Tuesday, December 30, 2014

10 Reasons why I'd love to visit Melbourne

When asked most would describe their dream destination country as France, Italy, Switzerland, Thailand, Maldives and so on. However, your truly is different, and dreams to go to Australia at the very least once in her lifetime.

Perhaps luck or whatever you may call it. I was waiting for a chance to talk about Australia and there you go; I spot this post on IndiBlogger which asks 'What's your reason for falling in love with Melbourne, the most livable city in the world?' No sooner than I read it, I started jumping up and down, in my head.

Now let me tell you 10 reasons why I'd love to visit Melbourne, Australia

  1.  I would love to witness The 12 Apostles via a helicopter at sunrise and sunset as they change colour from dark and foreboding in shadow to a brilliant sandy yellow under the full sun
    2. Who wouldn't want to break away from the populous concrete jungle that we live in and break free to visit the lush green Dandenong ranges. From the blooms of the National Rhododendron Gardens to the whispering forests in the Dandenong Ranges National Park.

      3. Rising and floating in the skies as early as sunshine in a hot air balloon ride in Yarra Valley overlooking the wine fields before sampling the local produce and the sparkling nectar for breakfast later. Later a camp in Kinglake National park is on the cards.

      4. Walking along the Great ocean walk - the hiker’s equivalent of the world famous Great Ocean Drive- 102 km starting from Apollo bay and ending at Princetown. Will not forget to visit the Cape Otway Lightstation - the oldest, surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia.

      5. Like a true Melburnian indulging in the good food in the city's iconic eating joints

      6. MasterChef Australia is returning to Melbourne! 

      7. Breath in the scenic view of the Melbourne via the extended glass box on Eureka Skydeck 88. Just the thought of being suspended in mid air -in 'The Edge' at 285 metres in the Southern Hemisphere with nothing but glass to hold you -is simply exhilarating! Look ma, no floor! 

      8. Who leaves Melbourne without visiting a beach. The Loch and Gorge Beach.

      9. Watching penguins and other critters at Phillip island on a boat cruise

      10. Witness the ICC Cricket World cup 2015 game at the World famous Melbourne Cricket Ground the MCG. Woohaah!
        Now that you've read my thoughts, I have a #contest for you:

        1. Just tell me "Which of these places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why?"
        2. Drop your answers in the comments section of this post.
        3. The best answer will be chosen by me on every valid entry will win a gift voucher! 
        4. Contest is open to all Indian residents.
        5. The contest on my blog ends on 11.59pm 3rd Jan 2015.

        Friday, October 31, 2014

        Book Review: God is a Gamer

        Hello there! Festive October is nearly over, and before we move on to chilly November, I thought I'll quickly squeeze in a book review.

        Book: 'God is a Gamer'
        Author: Ravi Subramanian
        Publisher: Penguin
        Pages: 337 pages
        Genre: Thriller

        This is my first book review of the book by the renowned Ravi Subramanian. 'God is a Gamer' is his latest offering after the best selling series of books namely 'If God Was a Banker', 'Bankster'. If you jump at the mention of gaming, bitcoins, cyber laws, the deep dark mysteries of the internet as a whole, this book is for you and you are bound to like it.

        Book cover: Bitcoin and the White House can be clearly understood. Nice artwork.

        Here is the short brief, without giving away the climax of course.
        The action takes place in current times in various major cities across the world. Cities like Washington DC, New York, Mumbai, Goa are featured in the story. A gaming company run by Aditya is struggling to find ground among competition. Varun, Aditya's estranged son  suddenly emerges to help his dad in his business. LTTE spreads terror in the US and FBI is called to the action. An serial ATM heist ensures FBI agents are led on a wild goose chase. Suspected murders of key people – a US Senator, high prolific banker and more - take place; some linked to each other, some not. However, there is more that meets the eye in the world of the internet – it's dark side. Finding the tiniest bread crumb of evidence in the depths of the dark web is nothing short of finding a needle in the proverbial haystack.

        The plot thickens with twists and turns at all the right places. The characters of the story come together beautifully in one seamless plot. The author has left no stone unturned to make it a page-turner. Made me even Google some of the facts and my, was I surprised !

        Pluses: The author has well researched some facts and events and woven it beautifully into the plot. Some events coinciding with recent events that happened of late.

        Minus: Initally, the pace of the story is slow but picks up later. Also, introduction of many characters at a time can make it difficult to keep track. Few chapters before the end, you can somewhat accurately guess the mastermind behind the killings, but perhaps not the reason behind it. The reason behind has a backstory.

        Would I recommend it? Yes ! Must read.

