Last year I had clicked these pictures in my neighbourhood. Rangoli has always been a major attarction of the Diwali festival. On this auspicious occassion women make colourful patterns in their courtyard or front of the gates to welcome Goddess Lakshmi into their homes. It is believed Goddess Lakshmi is very safai pasand, cleanliness freak, and shall dwell in those houses which are clean and illuminated with lights. That is one of the many reasons on Diwali the entire house is lighted with lamps and colourful light chains. People decorate their homes with new paints, furnishings and home decors.
Rangoli is a part of home decor mostly done in the front of the house or also in the Brahmasthan of the house to invite good vibes. Earlier the ingredients used for Rangoli were natural resources like flower petals, turmeric, coloured rice, dry flour, Vermillion (Sindoor) but now it is colored sand and chemicals mostly. On Diwali even offices and shops are decorated.
Here are some of the beautiful rangolis I captured last year.
Before I tell you what the movie is about I would like to share my experience of going out to watch this movie.
Ten years into marriage now and I have skipped all the movies I ever wanted to watch on the silver screen. The reason is not different than many of yours. I love to watch off beat movies mostly and that does not pull in family viewing at all especially when you have kids in the house. So in theaters, I always end by watching movies which are treat to eyes of the kids which implies superman, flying Jatt etc. While I usually watch my TBV list on TV with CDs – pirated most of the time.
LUMB was a big change from all these things in my life. I boldly announced to my family that I am going to watch this movie in the theaters. Period! They glared at me for a while but then set me free. Yes FREE. I could go out watch my movie now. No baggage attached. No hard feelings like how could I do this to my family-taking the liberty and all. But you heard me correct. LUMB trailers got me to say that and with no baggage attached.
So now the first hurdle was crossed. which meant I had to watch it alone if my family was not coming along. ALONE! Nah. I turned to all my girlfriends on my phone contact list. Sending messages in Watsapp groups to make a team to go out to watch the movie in the hall.
Surprisingly, even after so much hoopla many of the women on my list had never heard of the movie. And those who did had some kind of excuse or the other to skip it. However, they did assure they would love to watch it. However, I know the situation would have been different if it was a different movie like romance or masala bollywood films.
LUMB is based on a social issue and it is not just off beat but related to of woman’s sexual desire. It is a dark comedy. Nevertheless, I kept asking them out. So finally after pitching around thirty or so ladies in my groups, three finally came forward.
It was a rocking day for me and I gladly announced to my family that finally I got my movie mates. Venue and time of the show was decided. But on the due date, two of the three friends gave the same excuse which the others had given before. I can understand that.
Even saying about it to someone who had seen the trailers that you were going to watch it raised brows with a naughty smile. However, the film is anything but naughty.
I was wondering if I had to watch it alone again. I did that once many years before my marriage and was in for a shock after sitting in the theater. It was Amir khan movie – 1947, The Earth. (Very difficult to watch alone because of its rawness in portraying the incidents during partition of India ). So I was caught up in the same fear even after so many years. Of course both the movies are totally different. However, the thought of having a stranger sitting next to me in a darken hall was still very uncomfortable for me.
I reached the venue in time and was very glad to find the friend waiting. We watched the movie together and enjoyed it too. By the time it was over, it was late in the evening and drizzling too. We exchanged goodbyes and headed back home. She with her family and I in my scooty. Driving past the convoy of trucks on the national highway with beads of rain drops splashing on my face and wetting my clothes. Luckily there was no street light on at that moment- I want to remember LUMB for giving me those moments – my moment of lipstick wale sapne.
My Review of the movie: I loved the movie. Especially, the character played by Ratna Pathak – a middle aged widow dreaming of love life. Of course, the movie has lots of other relatable characters too, chasing their dreams. Even when their dreams comes crashing down instead of losing hope they chase a new one. Never stop dreaming it says. For nobody can take that away from you – Your Lipstick Wale Sapne
“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.
