With each passing minutes, we are nearing the end of the happening year 2016 and moving towards the beginning of a new dawn of 2017 with lots of new hopes and dreams. Before I move any inch further I want to look back to the days in my 2016 calender.
My kids reading club,Raipur Little minds book reading club, celebrated the republic day event in the evening at Jaistambh Chowk. The crowds cheered the young kids on their performance. It was our first performance on stage and the kids did their best.
It is the birthday month of my hubby and B’s birthday was celebrated with friends for the first time. B is very modest when it comes to celebrating his birthday since he believes in giving and not ever taking. But when friends persuaded him he count not say no to them. It was…
“I was never a book reader, just how we have acquired taste, reading became an accidental hobby when I used to travel for almost an hour in Mumbai locals”
– Kaushal Mahesh Gupta
In the last “Chat n Coffee” session of the year 2016 we have with us one of the top book reviewers in Goodreads and an eminent book blogger Kaushal Mahesh Gupta whose blog Errors and Kaushal has been home to many books both from newbie and renowned authors.
Today he is going to share with us his journey and tips as a book reviewer.
Tell us about yourself
I like to call myself a biodegradable human, who doesn’t believe in being pollution in some other human’s life. My bread & butter, when not on a diet, comes from being a digital marketing professional. I am an I.T graduate, like many others who followed the herd and like many others; I am a Cricket & Bollywood fan too.
What is your take on books/ movies/music? Any favorites?
I am of the opinion that every single book, every single movie and every single piece of music has something valuable that can add to our lives. They are not only a form of entertainment, but also a form of realization. A book can take you on a journey that you may never be able to be a part in your entire life. A movie can make you love and live the characters on screen, understand them and the humans, I never leave my logic and brain behind while watching a movie. Music, what do I tell! In my viewpoint they are best pill against a headache. It would be difficult to name only a few favourites, but biographies and autobiographies are my favourite in books, “Anurag Kashyap” is one of my favourite genres and I like every form of music, but I am trying to understand EDM.
Given a chance what one thing would you like to change in your life?
Nothing. If I would have had anything different in my life, maybe I would not have been answering this set of questions here. Whatever happens, happens for good. It’s only one life that we have, so we should live it the way it comes, unless one believes in reincarnation.
You have been reviewing books. What kind of books you usually love to read?
Yes, I am reviewing books actively for more than a year now, but I think I write more about the book instead of being a tough critic and getting into the nitty-gritty of the story. I prefer to read non-fiction, autobiographies and mythological fiction. Also, if you have a look at Errors And Kaushal, my book review blog, you will notice that I have read a lot of debut Indian authors and that’s because we should promote their work unlike popular authors who get backed by the publishing house in their marketing and advertisement efforts.
Indian book bloggers have made a very important presence in the publishing industry. Did you always wanted to be one of them?
Yes, the book review bloggers are making the presence felt now and that’s all because of the ease of creating a blog/website and then reaching out to the blog readers. No, I never wanted to be a book blogger, it happened by chance when I first wrote about my experience of reading Raghu Ram’s debut Book, Raghu picked that up and shared with his followers and this kind of got me excited.
P.S: I was never a book reader, just how we have acquired taste, reading became an accidental hobby when I used to travel for almost an hour in Mumbai locals, and I had nothing to do.
What was your feeling when you were first approached by an author or publisher as a book reviewer?
When I was first approached by an author, I had written only about two books on my blog. I was amazed at this incident of being asked to write about a book by the author and also excited to receive the book directly from the author.
As a book reviewer, what are the things that you consider while writing a review ?
I personally believe that no story is a bad story, and should be read for a perspective on living the characters and their lives. I look at the overall attempt of the writer in keeping me engaged with the story at some level or the other. It is all about the narration and the choice of words for me, and if the book is with minimum predictability than the author has won the reader in me.
What is your opinion on rating a book on a scale of five?
Ideally, the book should not be rated because for us it’s just another book, but for the author it was almost everything. Today, with the kind of book review mechanism and portals that have come up, the ratings have become an integral part of the review system. I rate them only when it is mandatory on platforms like Goodreads or Amazon, but I don’t rate a book on my book review blog, Errors And Kaushal.
Reviewing a book is a very critical task since it helps a reader to decide whether to read the particular book or not. Many book lovers are nowadays turning into book reviewers. What message would you like to give them?
Yes, it’s a very critical task because it is almost the make or break for the book. My message to fellow book bloggers would be, “We should appreciate the story and writing more than the author or publication house it comes from as there are many self published authors who are writing great stuff but are away from the readers world because they don’t have enough marketing or advertising budgets. If possible, do help them in creating awareness about their debut books.”
With so many books publishing every day, what do you expect from an author or a publisher regarding reviewing books?
I expect them to be more organized and when I say more organized, what I mean is that they should handpick book bloggers who write more often about the genre of their book. They should be open to honest reviews and should not ask for a positive review right away, because the book goes out to the book blogger for free. Remember a book blogger also puts in equal efforts to read the book and then write about it so no unjust expectations like the review should be made live within 3 days, no negative comment, mandatory post on Amazon, etc… As most of the book bloggers themselves understand the importance of a review on Goodreads and E-Com sites.
