Saturday, December 26, 2015

Book Review : The Bestseller She Wrote

I had read excerpts of this latest book online.It had made me curious.I have read his earlier books & liked them.So I was all the more inclined to read this book which is a romantic thriller .And when I saw that BlogAdda had put it for book review,I applied.And I was immediately given the book to review ! 

41OMsGXJHML._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg (340×499)

The book is published by Westland Ltd. The cover pages are in a lovely pastel yellow shade. It shows two faces  a man wearing glasses & a woman .Their faces are partly covered by an open book which has its pages in flapping position.The cover page states love, betrayl & redemption.It mentions that the book is soon going to be a film.

It has 392 pages. It is neatly divided into 84 chapters.Some chapters are as small as two pages.This spurred me on to read faster & faster . The author has dedicated this book to his readers .

Ravi Subramanian has written seven books so far .Al his earlier books were on banking.The readers have lapped up all his books.He has been awarded the Golden Quill Reader's Choice award & the Economist Crossword Book Award, He won the Crossword Book Award two years in continuum that is in 2013 & 2014.This latest book "The Bestseller She Wrote  "is a thriller with romance added to the thrill.

"The Bestseller She Wrote " is the tale of Aditya Kapoor who is a banker as also a successful author who pens thrillers.He seems to have the best of everything.His lovely wife Maya has stood by him through thick & thin.He has a doting son ,Aryan.His job is superb & his writing career is rising up & up.In walks, a wannabe writer ,Shreya Kaushik. And Aditya strays. Aditya 's wife learns about this.Their family life falls apart.Aditya feels repentant.Or is he just feigning it ? Is Shreya the one who seduced Aditya or was it Aditya who couldn't control his senses.Shreya is obsessive about writing a book.Does she debut as an author ? How is her book received ? What happens to Aditya's family life ? What about his job ? And what about his future as a writer  ? All are at stake.Is he able to redeem all or any of them ? Who is the mastermind ? And most importantly why ? The answers to all these queries makes for an interesting reading.

The tale is superbly written.The reader is able to read faster as chapters are short .The author keeps the plot taut.That adds to the mystery.The author takes many digs at the roving eyes of males .And  pays tribute to women who give up all to be with their families & are still taken for granted.

The characters are elated that movies will be made on the books.And yet, sometimes, there is a feeling that Bollywood should have left the book alone ! 

The  protagonist 's life seems to be obviously inspired from a real life author whose books have made him famous .He is even depicted as considering judging a show on the idiot box.The similarities cannot be missed !

An engrossing read indeed !

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Book Blitz of Roomies / Foodies

Check out the Contest: Try the recipe in the excerpt and click pictures (with or without you). Share it on social media tagging us and win a free copy of the book!
Roomies / Foodies 
Lakshmi Ashwin and Meghana Chaudhary Joshi

The year is 2001. Two young Indian girls arrive in the U.S. for the first time, to attend graduate school and be room-mates. One’s a non-cook. The other’s kitchen skills are strictly basic. As luck would have it, both are consummate foodies. And it’s not just advanced Molecular Biology they’ll come to tackle—the daily challenge is to feed their stomachs…and souls…on a thinner-than-spaghetti budget! Part memoir, part cook- book, Roomies/Foodies compiles the experiments and culinary adventures of Lux and Meg as they stick to their resolve of eating only non-boring food! Written in a slick, hip, conversational style, this well-organized handbook bubbles with anecdotes, tips, tricks, cheater’s methods and over 60 lip-smacking recipes. Spanning an easy-to moderate spectrum of skills, Meg and Lux’s “Eureka moments” in their own kitchen will help spare YOU some painful trial and error in yours!


One day, exhausted, I fell asleep on the couch in the graduate student lounge at Roswell Park, waiting for Lux. Since we were on the same research campus, we commuted and ran errands together. In those early days, we were joined at the hip.
 It was a lot to deal with, this new life, with its sudden and crushing study load, having to walk or take public transport everywhere (I missed my Kinetic Safari) and we were glad of each other’s company. We started taking advantage of the subway and other modes of public transport to explore our town, checking out affordable food joints. One such journey introduced us to crépes. I tried making them at home and discovered a really simple breakfast item in the process.