        Overall this is a pacy thriller with all the elements of romantic past, scandal, revenge, terror, drugs, sex and money. God is a Gamer is an engaging story with page turning short chapters. Would love to also read and review the other books in the series written. Mr. Ravi Subramanian, you've got a fan !

        This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

        Thursday, October 9, 2014

        Missing (Part 22)

        This is the twenty-second part of the short story that I am writing in collaboration with other bloggers on Blogadda. Our team is 'Tete-a-ten'. Read the previous parts here: onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnine,teneleventwelvethirteenfourteenfifteen sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteentwenty and twenty one

        Cloud 9 Hospital


        Veda replaced the receiver and looking at Dr. Sneha Phadnis said, “Madam, Doctor says he’ll schedule an appointment for tomo-“

         “Look here now, I need to talk to him!” Dr Sneha Phadnis cut her short and spoke loudly but with desperation in her voice.

        “Madam, madam please have a seat. I’ll be right back” said Veda as she left the reception, trying to get help from another nurse to handle the situation.

        Reluctantly, Dr. Sneha sat in one of the sofas near the counter. She pondered her next step to trace Aryan Ahuja. Within moments, another nurse walked in balancing stack full of folders and files in both hands.
        She placed some files on the counter and said, “These are Dr. Ahuja’s cases. File it inside.” She was too busy to pay attention at the unmanned reception counter.

        Dr. Sneha noticed the nurse leaving the files on the counter. She stared at the files and wondered if they have Aryan Ahuja’s contact details. She felt tempted to see those files and carefully unlatched one of them. On the top corner of the letterhead she noticed the Cloud 9 hospital address and below it she saw another address. ‘Aryan Ahuja must be running a consultation clinic from another address as well.’ She thought and smiled when she spotted the apartment number in the address. ‘What Luck!’ It was indeed Dr Aryan Ahuja’s home address.

        Acting swiftly, she plopped out her phone and clicked a photo of the address. Wasting no more time, she placed the file back onto the counter and rushed out. The fatigue of the traveling, the drama was now replaced with excitement and anxiousness. There was a spring in every step she took as she dashed out of the hospital. Beaming with new sense of excitement she hailed a cab and headed off to complete what was missing in her life.


        Meanwhile the receptionist returned to her desk to find Dr Sneha Phadnis gone.

        “Madam? Madam!” She looked around the place, inside the consultation room, the corridor- but Dr Sneha was nowhere to be found. “Oh God” exclaimed a panicked Veda.


        Seated in the cab, Dr. Sneha was now lost in thought. She reminisced her long dates with Aryan back in medical school. There they perched in the campus canteen sipping on cinnamon tea and chatted endlessly which would melt away all their daily fatigue. She still remembered his smile, one that reached his eyes. His eyes, sparkling with intellect. Despite the hectic med school schedule, they talked, and when they did, hours seemed like minutes.

        'Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel? 

        Why, now let me die,  for I have lived long enough’

        Missing 22

        She had blushed to a shade of crimson as he quoted Shakespeare to her looking into her eyes, after they had made love on one such night. Days passed and nights passed. And then came one such day where he quoted Shakespeare again:

        ‘This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,

        May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.’

        Aryan had quoted as they parted ways after medical school. And how Sneha's eyes showed exasperation when he said he was not ready to commit and that she was not ready to ask him to. It seemed like a professional decision, her choosing Psychiatry while him choosing Paediatrics as a specialization. But back then Sneha did not realize how bitter the end would seem in the following years.

        Over the years she had learned to live with the tinge of regret of what could have been with the love of her life.  She pondered over the fact of him getting married and settling down to someone else. There was always a chance that he wouldn't. What would his reaction be? How would he look? Why didn't he try to find her? Oh, never did a day go by she wished he would tap on her shoulder and say-

        “Madam! Madam, aapka building aa gaya!”

        The cab driver’s yell shook Dr Sneha from her reverie and she was brought back to her present. She paid the cab fare and stepped outside. She composed herself and became conscious of how she was dressed. She adjusted her kurta, smoothed her hair and checked her compact mirror for her mascara. Pressing her flame like bindi in place on her forehead with one hand she pressed 9 with the other and Beethoven’s Für Elise filled the elevator. Seconds later, she was going to be outside Dr. Aryan Ahuja’s residence.

        Read Part 23 HERE

        My team and I are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us!