And now in the end, how can the readers and others contact you.
It is Christmas. And again it is the time when we act as Santa and distribute goodies and chocolates to the unprivileged people in our society. People who cannot think of anything but hope a lot from us. They are the orphans. The small children in a small two room set at the orphanage, Matri Chaya, waiting to get adopted into a family which they can call their own or the mentally destitute women awaiting their last breathe at the Mother Teresa Ashram. I salute the spirit of the caretakers or the nuns who are working day and night taking care of these children of God.
With Sister at the missionary
Some, who are just a day old and some who are bed ridden awaiting the call of the God. We, the Raipur Little Minds Book Reading Club try this one day, on Christmas every year to make them smile…
I hardly talk politics but when something becomes too much unbearable to hear I don’t stop myself. Okay so today, I want to write about demonetization that is bleeding out on news channels 24X7. So since the moment Mr. P.M, Narendra Modi, made his statement on 8th November 2016, ceasing the usage of ₹1000.00 and ₹500.00 notes, the finance turmoil started.
I am a sit at home mother and novelist. My interaction with the financial transaction on daily basis is limited to the greengrocer, milkman, maid, newspaper man, mobiles bill and petty transaction here and there. So, did this decision really affect me. Yes, it did but not in a very big way because I have been using the online banking since long. And moreover limiting my cash transaction a little per day helped me take in the pressure.
However, I am not writing this to talk about my experience…
What forces an innocent girl to become a sex symbol? Her desires? Or cruel fate?
Is a lifetime enough—for avenging a betrayal? How do you hide secrets that never stopped haunting you?
Can vengeance and secrets of your past devastate your present? How can long-buried crimes of yours suddenly raise their head? Can sinning be saving?
Is your spouse your soulmate? What if they never understood your feelings? Can you still live with them?
Lastly, does life give only two options? Live or die? What if there is a third?
In her debut anthology, Rubina Ramesh tries to find answers to these questions that are often from the heart and yet makes the mind ponder over the solution. Or is it the other way round? Either way, Knitted Tales is a bouquet of emotions that is bound to touch both your head and your heart.
Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article. She was about 8 years old at that time. She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona. Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer.
Her other published works include:
‘Home is where Love is’ a short story in the anthology Writings from the Heart. Ed. by Beth Ann Masarik.
‘You Stole My Heart’ and ‘Let me Go’. Short stories as a part of the anthology Long and Short of It by Indireads.
‘Wake Me Up’ as a part of the anthology Marijuana Diaries by Fablery Publishers.
“Cooking was 1 thing I hated most. But I loved when my Mom used to bake our birthday cakes. ” – Aparna Nayak
In the “Chat n Coffee” session we have with us an avid reader, blogger, dotting mother to a special child and an awesome choco baker Aparna Nayak, the founder of
, a homemade chocolates and cake made to order.
Today Aparna is here to share with us her journey from a housewife to a home baker with Chocodisiac.
Tell us about yourself
I am a full time mother of a 12-year old special princess, part-time home baker and chocolatier, book reviewer and blogger. I love to cook and am a true foodie. I like to unwind day’s stress by listening to music or by reading a book or sometimes just curling up on a bean bag n watch some rom-com.
What gift would you prefer on your birthday?
Gift…hmmm….let me think…what gift a lady usually prefers??? I would prefer books, flowers from my loved one… baking goods, perfumes and/or trinkets which every women love…not necessary costly one… or may be on second thoughts I would prefer 1 day off on my birthday n go n bond with nature n get rejuvenated …. J
What is your take on books/ movies/music? Any favorites?
Books are woman’s best friends I believe… they don’t throw tantrum or demand attention….but do catch our attention… a good book is good stress buster… u can relax yourself when u had a bad day just settle down with a good book, your favourite hot cuppa in favourite cosy corner of your house n get immersed in the world of fantasy… i have nothing in particular but recently i liked Mrs. Funny bones, Devdutt Patnaik n Anand Neelkanthan’s mythology, The Palace of Illusions, Sumana khan’s Encounters and the revenge of Kaivalya, Kavita Kane’s Menaka’s Choice and Anupama Garg’s The Tantric curse.
now-a-days movies n music have lost their charm except for some rare ones which did impact me in a strange way like Angry Indian Goddess, Pink, taare zameen par.
Present day music is just ….. no meaningful lyrics just senseless ones n some blaring hip hop background score which we get to hear during festivals n gets people dancing on it. I like to listen and unwind or start my day with some old music which peps up my mood and drives away day’s tiredness.
Given a chance what one thing would you like to change in your life?
Many things from my past from my childhood especially that 1 incident which changed my whole life..Not only mine but my whole family’s life.
You have been reviewing books? What kind of books you usually love to read?
Recently I have taken a love for reading mythologies but I like to read suspense, thrillers too n good romantic one too
You have started, Chocodisiac, a homemade chocolates and cake made to order. Did you always loved baking and cooking? What made you take the decision?