Serves 4


Rice flour or refined flour (maida)                   1½ cups
Milk                                                                        1 cup
Egg                                                                          1
Slab of chocolate                                                     1
Sugar                                                                      3 tsp

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes for each crepe
Mix the flour with milk and sugar and beat in the egg.
Melt butter on a tava* or a flat non-stick pan on medium heat.
Pour the flour mixture evenly in a thin layer across the bottom of the pan, coating it completely.
Grate the bar of chocolate over the open side of the crepe, in a sufficient quantity to cover the top, while the other side is still cooking.
Gently lift up a side of the crepe to see if it is done. It should appear slightly browned and lift easily without tearing.
Fold the crepe in half over itself. The chocolate should melt and hold the 2 edges together. Remove and serve with a melting dot of butter on top.

Tip: For an interesting Cheese-n-Chocolate variation, sprinkle some grated cheese or small globs of cheese after you have sprinkled the grated chocolate. If you have no time for the grated chocolate step, make just the plain crepe and spread Nutella or jam, or cheese spread for an even quicker meal 


Meghana Chaudhary Joshi (Meg) has worked in clinical research in the US, run her own socio-environmental venture and is currently Practice Manager with Mirai Health. She is a fitness freak who loves to travel and explore varied cuisines as much as the outdoors. Meg lives in Pune with her husband, daughter, and Golden Retriever. 

Lakshmi Ramachandran, a.k.a Lux, graduated from SUNY Buffalo with a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2006. She is presently a science writer at the National University of Singapore. Besides Science, she is passionate about food and loves to cook. She lives in Singapore with her husband and two children. 


Contacts them @
Twitter: @RoomiesFoodies

Twitter: @BloodyGoodBook


Try the recipe in the excerpt and click pictures (with or without you). Share it on social media tagging us and win a free copy of the book!

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Thursday, December 3, 2015


Intoleranace & tolerance

This post was published on Counter Currents on 2nd December,2015

The dictionary meaning of Intolerance  is unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one's own.Other words which convey the same meaning as intolerance are bigotry, dogmatism,fanaticism,narrow mindedness, small mindedness, etc.

The media is rife with intolerance of various people towards each other.Authors, artists returning awards in protest of intolerance & others intolerant towards those who return awards & speak their minds out.Vegetarians intolerant of  non vegetarians, artists intolerant of non artists, government intolerant of public , police intolerant of accused ( not criminals ,mind you ),& so on.The reverse is also true...there are religious bigots, atheist bigots, vegan bigots, & of course the government bigots...perhaps the worst of the lot, as they wield a lot of power, with which, they flay all.

And amidst all this , a news item Sabarimala board wants machine that scans menstruating women." was lost in all this cacophony of bigotry.And to think of it, that in this country of ours, men have made the whole society intolerant of women. And not one celebrity , political party nor member protests. Because , in such a country which thrives on patriarchy  ,such small  talk  insulting females is the norm .And of course, when were women respected anyway .So why bother ? 

And many have been telling that we are a very tolerant society & nation.I agree ...women in this nation have been very tolerant.Intolerance is the inherent ,inborn ,trait of men .Nearly half the population ( this is being so optimistic, despite the fact, that the sex ratio is screwed against females ) is tolerant & has been tolerant of the intolerent male population. Men are intolerant of an equal female population .That's how & why , systemic killing of the girl foetuses began 

Since ancient times, women have been discriminated against.And as time passed , newer & horrendous concepts were adopted to subjugate women.Widows were frowned upon & women were told to commit sati.  Widowers could marry & no man ever burnt on the funeral pyre of his wife even if, his many wives died . he was always married off to younger women, one after the other.Polygamy was the norm.Girls & women were forbidden from going to school .Slowly but surely, things changed because women along with certain few men got intolerant of the plight of women .Women have come a long way since those times & yet some conditions remain unchanged .Some factors in fact, have worsened as time went by.

Hence, nowadays, there are problems of female foeticide, stalking , molestation ,rapes,dowry killing ,domestic violence etal.And as if these are not enough to stress women & girls, religious institutions discriminate against females all the more.

Sabarimala temple upped the ante against women when it said that it will allow women to enter the temple once it installs a machine which will screen menstruating women ! This is not an isolated instance.In almost all places of worship, mensurating females are disallowed entry.This applies even to those places , wherein the presiding diety is a Goddess ! What an irony ! It is said, that when a woman or girl is menstruating ,she is impure. And yet , we visit temples to purify our minds .In other words, is impurity of a female / s so large that it overwhelms the purity of the Almighty  ? If yes, then why is God called Almighty ? Even in homes, menstruating women & girls are disallowed near the place of worship .In other words, when women gets pregnant ,she is pure as she stops bleeding.Hence, women need to be perpetually pregnant to maintain purity when they are in menstruating age.Before & after that age , they need not get pregnant to remain pure. This would add to the bludgeoning population of our Bharat.Is the Government listening in, to all this rabid talk about impurity & purity talk by religious heads ? 

