centre of the platter was the highlight dish – the lemon fish seasoned with olive oil and fresh herbs. Two thin layers of fish were rolled in together resembling a dancing couple, staging a perfect cart-wheel. Light yellow and white colour played hide and seek. Glamour was added when the beads of olive oil was slowly dribbling off the fish made and a fresh twig of parsley sitting delicately on top of the dish resembled a pride crown. Fish was simply seductive and being a Bong I just fell in love! Fish was so succulent that is melted the moment it touched the tongue.

Freshly Baked Cheese Bread

Two pieces of freshly baked cheese bread were delicately placed slanting on one side of the fish. The bread was hot and fresh. The tantalizing aroma just got into my nose and I had to dig in.

Walnut-Banana Cake with Chocolate-Coffee Syrup

On a small side plate was a piece of walnut banana cake and a small kettle. It was so small that it couldn’t possibly have tea in it. Curiously, I peered into the kettle and voila’ it was chocolate –coffee sauce to be poured over the cake and devoured. The cake was heavenly.

Sinful gluttony!

How I wish I could recreate that perfect meal in my kitchen. I was imagining serving hibiscus flower mocktail in Borosil’s Endessa glasses and decorating the main course in English Summer Milano plates. The delectable cake in Borosil’s designer bowl set would have added panache to my dinner meal.

 

Well, someday with the help of an expert and motivation of state-of-art borosil glassware can bring my dream come true.

Yes, all food lover will agree with me that good crockery can actually motivate you to cook art and not just food.

This blog is a submission for a contest, My beautiful food, on Indiblogger hosted by the champions of crockery, Borosil.

 

We have heard a lot about dream travels and bucket list but what about dream food and food bucket list. Food that is an integral part of our lives, atleast three times a day and sometime more.

What are your thoughts on this?

Secret Love Story Of Mahabharata


Pandavas were on a 13 year exile owing to their humiliating defeat in the dice game. How I wish Indian cricket team was sent to exile for playing badly and losing a match. Duroyodhan (the Kaurava leader) further complicated their punishment by throwing in another challenge – stay hidden during the 13th year or repeat the 13 years of exile. Imagine the intensity of Mahabharata’s indigenous game of hide and seek. Now that’s what I call a challenge.

The game of dice | Photo Credit: indovacations.net

The game of dice | Photo Credit: indovacations.net

This play takes place during the 13th year of Pandava’s exile. The five brothers Yudhisthira, Bheem, Arjun, Nakul and Sahadeva along with their wife Draupadi had taken refuge under disguise in the kingdom of Virata. Draupadi, the Queen of India and wife of five ‘shoorveers’ was working as a Sairandhri (an expert maid) of Queen Sudeshna.

Characters

The five Pandava brothers

  1. Yudhisthira
  2. Bheem
  3. Arjun
  4. Nakul
  5. Sahadeva
The Pandava Brothers | Photo credit: Wikimedia

The Pandava Brothers | Photo credit: Wikimedia

Draupadi – The Heroine

Sudeshna – The Queen of Virata kingdom

Scene 1

Setting – It is pitch dark, a small lamp is burning and the five Pandava brothers are sitting around it.

Yudhisthira – What’s wrong Nakul? Why did you call an urgent meeting? Is there some kind of an emergency?

Arjun (looking towards Nakul) – Don’t you know how unsafe it is? All five of us can’t be seen together. We are in disguise and God forbid if someone finds us we will be in deep shit.

Bheem (Seemingly irritated) – There better be a good reason Nakul. I can’t afford to stay like this without good food for another 13 years. We must be very- very cautious.

Nakul – Dada, I have a good reason for calling all of you here. Even I realize the risk but it seems in our preparation of the imminent war we have completely forgotten that there is an important occasion after two days.

Arjun (sounds puzzled and tries to recollect) – Important occasion?

Nakul – yes, see the stress in our lives that we have completely forgotten that after two days it is our anniversary. The day you won the fish eye piercing contest and brought Draupadi home.

(Almost unanimously) Oh shit!

Bheem –  We are so erroneously caught in this vicious cycle of war and revenge that we forget love and life.

Yudhisthira – But what can we do except remembering the day in the depth of our hearts and feeling bad about the fact that we can’t give Draupadi any happiness on this day. We are in disguise, don’t have any money and can’t afford to meet at one place to celebrate our anniversary (rubs his forehead, picks a twig and starts making doodles on the ground).