        Tuesday, September 30, 2014

        The Social Media Week 2014 (#SMWMumbai) Experience

        Imagine being in the same room as the trend makers, influencers, twitterati, bloggerati of the Indian Social Media universe. Thanks to BlogAdda.com I grabbed this opportunity with open arms at the Social Media Week 2014 in Mumbai. The Social Media Week (#SMWMumbai) was held simultaneously in 11 cities, 9 countries, 1000 events and 3000 speakers. It was indeed surreal meeting and greeting the faces behind the twitter handles you follow. And even better to be greeting, rubbing shoulders with bloggers like oneself and the bloggerati you once wished to have a tete-a-tete with.
        Novotel Juhu view

         The SMWMumbai was held from 22nd to 26th September 2014 this time at Novotel, Juhu. Let me tell you the hotel location is just fabulous with the waters of Juhu beach beckoning you to come and take a stroll on the sands. Having missed the first 3 days, I made sure I wouldn't miss the days to come. However, due to holiday constraints, I could only attend the session on Thursday, 25th September.
        There were 4 stages where events were taking place simultaneously. The Pioneer stage, Social Community stage, the Learning stage and the Media & Entertainment stage.

        Novotel Juhu breakfast

        I reached the venue well before time and was greeted with sumptuous breakfast buffet. Hot steaming mug of cappuchino and soft mini donuts and cinnamon puffs beckoned me. I then proceeded towards the Social Community stage to attend Ansoo Gupta's presentation on 'Using Social Media to Enhance your travel'. Ansoo Gupta, COO Pinstorm presented the topic effortlessly highlighting when to rely on social media for deals/discounts and when to turn it off. The presentation simply enchanted me only with the sole reason : how to travel solo. It was also awesome meeting Rutavi Mehta of Photokatha who was hosting the session. A group photograph and we went on to the next session.


        The following session was Speed Blogging and Tweetathon hosted and conducted by Yellow Seed Solutions. Yours truly was super excited and geared up with laptop in tow. Wi-fi connected and all set for the fingers tapping away against the laptop's keyboard and cellphone's touchscreen. 6 minutes to blog and 1 minute to tweet impromptu on topics ranging from 'Digi Soul', 'Alia' and 'Curves and kisses' to 'Mai ye shaadi nahi karoongi' and 'Ye vada pav sir mera hai'. It was nice to see your tweets being retweeted and favourited in real time. First half of the day ended so with a break for lunch with time to network. 

        Well fed and watered I headed to the Learning Stage where live workshops or Masterclass were taking place. Joined halfway into the Masterclass for 'DoubleClick Digital Marketing Secrets: More Insights, Better Decision Making' conducted by Ram Mohan Pai, Lead- Digital Operations Quality, Accenture – Media Technology operations for Google. Then stayed on for the Masterclass hosted and conducted by Digital Vidya on 'Social Media for Lead Generation and Sales'. Digital Vidya's Pradeep Chopra elucidated on the topic with good case studies on lead generation via various social media platforms. He described his own experience through examples of Hippo's engagement on Twitter, damage control and customer service by Ola Cabs. He cited other examples of usage of QR code on Guinness' Cup (pure genius idea) and tweet to order idea by Faaso's. 
        During tea/ coffee break, I then headed to the concluding minutes of Ashwath Ganesh's presentation on 'Life after Facebook Zero' – a whitepaper published by Social@OglivyDuring tea/ coffee break, I then headed to the concluding minutes of Ashwath Ganesh's presentation on 'Life after Facebook Zero' – a whitepaper published by Social@Oglivy.
        Next up was 'Face Off with Anaggh Desai – So you think you can be an Influencer'. This was a panel discussion with social media heavyweights like Deepali Nair -CMO Club Mahindra Holidays, Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal – Blogger and Founder APB Cookstudio, Kiran Manral – Author of Once upon a crush, Rohan Joshi Writer and Stand-up comedian, Dharmesh Gandhi – Content Strategist for many Star channels and Jaydeep Shetty – Founder, Mineral. This session was good rollicking fun breaking the formal presentation code. Anaggh Desai moderated this fun discussion.

        The panel discussion ended a few minutes past 5, and I was spoiled for choice between attending the subsequent sessions 'Stand-Up Comedy in India: Online Viral, Offline Housefull” featuring stand-up comedians Ashish Shakya, Tanmay Bhat, Aditi Mittal and Rohan Joshi versus Fireside Chat with Rajkumar Hirani versus 'Social Bollywood- Where Hollywood meets Bollywood' featuring Malini Agarwal Blogger-in-Chief of MissMalini.com versus Jeff Bullas' MasterClass on 'The 8 steps to becoming a World Class Blogger for Business and Revenue' on a G+ hangout from Australia. Such multiple action packed sessions lined up for the evening. I wish I could attend ALL of them. Decisions, decisions.
        I chose Jeff Bullas' MasterClass session for the genuine and simple learnings from the master himself. Pure 90 minutes of enriching session on how blogging can be leveraged for business with clear goals and focus.

        Overall the entire event was conducted smoothly and synchronously and it was a delight to be a part of the Social Media Week 2014 in Mumbai.  