Men have made these rules  that menstruating females be disallowed in temples to shame women.Because ,this is one of the ways, men can try to get even with women who are far ,far superior to men in all aspects. This is so very evident now, that women are scaling new heights & breaking the glass ceilings in all fields.

The Indian patriarchal society   is intolerant of menstruating women & yet, tolerant of sexual trafficking of women & girls ( some are as young as 8-10 years ). Devdasis have been a regular feature of many temples in India wherein the virginity of the girls forced into becoming a devdaasi was played around by the male management of the temple.And did the "PURE " men refrain from sex when the devdaasi women were "IMPURE " ? The answer is obvious .In fact ,devdaasi is  always 'Pure " because she is abused by men who are PURE.In fact , men would have us believe, that they impart purity to ( impure women since  all women bleed & are hence impure )  women by having sex with women as purity is  transmittable from men to women ! In fact , this is what men are upto, when they rape ! 

It is time, women become intolerant to all & any forms of abuse .#HappyToBleed is the response to the Sabarimala dictat. On 25th of November, 2015, India Gate was lit up in Orange colour to celebrate the International Day of Elimination of Violence against women.We as women, need to get increasingly intolerant of patriarchal attitudes of men & society in general.And men, will have to get increasingly tolerant .Only then , will our India  become  an equitable world. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Book Blitz : Beyond the Milky Way by Anthal

Beyond The Milky Way 
Are We Alone? 
Are we alone? 

Three astronauts go to the space in search of a planet that ‘probably’ has water—one of the basic elements for the humanity to survive. Do they find it? What else do they find? They encounter something—something strange—beyond their wildest of imagination, and their ‘mission-to-explore’ becomes ‘mission-to-survive’. 

They experience something that makes them question their beliefs. It brings into focus all the things they had taken for granted—everything they had seen and learned—doesn’t seem to apply any longer. 

Something happens along the way that makes them yearn to come back to Earth. After all, home is where the heart is. 

This is not just-another-science-fiction. Rather, it will make you question your own beliefs—may they be scientific, religious, political, or something else. 

In the first installment of the Galaxy series, find out about the strange world they discover. 