Chattisgarh is best known for its rich tribal culture and temples. Bhoramdeo Temple is one of the major attractions of the state. This ancient temple is situated in Kawardha district of Chhattisgarh which is about 116 kilometers from the capital city of Raipur or just 20 kilometers from the Kawardha town.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and dates back to 7th to 12th Century A.D during the period of Kalachuri dynasty. This ancient temple has a close resemblance to the Konark Sun Temple in Odhisa and the Khajuraho Temples in Madhya Pradesh.
The temple was built by Nagwanshi King, Raja Ramchandra, who practiced Tantrism, an ancient form of Hindu practice that seeks to channelize the divine energy from God to human to attain Moksha. Therefore, the temple walls have magnificent erotic rock sculptures depicting various Kama sutra positions. Hence the temple is also popularly known as “The Khajuraho of Chhattisgarh.”
Within the temple premises there are several other small temples dedicated to other deities. Madwa Palace within the temple premises is also another attraction. It is built like a marriage hall and resembled the wedding Mandap of Raja Ramchandra with his wife Queen Ambika Devi.
It is a must visit place during Chhattisgarh tour. The best time to visit is during the Bhoramdeo Mahotsav held in the last week of March within the temple complex. This festival gives the tourists a deep insight into the culture of the state with various tribal dance and songs.
Apart from that the nature lovers and the adventure freak can always enjoy the picturesque beauty of the Mikal Hills and the wildlife sanctuary here. The temple is situated on the foothills of the Mikal Hills.
EXCERPT #THEJUNGLE SERIES
Neha had heard a lot about Bhoramdeo Temple since her arrival in Raipur. The newspaper, few days back in the end of March, mentioned about the Bhoramdeo Mahotsav which she desperately wanted to visit but could not due to Ritesh’s busy schedule. She was very excited to visit the temple now.
This write up is part of my upcoming #paranormal book based on the jungles of Chhattisgarh, THE JUNGLE SERIES, a collection of short stories. The tag line is- GET READY TO BE ASSAULTED.
“How are you feeling now Mam?” Shankar asked little apologetically.
“I am fine now. It’s just the heat nothing to worry about.” Neha replied.
“Great so that means we can go ahead with our activity then.” Shankar replied.
“Of course! I don’t want to miss anything after coming here.” Neha said.
“I won’t let that happen Mam. We will be heading straight to the village haat. Today being Wednesday, it is the time for Weekly market here. Many people from the nearby village come to attend it as it is one of its kind in the entire locality. Otherwise people have to go to Kawardha or Bhoramdeo for their needs.
”I hope they will have no problems if we visit the haat.” Ritesh asked.
“Not at all. As long as you do not interfere with the locals much. They are different tribal community and love to be themselves. Though they know me but they don’t like intrusion by foreigners. Just a request every time you want to click a picture, please ask for their permission first. They are very shy, specially the ladies. Though they won’t say no but it is always better to ask.”
“Oh, surely we will take care of it.” Ritesh replied.
“Also I must inform you that this hatt is also a dating place where the man and woman choose their partners for marriage. So as the hours go by you will find the men dancing and singing around with girls and it is celebration time for them. So they drink Mahua, a local alcohol. If they like you they will offer you too. Please! Don’t say “NO” and don’t throw the drink in front of them. It will highly offend them. If they ask you to dance, don’t forget to acknowledge it. It is their way of showing love and respect for you.”
“Phew! As much as I want to I will take care of all the information. Thanks Shankar.”
“And last of all, remember I am a local here so I will behave the same way with them. If I drink Mahua, please don’t assume I am drunk. I know my limits and responsibility. You guys are safe with me.” Shankar added.
“Alrighto!” Ritesh showed a thumps up. Neha smiled.
This excerpt is part of my upcoming #paranormal book based on the jungles of Chhattisgarh, THE JUNGLE SERIES, a collection of short stories. The tag line is- GET READY TO BE ASSAULTED.
