23 December, 2014

Christmas - Childhood memories

I have many childhood memories associated with Christmas. Did you study in any Christian missionary school? I did. Whoever has studied in a missionary school can relate well to this post. Christmas reminds me of the following:

1. Christmas Carols:

The word Carol means 'dance to something'. Our music teacher used to teach these songs from November itself. We have a tradition to sing a song after our daily morning prayer in the school. We used to sing these carols during morning prayer and even in the church behind our school.

2. Christmas tree and star:

As per the tradition, Christians bring decorated Spruce/pine/fir tree to home to celebrate Christmas. They decorate it with edibles like apples, nuts or candy canes and with specific ornaments like balls and illuminate it with candles. 
As per the history, Christmas star is placed outside households to commemorate star of Bethlehem which revealed the birth of Jesus.

On the way from our home to school, we used to count number of stars decorated outside the houses and used to discuss which one is good. There used to be a Christmas tree decorated in school too. We have an arts and crafts class which targets on preparing crafts from waste. Our arts and crafts teacher used to teach on preparing simple crafts to decorate Christmas tree.

3. Santa Claus:

Saint Nicholas, a 4th century Bishop has a habit to gift to children. In US, People called him Santa clause. So, this tradition of gifting started from there.

Now, comes the favourite part of Christmas :) Our head mistress or any other senior teacher used to come as Santa Clause before Christmas with 'jingle bells' playing in the background and used to distribute chocolates in the morning prayer. 

4. Chrisma Chrischild game: 

It's also known as Secret Santa. It shows children the importance of kindness or giving. Teacher used to distribute one chit to each student on which some other student's name would be written. We will become Secret Santa / Chrismom for the student on our chit and he/she will become our Chris child. There used to be a Christmas tree or gift stand kept outside the corridor of the school, where Secret Santa should can place their gift to Chris child without revealing their identity. It's a fun experience to play this game altogether :) Sometimes, our Secret Santa can also assign some simple tasks to chris child in return to the gift like singing a multi lingual song in each class, reading weather reports, coming to school dressed in ethnic wear etc., So, December month used to be funny throughout :)

I had fun time with this game both in school days and also after I joined office. 

So, these were few things that i remember from my childhood days about Christmas. 

There is a blog hop #ChristmasBonanza happening in this month with around 20+ blogger publishing a blog post per day throughout the month. So, enjoy the posts :)

Until next time,

Image courtesy: www.freeimages.com

Come join a set of fabulous bloggers sharing their Christmas moments - Easy Holiday Crafts, DIY ideas, Recipes , Decor ideas and book recommendations with you .


Starting from today till Christmas and beyond, each one of us will be writing a post related to Christmas.

Participating blogs

ArtsyCraftsyMom - munniofalltrades - hfareensspace - roohiscollections - hellomommyhood - attachedmoms - totschooltotallyawesome - Themomviews - bumpsnbaby.com -

rugsoflife - oneandahalfminutes - shishuworld - ruskandtea - aspoonfullofideas - orangekitchens - obsessivemom - rachnaparmar - parentingmantras -

onboardthemommyship - kwikdekoblog - thekeybunch - momzspace - whatscookingmom - coloursdekor - happypeopleevents

So sit back, relax and check out all the fabulous Christmas Bonanza posts from our participating blogs in the linky. Support us by sharing our posts using the hash tag #ChristmasBonanza

This Linky is for participating blogs only, but We would love to see your Christmas Crafts too. Come and link up your Christmas post at ArtsyCraftsyMom.com

22 December, 2014

Best books I read in 2014

New year is coming! Count down started :-)
It's time to remember good and bad things happened. Enjoy and reminisce good memories and learn from mistakes. Right? 