Bheem – (interrupts with a sigh) Ah! It can’t get worse than this to see the Queen of India slogging as a maid. (Pounds his fist in seething anger) I will kill that bastard Duryodhan for bringing this adversity upon us.

Arjun – Shanti, gadadhari Bheem, shanti! The day when we rightfully establish Drapadi as the Queen and she will get what is rightfully hers; is approaching soon.

Everyone falls silent.

Sahadeva – (Jolting everyone out of their thoughts by loudly calling) Dada we must close this meeting asap.

Nakul – True. So, I was saying that anniversary celebration may not be grand but even a small gesture of love and concern is good enough to cheer up Draupadi.

Yudhisthira – And, I guess you already have a plan. But do remember we have just two days, we can’t afford to be seen and we have very less money.

Nakul – Yes dada. We will buy gifts for Draupadi and then go to her room quietly and have a small celebration.

Arjun- Hmm! Sounds good.

Yudhisthira – But how do we buy gifts?

Nakul – Simple! We will shop online on Baggout.com

Bheem – What online shopping? And may I ask how? We don’t even have access to a computer. Have you forgotten Nakul that currently we are mere plebeian servants.

Nakul – It is here that Arjun dada can help.

Arjun (taken by surprise) – Me. How? What?

Nakul- Arre dada you teach dance to King’s daughter Uttara and it is no secret that she is quite fond of you. You just need to lay hands on her laptop for a few hours. We can then place our order online.

Arjun (thinking) – That’s a tough one….

Bheem – Arrey Arjun, you can do it. (Animatedly taking his hands to his heart)For the love of Draupadi you must give your best shot.

Everyone laughs.

Arjun – Ok Ok.

Yudhisthira –Even if we manage to get the laptop and order the gifts how will it reach us in this remote kingdom? And again, we are on a tight budget here.

Nakul – Exactly! That’s why I choose Baggout amidst hordes of online shopping sites. They offer the best discounted deals and express delivery.

Everyone cheers Nakul – Bravo, Bravo

Yudhisthira (smiles) – I am impressed. Let’s get going. All the best Arjun! We shall all meet by that riverside cave tomorrow afternoon. Come very stealthily. No one should see us.

(The lamp goes out and there is sound of footsteps).

Scene 2

Setting – Yudhisthira is sitting on an elevated stone while Bheem, Nakul and Sahadeva are sitting in a semi-circle below. They are impatiently waiting for Arjun.

Bheem – Why hasn’t Arjun reached yet? I hope he managed to get the laptop. That King’s daughter, Uttara is a handful (pounds his fist against the cave wall).

Yudhisthira – Calm down Bheem. Arjun is quite prudent , he must have….

Interrupted by Sahadeva – See Arjun dada is coming.

(Arjun enters the cave and unfolds the huge shawl covering his half of his face. Takes out the laptop and hands it over to Sahadeva) – Here you go.

Yudhisthira – Are you sure nobody was following you?

Arjun –Nothing to worry, dada.

Bheem – C’mon then let’s start. I have to leave pronto for the King has invited some guests for dinner and there is so much work to do in the kitchen.

Nakul – Ok, has everybody thought of what to gift Draupadi? Yudhisthira dada, what is in your wishlist.

Yudhisthira – Draupadi is a wise lady and I wish to give her a book on Philosophy and dharma. I know she is a voracious reader and loves to accumulate knowledge. But will you get such a book on Baggout?

Sahadeva –Definitely! We have Flipkart on Baggout and nobody sells books like they do. (Looking towards Bheem) What are you smiling at, dada?

Bheema – I was thinking of baking a cake for her but I don’t have a baking tray. Will your baggout have something in kitchen supplies?

(Everyone laughs out loud)

Arjun (poking Bheem’s big belly) – Can you ever think anything beyond food?

Bheem (rolling his hand on the stomach) – Hahaha! The route to a woman’s heart goes through the stomach.

Nakul (types and clicks on laptop quickly) – Done. indiatimes shopping on Baggout has a huge sale on Kitchen supplies and your order of baking tray is placed.

Bheem (peering on the laptop) – And you got a heart-shaped mould for me! Wow! Love you bro!

Arjun – I want to give her a pepper spray.

Nakul (looking quizzed) – What?? A pepper spray on your anniversary. Are you mad?

Arjun- I have seen Kichaka, Sudeshna’s brother, troubling Draupadi a lot these days and she can’t raise a loud alarm for the fear of attracting unnecessary attentionShe can use the pepper spray for self-defence.