Chhattisgarh is a newly developed state of India with Raipur as its capital city. The state is well known for its bastar arts and Kosa Silk. Chhattisgarh is also home to many tribes and communities who thrive in the jungles and still practice their age old tradition and culture.
Join me to know more about this virgin destination that has so many stories to tell.
Hyderabad, The CITY of PEARLS , will mesmerize you with its historic beauty. Well known for its magnificient ruins and history Hyderabad was established in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, under the rule of the Qutb Shahi dynasty for nearly a century before the Mughals captured the region. In 1724, Mughal viceroy Asif Jah I declared his sovereignty and created his own dynasty, known as the Nizams of Hyderabad.
Official capital city of Telangana State, Hyderabad has succeeded in retaining its tradition and culture over the years be it in its food zone, traditional markets like the Laad Bazaar, Begum Bazaar and Sultan Bazaar, that are still very favorite place of the tourists from all the corners of the world.
The ruins here hold a story of the successful bygone era and its is advisable that before you plan your next trip here don’t forget to flip the pages of history. You will have a different view of the city.
Here I am sharing few pictures that speak of the rich culture of the city.
Yesterday while going in car we passed by a lady chatting with other ladies. She probably works in our neighborhood. Her dressing sense makes her distinct from others. She is in her late thirties and always wears a sari that is pinned perfectly while adding a tinge of accessories like ear tops, bangles and bindi to go with it. As the car took the turn leaving the lady way behind, my co traveler winced looking at the rear mirror.
Me : Whats wrong?
T: I don’t like that lady?
Me: Why whats wrong with her?
T: She is indecent?
Me: And why would you say that?
T: See the way she is dressed up? Always tip –top. I have never seen her anything less than this. She cannot be a good girl.
Me: (Looking astonished) You just said that because she takes effort to dress up every day and manages to stay put throughout the day?
T: Partly yes. Even her body language says it all. She is some loose character woman.
Me: Maybe her job requires her to be tip-top throughout, so what’s the big deal? And how come you reach to the conclusion that she is a bad character woman?
T: I have seen her freely talking with everybody.
Me: So how does frankness make her bad character unless you have something really bad to show?
T: I don’t want to argue with you. I FEEL she is not decent woman.
Me: But I Feel she is smart enough to be my receptionist. With her kind of attitude she can be a smart face for my business.
T: OMG! What are you saying? I won’t even allow such a woman anywhere near the colony and you are talking of hiring her. You are CRAZY!
I turned my face towards the window to avoid anymore confrontation and wandered away in my thoughts. Can a woman be characterized by her dressing sense? Sharp dressing and frankness should be considered as an attributes of a smart woman but she is rather judged for her character.
My Face book account was flagged with Independence Day wishes since the last few days. Sure India celebrated its 68th Independence Day on 15th August. Once more we felt the Adeline rush in our blood with the tricolor flags, balloons and patriotism songs being played just about everywhere. On other times we feel it while watching the cricket match between India Vs Pakistan.
Well I sat down to blog today because something disturbed me the whole day. We went to watch a movie in a multiplex after watching the flag hosting ceremony at the police ground. We took our seat in the designated auditorium. After some teasers of forthcoming films we were asked to stand up by a promo and soon the National Anthem “Jana Gana Mana” played on the screen. Like us everybody else present there stood up and sang along. My trouble started from then on. The promo said, “Rashtriya Geet”.
As far as I know our “Rashtriya Geet” or “National Song” is “Vande Matram” composed by poet Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and our National Anthem or “Rashtriya Gan” is “Jana Gana Mana” is composed by Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore. But in several reputed multiplexes like PVR, Glitz cinema our National Anthem is being played as “Rashtriya Geet” instead of “Rashtriya Gan”.