Buy @

Come, the aqua race 
as the wells go dry.
 Blurs the human trace, 
and the hour is nigh. 
“T -20 minutes and counting.”
 It was a typical Florida day at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, hot and muggy.
Although it was only 10 o’clock in the morning, people were already sweating. Many folks held umbrellas to cover themselves from the scorching sun. Others were wearing various kinds of hats and caps, and their shirts and tees were wet with sweat. Their armpits—and wherever else their garments touched the skin—were showing dark patches of sweat. Almost everyone was wearing shorts. They didn’t care whether it suited them or not; they just wanted to be comfortable. The combination of sunscreen and sweat made their skins glisten, and sunglasses covered their eyes. A big crowd had gathered to watch the launch live. All sorts of vehicles were haphazardly parked on the flat meadow. Many had climbed on the rooftops of their RVs to get a better view. Some of them with flatbed trucks had brought lawn chairs with attached umbrellas. Families sitting in the chairs were enjoying chilled beverages. Kids were sitting with cans of soda. Every once in a while, some of them would roll their cold cans over their faces to get some temporary relief from the sweltering heat. Clusters of families had spread their picnic blankets across the green grass and were using coolers as anchors. Spreads of snacks were sprawled across a few of them: cookies, chips, fruits, candies, and assortments of soda. Uniformed cops in shorts were riding on cycles among them, making sure that no one had any alcohol. Some adults had their cans of soda in a soda-cozy to keep the beverage cold. The policemen would stop their bikes near the adults, and ask them to take out the cans from the soda-cozy to ensure that they were not beer cans. Little children were playing not far from them, under the watchful eyes of their parents. Some moms were applying sunscreen on their children before letting them play, and some were rubbing it on their husbands’ backs. Some people were sprawled across the grass, tanning in the sun. Others had brought their dogs with them, and their kids were taking the dogs for a walk on leashes. The dogs were wagging their tails with excitement. They would keep their noses close to the ground, sniffing and panting, stopping every now and then, before being pulled forward by their owners. Dozens of TV vans, belonging to various networks, had their satellite dishes extended high atop their roofs, broadcasting live to the world. News reporters, with microphones in their hands, were standing in front of TV cameras with the shuttle framed in the background. They were the most uncomfortable, as they had to wear a jacket in the scorching Florida sun to look professional. The bright camera lights thrown on their faces were not helping either. The moment they would stop talking to the camera, the camera lights would be turned off; they would then sigh in relief, take off their jackets, and start touching up their faces. At the edge of the ground, a tall flagpole bearing a huge United States flag fluttered lazily when the wind blew. Next to it was an enormous digital clock, counting It was a very festive atmosphere, and the air was filled with excitement and anticipation. Every now and then, some folks would glance at the shuttle standing in the distant horizon, with smoke blowing slowly from its base before evaporating. The NASA Test Director had already conducted the final launch team briefings and completed the inertial measurement unit preflight alignments. “T -9 minutes and holding.” “This is the final built-in hold folks,” an announcer on TV said, sounding as if he knew what was going on, but in actuality, he was merely reading from a script given to him by NASA. “This is what it means—there are several things happening. The final launch window is determined, the flight recorders are activated, and the final ‘go/no-go’ launch polls are conducted by NASA Test Director, Mission Management Team, and the launch director.” He was explaining it quite well on TV. Audiences across the world were watching this launch intently. It was a highly publicized launch. After the first manned mission to the moon, Apollo 11, this was the most viewed mission. “This is the last launch to take place before NASA changes its direction. The Last One, as it is dubbed. We know that there is water on this unknown planet, and where there is water, there is life. Without water, no life has ever sustained. We all know how dangerously low we are on our water resources. Sure, we have plenty of seawater. But it has salt, and is not meant for human consumption. A few companies have tried to develop technology to convert it into fresh water by spending billions of dollars on desalination plants. However, it’s way too expensive and not practical. The resources are dwindling, and famine is widespread. This is it folks, it’s now or never. Colonizing this unknown planet is our only option,” he said, trying to sound dramatic. “And by water, I mean liquid water. Water can be in other states too: frozen solid or evaporated into a gas. Take Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. We have discovered a water-rich plume venting out from its south polar region. It shoots geyser-like jets of water vapor that are about one hundred miles long. Think of it as a volcano, but instead of lava, it’s pouring out steam, a cryovolcanic eruption. So, even though we know it has water, life is not possible for us humans—primitive microbial life may be possible—but not for us. Saturn has 26 million times the water on Earth; yes, you heard it right folks, 26 million. Liquid water is just one of the components required for us to live. There are two more components that a planet needs to have: the right atmosphere and temperature. The planet cannot be too hot or too cold, only just right. Our neighbor, Venus, is around thirty percent closer to the sun and eight hundred degrees hotter. Then there is the atmosphere; it should have the right amount of oxygen to breathe. Of course, making a huge air-conditioned capsule can control these two to a certain degree. But not water. We need natural, liquid water that a planet can produce. Mars is the first planet we have thought of to colonize. And it is natural to look at it first as it is closest to us, only 48 million miles away, a rock’s throw away compared to the astronomical distances from other planets. But as we get to know more about it, we realize how harsh life can be. Here are a few things that encourage us to find out if living on Mars is possible. It has much lower gravity, so you will weigh much less. There