Bheem – Fantastic idea (claps his hand).

Yudhisthira – What about you Nakul and Sahadeva? What do you want to gift?

Nakul- We have decided to gift her a saree. It’s been quite some time she hasn’t pampered herself by dressing up properly. Jabong and Myntra have such beautiful range of sarees. Which one do you think will suit her best?

(Everyone peer over the laptop and get into a discussion).

Yes. She will surely love this saree in pink and purple.

Sahadeva- Great! Mission accomplished. We brought five gifts and that too within our budget. The gifts will reach us by tomorrow and then we can surprise Draupadi.

Scene 3

Setting -A beautiful, well decorated room with an antique mirror. Draupadi is doing Queen Sudeshna’s hair.

Queen – Why do you look so sad, Draupadi?

Draupadi – Nothing, rani sahiba. Just like that.

Queen – Oh! Don’t hide from me. Tell me the truth.

Draupadi – Rani sahiba, today is my anniversary and my husband is not around. This makes me a little sad and nostalgic.

Queen – I can understand your pain and a feeling of loneliness. Why don’t you take a day off? (She takes out a gold ring and hands it to Draupadi). Here, take this and go buy yourself something nice from the market.

Draupadi (a little reluctant)- No No rani sahiba….

Queen – Take it. It is a gift. Now smile and go. Enjoy your day.

Scene 4

Setting – Draupadi’s room. It is a small room with a neatly done bed, a small painting and a flower vase.

Draupadi (talking to the photo of her five husbands) – Time is testing us dear husbands. All of you are so near yet you seem to be so far.

Enter Yudhisthira, Bheem, Arjun, Nakul and Sahadeva holding  gifts wrapped in shinning papers.

They call out her name softly – Draupadi

Draupadi (turns) I don’t believe my eyes (surprised).

(Draupadi runs towards them with tears in her eyes) I was missing you so much. I can’t bear the pain of separation anymore.

Yudhisthira (holds her and helps her sit) Today is a very happy day Draupadi. Let’s forget all our pains and sorrows for a while and immerse ourselves in love and happiness. (wipes tears off her cheeks)

Sahadeva – And to cheer you up see what Bheem dada has brought ( removes a piece of cloth over a tray), a Cake!

Everyone cheers and they cut the cake together.

Then they give their gifts to Draupadi.

Draupadi – How did you guys managed to get such lovely gifts? And here I was thinking you have forgotten our anniversary. So stupid of me!

Brothers look at each other and smile.

Arjuna begins to sing:

Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!

Curtain falls slowly.

*This plays talks about an imaginative episode in Mahabharata. This post is written for a blogging contest organized by online shopping website Baggout.

A big thanks to Baggout for giving bloggers an opportunity and a platform to let our creative juices flow. A special mention for one of their employee, Monika Jain who relentlessly kept sending reminder mails to motivate a lazy writer like me.

The poem is English translation of Kalidasa’s collection of Sanskrit poems.

Gallery

My Smelly Encounter


Things change when you are pregnant, pleasant becomes unpleasant and unpleasant becomes unbearable.

I was in my first trimester which is worst known for nausea, almost anything and everything can make you nauseous. To add to my woes was a good friend and office colleague.

Let’s nickname her Chamcham, a Bengali sweet for she was short, round and a sweet natured person but with one bigggg problem – BAD BODY ODOUR, the sweaty smell.

Every day she would come and give me a big, tight good morning hug and my much controlled nausea would decide to go berserk. Chamcham sat next to me in meetings and all I could do was to fake restlessness and stand up. She would draw her chair close to my seat to gossip and I couldn’t concentrate on gossip anymore (though I totally love gossiping) and counted every minute of her stay with animated smile and sips of lemonade (helps with pregnancy nausea).

Then one fine day I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to do something about it. I loved her and wanted to help her as well.

During lunch break and casual conversation I started talking about a deodorant and how I found the smell refreshing and pleasant, praying meanwhile that she takes the hint. But as my bad luck would have it pat came the reply, “ Arre baba, I don’t use deodorants. I read somewhere that they are really bad for your skin. It makes the skin dark and itchy”. I tried to debate but all in vain. She seemed quite adamant. And I failed.

It was getting difficult by each passing day. She was a very good and caring friend. I couldn’t have hurt her feelings by bluntly telling her. This would embarrass her. Never again would our relation be the same. Nevertheless, I had to do something to save her and save myself.