Cooking was 1 thing I hated most. But I loved when my Mom used to bake our birthday cakes. That aroma which used waft in our house was just too tempting. After my daughter was born and had to go through a life threatening sickness at age of 8 months her doctor had advised her not give any outside food. But whenever on her birthdays we got shop cakes she used to fall sick and I always hated the aftertaste the cakes used to leave on my palette. Once when I went to attend my birthday party of my friend’s kid she gave me homemade chocolates. And that was like my stepping stone in world of homemade chocolates and cakes. I wanted to do something for myself as taking care of a differently abled girl is not an easy job for any mother. Luckily in July 2015 I attended a basic cake workshop wherein I learnt various icings and fillings. That gave me the necessary information and confidence to start something on my own from comforts of my house and that’s how Chocodisiac was born.
Could you share some of your most popular cake recipes?
One of most relished and popular cake is Apple and oats cake which is super easy and yum too. It’s a Nita Mehta’s recipe.
½ tin milkmaid (200gms)
50 gms (1/2 cup) oats
15 almonds – crushed roughly
25 gms (1/4 cup) whole wheat flour (atta)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon (dalchini powder)
½ cup oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla essence (optional)
1 big red apple dekinned and finely chopped
2 tablespoon maida
Grease well and line with paper 6-7’ cake tin of your desired shape.
Sieve wheat flour along with baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon powder.
Add oats and almonds.
Beat milkmaid well. Add essence and beat well.
Add oil and beat till well mixed.
Add flour mixture gradually and mix gently with wooden spoon.
Coat the chopped apple with the maida and fold it into the batter.
Transfer the batter into the prepared tin and bake it in preheated oven at 180’C for 40-45 min or till tester comes out clean
What do you take into account while taking any orders for Chocodisiac?
Many things… what the client likes/dislikes, if he/she is allergic to something… when do they want the delivery? Whether they want home delivery or they will pick up themselves so on and so forth.
How can it be used with books?
Hmm… I am not sure, as the recipes used by me are either adapted from some cook book or from some experts. Maybe, if you are planning some storyline on a baker or chef, then some recipes can be incorporated along with the plot.
What points should one keep in mind while ordering from a home baker/chocolatier?
People always complain about pricing… why are we costlier than the shop??? The reason is we make on order. We don’t buy ingredients in bulk as shops do. We use fine quality ingredients. Also if you observe shop cake usually has more of cream/filling than the sponge whereas we have a
balance of both. Shop cakes are prepared in bulk and are stale but we cater to your needs and start working on your cakes 1 or 2 day prior to day of delivery. My daughter always use to fall sick after eating cream of the cakes from the shop but since I have started baking at home I give her cakes with cream without any fear as I know the quality of the ingredients used, no artificial colours or flavours used, so I am sure that my daughter is eating good quality product.
Also people should also consider that we are housewives turned baker. We have a family and their responsibilities to take care of. We have our kids to look after, kids and family members to be fed. It would be appreciative if the order is placed well in advance rather than in the eleventh hour. It actually gives us time to be more creative and give the special touch to such orders. Even though we love baking and it’s our passion but we invest our time, energy and also money so it would be awesome if someone respect that.
Misry had nothing to do. After her last fight with Bheeru, she knew he wouldn’t let her play with any of the children in the village, let alone with his goat kids. After all, it was on Bheeru’s recommendation that the village kids allowed Misry to join the gang but now that he was furious with her, she was certain there was no use going there for few days. They wouldn’t play with her.
She looked out of the window. It was pretty bright outside. Summers in this part of the country were hot and humid. Her intention of talking to the Jawans on sentry duty at the camp gate was also not very tempting at this hour. She turned her attention to Raju.
As usual, Raju was busy with his comics: Phantom, Bahadur, and Batul The Great, one of the favorites of the Bengali…
It was a still, fine morning and Misry didn’t even wait to eat breakfast. All she managed was to get out of her nightwear and put on something decent before escaping from the house unnoticed. Ever since her mother gave her permission to visit Bheeru, she had been anxiously waiting for the morning to arrive. And now she stood shouting, outside Bheeru’s mud house.
“Bheeru! Bheeru! Where are the goat kids?” Misry shouted.
The mud house was single storey structure with a courtyard in the middle of the house. There were several rooms surrounding the courtyard with one side open for the hand pump and the barn.
A dark skinned bald boy appeared from inside the hut. He was wearing khaki shorts fit enough for two on the lower half of his body while on top was a white vest with short sleeves and he…
“Ma! Why does everybody call me MESSY? I don’t like it! ” Misry complained.
Madhavi was performing her evening prayers sitting on the floor. She blew the conch shell and continued chanting with her eyes closed. On hearing Misry’s words she gestured to her to wait.
Misry stood waiting by the door of the small puja room, watching her mother.
In a couple of minutes, Madhavi, with folded hands, bowed down to the deity and finished her evening prayers. She got up and turned to look at the child.
Misry stood with a scowl on her face. Her long curls danced when she spoke, doing very little to hide the expression on her small round face. Her lacy green frock was anything but tidy while her hands and feet were smeared with soil as usual. The strap of one of her sandals was hanging by…