        Friday, September 26, 2014

        Missing (Part 13)

        This is the thirteenth part of the short story that I am writing in collaboration with other bloggers on Blogadda. Our team is 'Tete-a-ten'. You can read the previous parts here: onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineteneleven, and twelve.

        Read part 12 here

        Part 13
        As Fanus and Dr Sneha entered Cyrus' room, he stood motionless for a while as he threw his gaze across the room. That room was where his Cyrus, his love, spent most of his time.
        Dr Sneha and Fanus frantically searched across the room. Fanus booted Cyrus' laptop. It prompted a password. Fanus entered random numbers, alphabets but no could not get access. They upturned the pillows, bed covers, rummaged through the drawers, looked under Cyrus' bed- but found nothing. Cyrus' parents rushed upstairs to the cacophony created by the frantic search. “Arre! Dikra! “ yelled Mr Daruwalla. “What are you doing?” As they reached upstairs, Mrs Daruwalla expression read shock. She was very particular of keeping things in its place and neat and clean as possible. “Uncle, Aunty we need to search for something important!” Fanus tried to explain her calmly but instead raised his voice. After which he realised he should have refrained himself.
        “Don't talk to my wife like that dikra!! First you barge in my home and then you talk to my wife this way” There was a anger and sadness in his tone.
        Defeated Mr Daruwalla said “Come dear, our prayers can only get our Cryus back.” They left the room with anxiety on Mr Daruwalla's face.
        After a good hour searching Cyrus' room and yielding nothing, Fanus and Dr. Sneha are about to give up hope in finding a clue; any clue understanding where Cryus disappeared. Dr.Sneha reclines on the beanbag in corner of the room and looks at Amitabh Bachchan poster near the study table.
        The poster was from Amitabh Bachchan's Deewar movie. The iconic 1975 bollywood movie had Amitabh striking a pose in a red shirt and blue trousers.
        Fanus followed Dr Sneha's gaze and now too was staring at the poster.
        Deewar. Such a popular ground breaking movie it is.”
        I've seen it once.” said Dr Sneha Phadnis who prefered Rajesh Khanna's romatic movies over Amitabh's action packed ones.
        I really liked the movie. Each and every bollywood movie for that matter. 3 and a half hours of pure masala magic. And this poster is what I gifted to Cyrus. He absolutely loved this movie. Typical angry young man Amitabh.”
        It was no secret Fanus and Cyrus shared their love for movies.
        This was a blockbuster. I think it won a Filmfare. Their dialogue “Mere paas Maa hai” was iconic.” reminisced Dr Sneha Phadnis.
        She continued “Cyrus loved Amitabh's movies. He once went on talking about dearth of good actors in Bollywood. He was of the opinion that Amitabh Bachchan was vastly under utilized as an actor.”
        'Wait a minute” It dawned upon her. “Cyrus had this blog on movies, right?” she said rhetorically as she got up from the bean bag chair.
        Why Yes!” Fanus smacked himself as to why it didnt occur to him earlier. “Cyrus even maintained a blog called 'MovieRus by Cyrus' which was about movie reviews. Cyrus would blog about how he would remake the same movies differently.
        Fanus rushed and grabbed his phone and logged onto google.com. He google MovieRus by Cyrus and clicked the link.
        He continued “It was a brilliant idea. He was a big fan of Bachchan. Why, he even had a special section dedicated for only Amitabh movies.” Fanus clicked on the tab for 'BigB : Real Badshaah of Bollywood'
        Fanus and Dr. Sneha Phadnis skimmed through the blog. Cyrus had maintained it immaculately and designed it with bright colours akin to a Bollywood movie poster. Cryus' passion for the starry life of Bollywood displayed in the way he talked about movies. He was passionate about it. His passion for bollywood dripped with every word he spoke on BigB's movies. He had a well researched opinion on Bollywood. Why, he even had penned original storylines for movies. Though those were not to be seen by all on the blog, but locked in his head. One would wonder why he took up the profession of law – in stark contrast to the colourful, glamourous and glitzy world of Bollywood.
        Dr. Sneha had earlier pondered on the thought. Cyrus' should've gone to Film school instead of Law School.
        Cyrus once told me how boring law school was. He really wanted to go to film school and learn filmmaking. Once revealed his dream. His dream was, one day, to direct Amitabh in his own film. Director Cyrus Daruwalla.” she smiled as she said it.
        There it was. The clue. Staring right at them. Dr Sneha said triumphantly “Could he have gone to Mumbai to meet Amitabh Bachchan?”
        Fanus and Dr. Sneha look at each other, the triumphant look on their faces now fading to an anxious one. Mumbai. The city that never sleeps. Mayanagari.
        Now Fanus is worried. Searching Cyrus in Delhi, is easier than searching him in Mumbai. An unknown city with unknown people.
        OK. If Cyrus is in Mumbai. “ gulped Fanus nervously. “How in the hell would we find him?” Fanus was starting to lose it. He was losing his composure and was now on the brink of paniking.
        Sensing Fanus' tone, Dr Sneha spoke calmly “We will find Cyrus. We will. First, let's face it we need tell people Cyrus is lost. And we need help. So if they find anything about Cyrus they need to contact us as soon as possible.”
        With a new sense of determination, Fanus said “ Let's put it up on social networking sites. Facebook, Twitter, his blog. Everywhere.”
        Without wasting precious moments, Fanus logs onto his Facebook profile and posts a status : with Cyrus' picture 'MISSING – Cyrus Daruwalla. Fair, wears black rimmed spectacles, 5'11'' Usually dressed in a Jeans and T-Shirt. PLEASE help me find my friend. If you have any info please contact Fanus 91XXXXXXXX '
        He then logs onto Twitter. Twitter did not give you the liberty to write to your heart's content. Fanus condensed the post to a 160 character tweet and linked the post to his facebook post.
        Pls RT. My frnd is MISSING. #HELP bit.ly/fb.cyrus”
        He posted the same Facebook post message on Cyrus' blog.
        He hoped and prayed for it to be discovered by someone who could give them some critical information on Cyrus.