is evidence of flowing, liquid water, but it’s all gone now. It has turned from a warmer, wetter planet into a cold, dry one. There have been talks about terraforming, a process to make the planet habitable like Earth. But then you are talking about confining yourself in a large capsule. You can forget about going on treks, scaling the heights of mountains, scuba diving, taking nature walks, and many other things that we take for granted on our Earth. Basically, you won’t be able to open the door and go outside Why am I telling you all this? You can get this from the Internet. There is a reason. Bear with me for a moment. We know our galaxy is about 13.2 billion years old. And our solar system is about 4.5 billion years old. So Earth is around 4.5 billion years old. The sun’s age is estimated to be around 12 billion years. So we are almost half way there. All these are enormous numbers, you’ll say, and I agree. But let’s juxtapose these numbers with our existence. Our ancestors have only existed for 6 million years. And we, the modern form of humans, have been around for only 200,000 years. And civilization, as we know it, is only 6,000 years old. See where I am going with it? Although the life of our solar system is enormous, we have been around for only a fraction of that time. And the resources are already dwindling. Look around you. He paused for a moment to let this sink in. We have to find a way to prolong our existence. I have to repeat the famous words of Neil Armstrong, ‘one small leap for man, one giant leap for mankind,’ because they still hold true. We have come a long way in our understanding of the vast universe, but our basic needs remain the same. We have advanced technologically, but have we evolved? Have we adapted? Are we using fewer resources? Studies after studies tell us that we are not. An average person needs, no, uses more resources. Where do they come from? In this digital age, we all consume more. Use more batteries for our devices, why? Because we have many more devices now than we had ten years ago. Laptops, phones, games, toys, you name it. We eat more and drink more. In this fast moving world of ours, where information is at our fingertips, we have seen the globe shrinking. In addition to getting news of our neighboring villages and cities, we are getting news from our neighboring countries. We are getting more aware of our world, and it doesn’t look good. We can either ignore all the information we have, or we can do something about it. Our population is growing, and our resources are shrinking. It’s not political any more. It’s our survival,” he paused, his voice lowered, almost becoming a hush. “There won’t be any politicians if no one survives.” He stayed silent for a while, knowing that silence on TV was a no-no. But his journalistic instincts told him that it was the right thing to do. He was passionate about this cause, and he had the ear of the world. However, he had to strike the right balance between captivating his audience and depressing them. He didn’t want to be a doomsayer. But at the same time, he wanted to convey the urgency. “This planet, simply called P2, was recently discovered by NASA. Technically, this so called—The Last One—is a misnomer as there can be more flights by NASA. If we find that life is sustainable on this planet, we will have more flights to P2,” he boomed, changing his voice to a deeper baritone. “How far is P2? Farther than the farthest planet in our solar system. In addition to the regular, orange-colored rocket boosters, the space shuttle is also fitted with two giant SEP arms. SEP stands for Solar Electric Propulsion. They will unfurl once the shuttle has reached outer space, after which the shuttle will generate its own energy, drawing it from the sun. You have seen these kinds of shuttles used for traveling to the International Space Station, or for adding a solar panel to a satellite. But this one has been modified to carry more scientific instruments. Once on P2, they will be used extensively to analyze soil samples, rock samples, and other materials that have been collected. After this, NASA is going to divert its resources to explore other things. Congress has decided to cut the budget for such programs. They feel that the funds should be used in more fruitful missions. Is it a wise move? You decide.” The ground was separated by water, and beyond that, the Space Shuttle. Lots of people were peering through their binoculars to feel closer to the launch than they actually were. “T -9 minutes and counting,” the voice boomed on the PA. The automatic ground launch sequencer was started. “We have less than ten minutes to witness a historical moment. Gather everyone around the TV to see this for the last time. It’s been over forty-five years since we landed the first man on the moon. We have learned many things about our space since then,” said the announcer, and then his tone changed. “Let’s all take a moment to consider how tiny we are in the scheme of things. The space is a vast unknown. We want to know as much as we can. The space program is about to change directions in how we gather this information. Whether you agree or not with our government, one thing is for sure—we are the most advanced and powerful nation in the space program. Many of you question the wisdom in dismantling something so hugely successful. So let’s not forget the perks of such programs. NASA has benefited mankind so much. Innumerable inventions exist that have come out of NASA. I can go on and on praising NASA, but let’s get back to what’s happening now.” On the ground where people were waiting patiently for the launch, a few ice cream trucks were selling candies, ice creams, bottled water, sodas, and much more. Little children had gathered around the trucks. “Do you have beer?” asked one man, hoping that the vendor did. “No sir,” replied the vendor, shaking his head vigorously. “We are not allowed to sell beer, and you are not allowed to drink it in a public place. If the cops see you drinking one, they’ll ticket you.” “I know that,” the man glared at him. “Oh,” the vendor replied sheepishly. “Sorry.” “Give me an ice cream,” the man said, shaking his head in disappointment. “What flavor?” “Chocolate,” he replied, and then he added, “in a cone.” The man handed him a ten-dollar bill, and the vendor returned the change. “T -7 minutes and 30 seconds,” the voice on the PA continued. The access arm of the orbiter was slowly retracted. It looked

About the Author

The author was born and raised in Mumbai, India. He came to the US in 1989 to New York. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.



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