After hours of thinking finally, Eureka! I found the perfect solution.

I called up the best spa in the town and told the Manager about my problem. I asked her to invite Chamcham for a free spa session citing a random lucky draw for this generosity.

The Manager decided to arrange for a spa session followed by a hot water jacuzzi bath. Thereafter they would introduce her to some scented body lotions and perfumes and give away a few of each as a free gift hamper to initiate her. They would make her feel good about herself and use some medical lingua crap to press upon the sweating problem. The plan sounded perfect.

All this was to be pre paid by me.

Well, as planned she received a telephone call. I timed the call and ensured that she was sitting beside me when the call comes.

After the call ended, I said “Whose call was it? Are you getting something free?”

Chamcham sounded a little sceptical; “Ya, they were asking me to come for free spa session. They said my name came in a lucky draw”.

I had to sound over enthusiastic. Wow! That is so cool. Go then, what are you thinking? Oh how I wish I could go for such a session and that too free. Are you mad? Call them and fix a day and time”.

She gave it one hard thought and eventually the magic word FREE worked its charm.

She agreed to go.

I was anxiously waiting for the Monday for she was supposed to go for the spa session on Sunday.

Viola! She looked so refreshed and smelled good. She entered my cabin and gave me a big tight hug and said Thank You.

“What happened?” I faked ignorance. You look and smell so different. “Did you meet a man in the spa?” I teased.

“Thanks for pushing me to go, dear”, Chamcham said. It was such a lovely experience and the hot water bath was totally refreshing. And you know what they helped me understand my body. I have a syndrome called excessive sweating. Though this is common but I must take good care of myself otherwise it might end up in disgusting skin problems.

“Oh! Accha”, I listened with great interest trying to hide I did it smile all the while.

From now on I am going to take hot water bath every day. I got Racold geyser installed yesterday itself. I got so many free gifts. The best thing about the spa session was it helped me realize that I can feel so good with just a little care. From now no more ‘sleeping beauty’ concept! We both laughed out loud.

I heaved a sigh of relief. I was happy that she was reborn and had decided to make a fresh start.

 

Note:

This blog is purely fiction. I had very good-looking and expensive perfume smelling co-workers.

This blog is an entry for a contest on Indiblogger, What’s that smell boss? for Racold  Thermo Ltd.

 

Recreating Our Love story in Malyasia


This is a story of our 25th anniversary. I am Vikas aka Viks, who got married to his college best friend turned girlfriend Akansha, lovingly nicknamed as Aks after a long drawn struggle with our parents. We had a good life, kuch khatti kuch meethi, an imperfectly perfect life.

This year on our 25th anniversary I decided to play it large and take Aks on our second honeymoon;  ek accha sa second honeymoon toh banta hai yaar!

glasses-213156_640

Google was searched aggressively, suggestions from friends poured in, relatives suggested names of international destinations using it as a tool to show-off. Thailand topped the list of suggestions. Nothing seemed to work out.

Akansha always dreamed of a perfect honeymoon but back then I wasn’t earning enough and to add to our woes we were still hiding away from parents who weren’t quite ready to accept us.

But today, I would go to any length to make her dream come true.

I wanted it to be a unique experience. Something that was close to our hearts.

Aha! What better than to relive our love story in a larger than life style and surprise Akansha who always complained that she misses her boyfriend and hates the boring husband avatar.

So to bring back the nostalgia and to recreate our magical moments of love I chose Malaysia, the destination that has all the ingredients to make a perfect honeymoon.

Experience 1- The Malaysian Rainforest

Beginning of our friendship

It was our college trip to Jim Corbett National Park where the story began and friendship kindled. We were in the same group and had to complete an adventure treasure hunt. She wanted to win at any cost and I just knew I had to be with her. We were perfectly paired. Though we came second in the race but we won the match of friendship.

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Malaysian rainforest in Sabah and Sarawak reminded Akansha of that night. Adventure trails in the midst of wilderness, mountain hikes holding hands, exploring limestone caves and cruising through the twists and turns of River Rajang to be greeted by varieties of snakes, crocodiles, birds and fish. Finally, we finished our day with the stay in the longhouse right in the middle of dense Malaysian rainforest.

That night we made a promise to be best friends always and thereafter husband-wife, parents and grandparents.