I could not concentrate much on the film as it disturbed me a lot. “How could such big multiplexes do this blunder?” “Why hasn’t anybody noticed it so far and if they did what did they do?” “Is it sheer ignorance that can be forgiven?” or like others I too should not write this blog.
Please for GOD’s SAKE if we cannot do much for the society or nation at least we should respect the National Symbols of our country. At least that does not call for much hassle. Does it? Our soldiers who are serving the borders or patrolling the highways should not be the only lads of the motherland who are designated for the major chunk of patriotism. We simple citizens can also show our proud in our motherland. And remember nobody likes his own name to be misspelled. Then why should we allow these big multiplexes to give the wrong information.
It’s a plea that after reading this article if you think you can make a difference then please let others know. We don’t want someone outsider point this mistake to us someday. Maybe we could make a correction together. The promo should be rectified to “Rashtriya Gan” instead of “Rashtriya Geet”.
“Right to vote” is the major advantage a citizen can enjoy in the country. In India, Article 326 clearly mentions the entire norm for “Right to vote” which makes a person eligible to execute his right. Election 2014 is a major event that will be witnessed by the entire world. Approximately, 814.5 million people, the largest electoral population in the world, will cast their vote for 16th Lok Sabha Election this year. The election will be conducted in nine phases starting from 7th April till 12th May 2014, which is also the longest polling period. The election will be the most expensive general election costing around 35 million Indian rupees.
Today my purpose of writing this blog is to find out whether we, the electoral population, are really that keen in participating in this mega event of the country. So far my investigation shows “No”. I have seen people discussing politics flipping newspapers over tea in the morning, while taking bus or cab to their office, over regular chit-chat, in the gym, watching news analysis on TV or just about anywhere possible. Narendra Modi and Rahul Ghandhi had always been the hot topic of discussion. The social sites like Face book and Twitter are filled with updates on every event related to Election 2014 by its users.
I too discussed about this event at my level. My first interaction was with my house help. She is an old lady in mid-fifties. Her family consists of her husband, four sons, their wives and children. Bottom line is from one house there were total ten people who can cast their vote for the upcoming general election. I was quite excited to ask her about her plans for the election in the city. Her answer was very meek. According to her the upcoming Lok Sabha election had nothing to do with them and the people in her locality. They are only concerned about the State Assembly Elections. At that time, the candidates contesting the election visit them at their door step and distribute goodies like blanket, mosquito net, liquor, money to lure the voters. She said that it is the only time when they really get something for casting our vote. The parties also arrange for vehicles to ply from their locality to the polling booth during the day for the voters. But nothing of the sort is happening during the upcoming general election in her locality. So nobody is interested in casting their vote. When I questioned her why she wanted goodies for casting her vote she replied that they hardly receive the government subsidies that are announced for people like her. It usually ended up somewhere in the long chains of the babus, government officials, and there is nobody is to listen to their pleas. During State elections they raise their issues to the visiting candidates who promise to help them if they come to power but during general elections they are unable to make themselves heard as the candidates hardly campaign in their locality. I explained her that casting her vote for the centre can change a lot in the state to which she replied the people don’t know where Delhi is so why bother?
“Why Bother??” The words kept echoing in my mind. Have we really developed the way we swear we have or just an advertisement to wave our thoughts. I met a government official who was displeased to know that he had been appointed for the election duty. He shared his thoughts for defying the order openly with me. According to him, he has served the government for considerable time and no matter how good his performance is he won’t be promoted further in his service tenure. So why should he slog in the summer heat. Also if he defies the order he will be suspended from the duty for six months which will give him much need time to build the first floor of his house for which otherwise he will never get leave. Moreover, during his suspension period he will be entitled to seventy five percent of the salary which will be enough to keep his expenses running. So he doesn’t have to worry and after six months he can join his services again on full salary. What a full proof plan!! If a person working in the government department thinks that way for the elections then why can’t the people.