        Arre bhai zara dekh ke chalo!” yelled a guy in a crowded market in Delhi.
        Cyrus was taken aback by the voice. He then realised he was wandering aimlessly in the streets of Delhi. Delhi, the city he belonged to was now knowingly unknown.
        He flags down an autorickshaw and mumbles “Dilli railway station chalo”. The ride was no longer than twenty minutes amidst heavy vehicular traffic.
        Delhi's Nizamuddin station is packed at any time of the day. Cyrus reaches the Nizamuddin station with thoughts of fulfilling his dream to direct Amitabh.
        As luck may have it, he hears the announcement for a Mumbai bound train ready to leave any minute. He rushed to the platform and boards the train in unreserved compartment of the train. Just making it in time as the train pulls away, Cryus' is reminded of the train scene of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.

        Read part 14 here

        Tuesday, September 23, 2014

        What YOU missed at the BigRock Indiblogger WordUp meet

        I cannot believe it has already been 5 years since my first ever Indiblogger meet. I can distinctively remember it was 15th August 2009. This makes me feel old now. Back then blogger meets were attended primarily focused around
        1. Free food
        2. Freebies
        3. As an excuse to nagging parents forcing you to attend your uncle's nephew's neighbour's son's mundan ceremony. Yours truly was no different and subsequently added to the list was Free Wi-fi. (I sense techies nodding their heads in agreement.)

        So this was my probably my 5th blogger meet since I started blogging and I've been on and off. The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Lewis Hamilton meet is the last I attended and so was looking forward to this meet. Location: The famous resto-pub The Blue Frog at Lower Parel and time of meet : 9 am. 9 am? Who goes to a fun blogger meet at 9 am?! However I went and the early getting up bit was made up with a rocking concert by the IndiBlogger band. Who would've thought a rock concert at 10ish in the morning! Awesomesauce.

        Now the real fact this meet was more awesome – was I was gonna meet bloggers like me. The only difference was they had made a cool living by blogging. Back in 2008, when literally everyone had started blogging -yours truly included- one never imagined it to be a full time profession. Why, even the mere thought was incredulous. And then the boom of social media happened and suddenly Content was King. The meet started with IndiBlogger's Anoop as the emcee followed by Vinit Goenka delivering the keynote peppered with diplomacy.
        Speaking next was Amit Agarwal from labnol.org, who was blogging since 2004, like the Jurassic era of blogs advocated using wordpress.org over blogger.com. His thoughts made a lot of sense as wordpress was more search engine friendly and had more analytics features. He also spoke about never giving away content for the lure of freebies.
        Next up was the literal YouthKiAwaaz Anshul Tewari who relentless struggle and belief in his socially aware idea catapulted during the Arab spring of 2011. Cannot believe he does not have a single ad placed on his website.
        Varun Krishnan, the founder of FoneArena.com gave an insight on monetization on blogging. He spoke about how important it is keep focus on the content while the money will follow.
        Chai with Lakshmi Rebecca can give a KJo a run for his Koffee. Her tete-a-tete along with Sumit Singh of Cleartrip, was refreshing. Lakshmi advised hiring your own help for editing content for video blogging while Sumit gave due importance to maintaining a clean, easy to navigate and responsive template for Pcs, Tablets and mobile devices. Sensible. Harsh Agarwal of shoutmeloud.com highlighted more technical aspects of blogging with primary focus on SEO. Who knew search engines can be picky!
        Uber cool Sherezade Shroff described her dislike for writing and love for fashion. She reminisced her experience when a brand approached her to review facewashes and rejected them outright because of her affinity to Medimix soap. Story ninja and Tea sommelier Snighda Manchanda narrated a sweet story of how she discovered her liking for Tasting Teas and weaving wonderful stories. 'Ideas come and go, Stories Stay' So true. Also, I truly liked her 7 basic story idea plots. CS Krishna highlighted their run in with the law for turning up the heat with Mrs Gandhi and Mr Singh video. Their video got a million likes, but the Sec 66A IT Act was breathing down their necks.