Experience 2 – Malaysian Street Food

Blooming of love in college canteen

Needless to say being a Bong she is a complete foodie and college canteen was our adda. We would sit together for hours with our group and chatter away endlessly. She was the magnet of our group and I, the silent observer. It was here that my love for her started to bloom. I loved the way she smiled, the way she flicked her long tresses behind her specs and titled her head back to laugh, the way she would mischievously lower her voice and hunch forward to plan a prank, the way she would eat a samosa and find pleasure in asking for extra chutney. I knew I was in love.

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So next stop had to be the food haven of Malaysia – the street food of Penang was ideal to remind her of those teenage love days. Nyonya, a peculiar dish that made her contort her face, followed by realization of spice and then eureka she kind of liked it. It’s like when you eat golgappa for the first time! Hakka noodles, hot curry laksa, rice paper wrapped fish, prawns in spicy curry…the items on that street were endless.

We ate, we chatted, and we got nostalgic.

We made a promise to have fun all the way through life because seriousness is a bimari. No matter how tough the times might get ahead we will sit back, relax, find ways to enjoy and get back to fighting life again with renewed energy.

Experience 3 – Top of the world at Petronas Twin Towers

Proposing at the top of library building

One fine day after five long years of friendship and quietly loving her all through, I decided to propose. It was a tough call. If it goes wrong then it will be a case of misunderstanding friendship for love leading to loss of friendship as well. But I loved her and somehow my gut feeling said she loved me too. It had been since past 2 years I was practicing how to propose and calculating the risks. Enough!

We were at a party and it was around 11ish in the night. I was a bit drunk and decided agar aaj nahi toh kabhie nahi (If not today then never will it happen).  I asked her to come with me. I held her hand and took her to the college central library, the tallest building in the premise. Dodged the security guard and climbed up the 9 floors to reach the top. I was sweating profusely not because I was climbing stairs; I used to be stick thin back then. I guess she sensed I was upto something and followed me without any resistance. Right at the top of the building, I looked into her eyes, took a deep breath, closed my eyes and said; I love you. Silence.

I was shit scared to open my eyes. I could feel some warm air around my ears. She whispered, open your eyes because I want to tell you that I love you too (sounds straight from 3 idiots movie but where do you think these guys get ideas from? Real life stories). I felt like I was on the top of the world.

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So today at the real top of the world, Petronas Twin Towers I propose her once again. This time with my eyes open.

I promised never to stop loving her.

Experience 4- Malaysian Beaches

A namesake honeymoon

We decided to marry but our parents were just not upto it. Caste, the main impediment! In fact now I have come to believe that it was more of parents not accepting that we challenge their dominance and didn’t involve them in our life’s biggest decision that pisses them off and caste is just another excuse to garb it.

Well, we were not taking it lying down. Resistance began to build and Akansha’s father threatened to break us off by calling her home on pretext of illness and locking her up. This was the last straw.

I made a plan and managed to run away with her. We stayed at a friend’s place for 3 days while the papers for court marriage were arranged. We got married and went to Digha for a quick honeymoon which was just namesake as she wasn’t happy from inside. She was reminded of all the hypocrisies. She idolized her dad and that was broken.

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So this time on our 25th anniversary I wanted to give her honeymoon back. We went to the best of Malaysian beaches, enjoyed sunset together, lazed on the beach and walked holding hands as if we were newly married.

Experience 5 – Malaysian Spa

Give me a break, I need to relax

Akansha is a sucker for spa. It was her dream to enjoy a full day at the most exotic spa. Amidst hectic office and household chores schedules she would often blast off saying, “ I need a break, I need a message”.

Today I will give her the world’s best and most exotic spa experience in Malaysia. She deserves this pampering. All through her life she has taken care of the family with a smile on her face. I can never repay that but can surely  make a small gesture to say, Thank you.

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We spent a complete day at a spa. It was a  private beach, under open skies, we sat on a Jacuzzi bath tub with a glass of champagne in our hands. We knew; we so deserve this.

Thus, Malaysia made my love story come true. It made me feel young again and relive my love story that started 25 years before.

She was very happy. Her eyes were full of love and life. Her dream had come true and that too in such a beautiful way. Akansha laughed and said, “Promise me that we will come back to Malaysia on our 50th anniversary”.

How I wish I can keep this promise. Tears welled up in my eyes.

Akansha said then let’s make one last promise to live every moment like it is our last for we never know when it will actually be our last.

Akansha was stage 4 cancer patient.

 

 

Note: This story is a work of fiction written for a contest on Blogadda – Malaysia jao

Images were taken from creative commons Google.