Some more excuses I would love to share here. I asked my neighbor the same question and her take was she would not like to waste her child’s summer holidays. She would rather enjoy the wedding of her relative during that time. Somebody else told me what is going to change if she cast her vote. The corruption, unemployment will still remain even if she exercised her right. So what’s the point in slogging in the long queue to cast her vote? Another acquaintance replied he had been traveling so hard the last few months that taking another trip to his hometown just to vote will be a waste of his energy and money. Moreover, he said, he has been residing in another city for last few years for his career so what was the point in casting vote for his home constituency. It was correct as whatever changes the government bring to his home state he shall not be benefited. Rather he will gain from the place where he is currently residing. But he could not register for voter card in the current city as he was not sure how long he will continue his job in the same city. For better career prospects he has kept his options open and he will move out for better opportunities. I found the country losing a potential voter here for career reasons but then there are thousands like him. So are we not losing on all of them?
I spoke to another lady. She had been married recently and shifted with her husband to a new city. She was searching for a new job. When I questioned her she answered her interviews maybe lined up during that period so it would be impossible for her to fly down to her hometown to cast her vote. Like others she too did not take the agenda of “Employment for all” in the manifesto of the parties seriously. If people don’t vote, then how the agenda can be implemented remains a big question for the future of the country.
Another person very well known to me have been licking the pages of the newspaper every morning and trailing the news channel almost whole day to keep him updated about the Election 2014. Not only this, he has also been sharing his view points about the parties and their agendas with all his friends and relatives helping them make up their mind for choosing the right candidate. However, with so much homework done this person plans to travel out of the city for some official work, which he says are more important for him, on the day the election scheduled in his city. What a waste of such analysis I would say if you cannot take the responsibility when called for.
With so much said now I will share my views on Election 2014. The event is definitely going to be a major turning point in the history of our country and I am proud that I shall be a part of it. But apart from that there are few changes that I think can make a big difference in our voting system. I feel instead of several phases of polling we should have only single day voting in the entire country. It may sound irrational but then if we can take our exams on a single day in the entire country, celebrate festivals on the same day throughout the country, celebrate 26th January ,15th August, Gandhi Jayanti on the specified date all over India then why not elections. Somebody said it is not possible due to lack of manpower and security reasons but I think if the entire operation is decentralized on area basis then the load will automatically be less.
If the ward in each constituency is further subdivided then I think it will be better administered. For example, if a gathering is announced in the neighborhood rather than in a different part of the city everybody can join in easily. So there are more chances of involvement in the scenario rather than being a mute spectator on TV news. Like my ward consists of several small colonies and I know all the families in my colony. So the accountability is more in smaller areas. Single day voting will also help people in many ways like work will not hamper, people will converge down to their mandate without any further influence from outside like the opinion polls and news analysis on electronic media and election campaigns. Influences like these should be stopped on a single day throughout the country before the polling. As far as security and man power is concerned for single day voting all over the country I think disintegration will automatically impose responsibility on the people at the grass root level who otherwise feel left out during the event. Involvement in any event makes a person responsible.
Another very effective way to increase the number of vote is through online polls. Today’s generation are prone to “clicks” more than anything else be it ordering pizzas, buying movie tickets, online shopping, bill payments, banking. Think of anything and it is available online through few clicks. So why not voting?? Today due to many reasons the youth keeps changing their location. Jobs are the biggest factor. Other than that there can be some other reason too for leaving the home town. Where ever they go they do not register for voter card which means our actual mandate is losing a huge majority which mostly consists of educated youth. And if they come to cast their right I am sure India will definitely move towards progress. Our election commission have recently started online voting for the armed forces after 67 years of Independence. I wonder what took them so long. People of India should have the authority to vote from anywhere in the country rather than their polling station. But yes the vote should be counted in the respective constituency of the person where he is registered as a voter. Moreover if the entire procedure of registration can be online, why not voting then? Tapping today’s career oriented educated youth is very important if we really want to bring a change in our society.