        Overall the day long meet was supercharged and even better that it ended on time with a bang. Like literally, headbanging.

        Wednesday, September 17, 2014

        Missing (Part 8)

        This is part Eight of a story that I am writing in collaboration with some very talented writers on Blogadda's Game of Blogs. Our team name is 'Tete-a-ten'.

        Read the previous parts of the story here:Missing-Part 1

        Missing-Part 2
        Missing-Part 3
        Missing-Part 4
        Missing-Part 5
        Missing-Part 6
        Missing-Part 7

        Still groggy from his sleep Cyrus looked at Roohi and then turned his gaze towards the people surrounding her. He wore his spectacles and was still adjusting his eyes to the bright light that shone from the warehouse ceiling when he clearly noticed the small mob of people. Looking at the mob gathered shook Cyrus back to his senses as Roohi tugged him further towards them. 
        He looked at the woman in front and the man right behind her and realized they are Roohi's parents. A multitude of thoughts ran in Cyrus' head. Why are they all here? What are they thinking? Did they think he'll harm Roohi? Would they hurt him? Should he run? Where would he run?  He noticed various expressions were across their faces – anger, disgust, nervousness, concern. This made Cyrus nervous. Very nervous and uneasy. Beads of sweat had now formed across his forehead. He felt weak in his knees, his hand now slipped from Roohi's grip and without realising his body was now swaying, about to give away. His head spun. Closing his eyes he held his head in his hands and winced. In less than ten seconds Cyrus Daruwala fainted at the Ballard estate warehouse floor.

        *THUDDDD *
        “He's fainted !” Tara exclaimed as she and Shekhar took a few steps back sensing the impact of the fall.
        “Cyrus! Cryus!” screamed Roohi and looked at her mother. “What happened to Cyrus mom?” Roohi seemed genuinely concerned with tears now welling up in her eyes.
        Tara scooped Roohi closer and away from Cyrus and towards one from their friends' group. Shekhar and his friend moved closer to Cyrus lying on the floor. Cautiously they approached him and saw his face clearly now. His big thick rimmed spectacles were now skewed across his fair skinned face. He looks in his early twenties Shekhar thought. Isn't he too young to be a kidnapper? he further thought. Without wasting any more time, Shekhar animatedly exchanged glances with his friend near the door and signaled to call and inform the police.
        Roohi realised what was happening and was now crying inconsolably and was making repeated efforts to approach Cyrus.
        “Now, Now Roohi dear. Please! Sweetheart Please!“ Tara tried to hug her tight and comfort her, but in vain. 
        She wiped the tears from Roohi's face but Roohi howled “I warned you Papa! You don't listen to me! I told you he would get scared if we all went together! I told you !!”
        Tara saw her husband approaching a fainted Cyrus.
        “Be careful now, Shekhar” voiced a concerned Tara who was now trying to console Roohi. Now Shekhar searched Cyrus' pockets and hands for any concealed knives, drugs, firearms. He checked the area around him. He got Cyrus' wallet and a note: “Mission Roohi : Do it today!”
        Shekhar's head spun. He looked closely at the note, read it and reread it again.
        What was this note? Why was Roohi's name over this? Why Roohi?
        From a distance Shekhar could hear the screech of tyres coming to a sudden halt. Doors snapped to a close and footsteps echoed in the night. The eerie silence across the warehouse was broken as the doors opened with Inspector P N Kamble entering with his troop of constables.
        “Where is he? Kuthe aahes toh? ” said P N Kamble in chaste Marathi.
        He marched in and signalled his constables to the usual drill.
        “Ek minute saheb. Thamba. Please wait! ” said a soft but commanding voice that came from behind the Inspector.
        Little did everyone notice Dr. Sneha Phadnis walking in and said “Yes, that's him...he was missing..."
        Stars dance in the moonlit skies,
        Figures prance around and around
        Dreams glow like fireflies,
        Moving from lost to found.

        Somewhere in the mischievous mind,
        Images float on a horses hind,
        In the gardens of endless surprise,
        Laughing nights and the happy sunrise.

        Figures roam in the darkness of shadows
        Hope hangs within the gallows,
        Moving clouds and singing rain
        Butterflies on the ramp again.

        Farther than the running man
        Snowcapped mountains on the ceiling fan,
        Dreams drift into a sleepy thatch,
        Reality closes a delicate latch,

        Angels sing and fairy's tell,
        Hundred stories in a sea shell,
        Bells ring and time to fly,
        Roohi's eyes wave goodbye.


        Read Part 9  Missing (Part 9)

        “Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

        (P.S. Feature Poem Credit: www.gyanban.com)

        Monday, September 8, 2014

        Book Review: 60 Minutes

        ‘The mightier they are, harder they fall’ goes the adage. Truly, the powers of the corporate world with the rapid ascent and rapider descent are definitely not for the faint hearted. Read on as I write my review on the new thriller authored by Upendra Namburi : 60 Minutes.

        This is not my first review of Upendra Namburi’s books. I reviewed his first book again through BlogAdda’s Book Review Program which you can read here
        It’s has been two years since I reviewed 31 and now the next in the triumvirate series is 60 minutes. Hope to review the third one too: 8 hours due in 2015. (Mr Namburi, autographed copy next time!) So obviously I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a certain level of excitement and expectation out of this book and further reviewing it Ican assure you, is not a let-down.

        Right, getting down to the brass tacks. The author has created the main three characters to be strong, determined and powerful to the level of self-destruction. The story revolves around Agastya and Sailesh the CMOs of two MNCs that are at loggerheads to gain market supremacy for the launch of their respective products. One is a ambitious, suave and brash maverick while the other is a brilliant, calculative and experienced veteran of the high profile corporate world. How their commitment to propel their respective companies to the helm of market supremacy while deeply discounting on the matters of their personal lives is what the plot is about. Maithili is the third strong and ambitious character who is determined to create a permanent turbulence in the lives of not one, but many.

        The design of the main story is woven into 26 chapters with each chapter alternating between events unfolding every five minutes and what delves deeper into the past of the lives of the three main protagonists. The 361 pages are written in lucidly and has a nice flow to it. Even to novices like myself on the aspects of stock markets and the terms are explained in a simply but descriptively. Moreover, it throws some light over the inner workings and dealings of the corporate world with political associations, the media glare, treachery by inner intelligence team and sabotage by to arch rivals.

        Thrilling and pacy, I was hooked to the book right till the end, always trying to figure out how the story is going to come to an end. Will all hell break loose? What would you do when you have to choose between the devil and the deep sea? 60 minutes -promises you the adrenaline rush of the play in the bourses, the emotional upswings and romantic escapades of the protagonists and the power of the high and mighty while battling for survival in the corporate jungle-has the right mix of ingredients for a corporate thriller.

        This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

        Wednesday, August 27, 2014

        Making my House a Home

        Everyone loves to be their own interior designer. When you're at you're creative best, you can visualize and design your own elements which can lift the look and feel of the place you live. Especially when it's you're comfort zone, your home.

        Makemyhome.com has this exciting challenge to decorate your home with any three of their items from their catalogue whilst sticking to a theme.

        Personally, my aim is to declutter and as much as possible retain the living spaces. Hence I've selected my individualistic style as 'Contemporary'

        The three items I've chosen and why are as below:

        Living room, as the name depicts is the place where you 'live' most of the day or so as to say, carry out various activities. Hence the lighting needs to be impeccable during the day as well as night time.

        This painting I've chosen as my first of the three items would liven up the blank and empty wall above the sofa set in my living room. It's what I'd like me or people entering my home to take notice of. Not only will it brighten the walls up, but also a touch of a red in a painting brings out the creativity in any person.

        I always wanted to use eco friendly earthern lamps rather than electric ones. The only time I use earthern lamps is during Diwali. So why not have one all throughout the year that will also immerse the surroundings with the fragrance of lavender oils. I will place this oil burner in the favourite corner of my home. At night, one would not require the lights to be switched on and one could just bask in its luminescence and eerie glow that it would cast not only in the entire hall.

        Frankly I'm not really a morning person but if I do get up early in the morning, there's nothing like glancing at nature. This mural poster is bright and lively with warm colours having birds fluttering around amidst tree branches. Just the kind of thing I want to get inspired to start my day ahead. I would place this right above my dining table.

        So, there you go, those are my ideas to brighten up my house 

        This post is a part of Makemyhome activity at BlogAdda.com

        Monday, August 25, 2014

        Book Review: Private India

        Now here's a book those mystery-thriller novel lovers would love to read. It's a fast paced, page turner one would really like not to put down. The 447 pager Private India book by James Patterson and Ashwin Sanghi  is now mine to review. Read on...

        First I must confess, I am neither a Ashwin Sanghi loyalist nor a James Patterson fan. However, I love mystery or detective novels. Be it Agatha Christie's Poirot Series, Miss Marple series, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series- the classics. So thanks to BlogAdda, I landed with a signed copy (yaay!) of the Private India book. The 'Private' series by James Patterson is a very popular series and die hard Patterson fans will swear by how captivating each book is and Private India is no less. The main protagonist is an ex-marine Jack Morgan and the mystery solving is up to him. Private is now in India and is based in Mumbai. This book describes the city's hustle bustle well, especially the strategic and popular locations like Colaba, The Tower of Silence, Shakti Mills, Chowpatty, Kamathipura,  ...woven well into the storyline and plot

        Do not want to give too much away, but here are some of the deets. The storyline revolves around a series of murders happening across the length and breadth of Mumbai. Victims of these murders are seemingly unconnected. Santosh Wagh, the chief of Private India, is contacted by Jack Morgan to crack the serial murder case. Santosh has his own personal tragedy -revealed later in further chapters- and lives with a limp with a cane (which reminds me of Dr. House). Santosh's co-workers Nisha, Mubeen and Hari help him to crack the case open and their characters too have a significant role to play in the plot. Up to date techniques are depicted in order to solve the case. The writer builds the story in short, well woven chapters with every chapter having a cliffhanger at the end so much so you will want to turn the page.

        What I really like about the book is that it has a well connect to Mumbai's history and geography and can be easily understood by anyone well acquainted with the city's current events. Involving the characters of an underworld gangster, head of a begging mafia, a terrorist outfit, a godman, etc. makes the story more exciting and interesting to read. Moreover the best part for me was how the secret is unveiled and the connections are made.
        Little more details could have been used to describe the motive of the murderer behind the crimes, however this can be overlooked by the fact that there are monologues in between chapters that sneak a peek of what goes on in the murderer's mind.

        Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who would love a good, quick read in the thriller, mystery, detective category. Go grab your copy and uncover the mystery!

        This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

        Sunday, August 3, 2014


        This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 48; the forty-eighth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

        No matter how, no matter why, its never too late to apologise.

        Sorry for the time I broke your glasses while jumping on the sofa.
        Sorry for stealing your makeup and putting the blame on bro
        Sorry for sneaking out behind your back to my bestie's place
        Sorry for yelling at you when you gave me a peck on the cheek in front of my friends
        Sorry for lying to you about bunking college when I was at a friend's place
        Sorry for ruining your favourite white embroidered kurta while ironing it.
        Sorry for not listening to you when you had warned me to carry an umbrella
        Sorry for getting drenched in the rains against your warning and then getting the flu
        Sorry for making you worry when I didn't answer your 7 missed calls
        Sorry for not calling you back even when I was free from work
        Sorry for making you stay up late when I returned home well past midnight from my fresher's party
        Sorry for snapping at you when you called me in the middle of a meeting just to ask me if I was OK
        Sorry for making fun of the way you pronounce certain words
        Sorry for being stubborn countless times for no reason at all
        Sorry for making you cry on my wedding day
        Sorry for making you miss me
        Sorry for not loving you enough

        It wont suffice, this apology of mine. For I might not COMPLETELY realise how important you are to me. Maybe only the time when I become a MOTHER.

        Thanks Mom, for everything. I love you!

        The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 05

        Monday, July 21, 2014

        Back from the (almost) Dead

        Yes. I am back.
        After (almost) two years of silence on this blog, I am back, for good. Am I? Yes, I am.
        As I look at my dashboard, I see "Last Published: Oct 27, 2012". Damn! Its been (almost) 2 years already? I really cannot recollect the last time I typed a post, or what the title of my last post was!
        The only recollection of the existence of my blog were the spam comments that used to get delivered directly to my inbox. Yes, spammers, thank you for once.

        It was as if someone hit the fast-forward button on my life, the last (almost) two years zipped by with many personal and professional milestones. Somebody hit the breaks! is what I think now as I look back.

        And as you have your plate full with work, marriage, responsibilities, etc. you look around and ponder- 'Hey, I used to write, pour my thoughts into a repository for the unknown to read. What happened to that? Where did all the free time go?' -and then stop staring into space and push it to the back of your mind while waiting for the next local train home.

        Now, however or whenever I mean to post my thoughts here, I will.

        After all, I'll write. No matter after how long, but in the words of Mr. Schwarzenegger..

        "I'LL BEE BACKK !"
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