Since mine is a book blog, I want to list my best reads of 2014.
Even though I didn't get time to review many books in my blog, I have got chance to read a variety of books this year.  Read the famous Shiva Trilogy books by Amish Tripathy this year, which was pending from long time in my wish list. FYI, Shiva trilogy has 3 books in the series - The immortals of Meluha, The secret of Nagas and The oath of Vayuputras.
Got a chance to complete 2 books in Taj trilogy written by Indu Sundaresan - The Twentieth Wife and The feast of Roses. Both have been a fantastic read. I have also read some light hearted practical stories this year like Lucifier's Lungi, Ri, The Little hearts etc.,

So, here goes the best books that I have read this year:

1. The Twentieth Wife
This book is first in the series of Taj Trilogy. If you want to know more about each and every detail of Mughal empire, traditions in their time and importance of women, this is for you. I enjoyed reading this as I love history. Here is my review

2. The Secret of Nagas
This is the second book in Shiva trilogy series. All three books are fine, but this book in trilogy is better. I liked the way Amish Tripathy created the characters of this mythological fantasy novel. It's interesting to know and relate things related to our ancient India like Saraswati river, preparation of amrutham which gives immortality etc., Even though there are many myths in this fantasy novel, I liked the research behind the story and gained some knowledge on ancient India. 

3. Lucifier's Lungi
Whle the books above are on serious note, this book is a light hearted read. A very short book which I enjoyed it every bit. This book talks about the protagonist of novel being modern and not believing in any myths and legends, travelling to a small village. His mind set completely changes after his funny experience in the village. Here is my review

4. Ramayana - The Game of life : Rise of Sun Prince
This first book of Ramayana in the series of books by Shubha Vilas covers Ramayana from the birth of Lord Rama till his marriage. Book has extra information on importance of each incidence in Ramayana and characters are explained in very detail. Overall, it's enjoyable and knowledgeable read. Here is my review

5. God is a gamer
This is one of my favourite genre. It's a thriller and I learnt many new things about gaming industry and term 'bit coin'. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this and cannot put the book aside until I finished it. Here is my review

I wish, I read more interesting and variety of books in the coming year and review them in my blog. 

Until next time,

Image courtesy: goodreads.com

26 November, 2014

God is a gamer by Ravi Subramanian - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Title: God is a gamer
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Publishers: Penguin books
Genre: Fiction
No. of pages: 310

This book is an engaging thriller. Author introduces us to many threads like murder of Senator in US - Gillian Tan, ATM heists in New York, transfer of huge amounts of money of NYIB bank customers to anonymous accounts, cases of explosion of Dell laptops across the world etc., All are connected to a single reason, which is being investigated by Agent Scott in US. This novel also explains the virtual currency 'bit coins' and introduces us to the gaming industry. 

Story starts with the murder of US senator Gillian Tan. Then, it moves to India. An online fraud which results in transfer of funds of NYIB bank customers takes place and retail banking head Swami, Malavika and Matt enter the story. While this investigation is going on, Malavika is murdered and her affair with finance minister and her influence on some major bank transactions to fraud companies come into light. Since Swamy finds out all these, he will also be murdered. Aditya, head of number one gaming company Indiscape is close friend to Sundeep, head of an outsourcing company eTIOS and Swamy.  Aditya unexpectedly invites his son Varun to his life after many years and Varun takes over the responsibility of Indiscape and proves his ability. Varun loves Tanya who is Malavika's daughter. Due to ATM hiests in New york, eTIOS face a huge loss as it is an outsourcing company for several banks. FBI in New york also receives a case about investigating the explosion of DELL laptops in different parts of the world and transfer of bitcoins to an anonymous account. Thus story takes many twists and turns. How the author connects all these dots and who is behind all these murders form the climax.

What I liked?
This is the first book I am reading from this author 'Ravi Subramanian' and I have become a fan of him. Will surely read his other book 'The Bankster' soon. Book is very engaging till the end. Couldn't put it aside for a minute. Even though many threads are running simultaneously, we don't feel lost or confused. Author is successful in making the reader enjoy the flow without much confusion. Writing style is easy to understand and interesting. I am happy to learn some new concepts like bit coins and understand the details of gaming industry. It is interesting to know how a collaboration between a gaming company and Facebook yields better results than a direct gaming web site. 

What I didn't like?
There is a good explanation on bit coins, their history and usage, but not much details are given on bit coin mining. How is it created, converted from cash to virtual currency? At one point in the story, many dell laptops across the world get burnt in sleep mode and their bitcoins will be transferred to an anonymous bit coin wallet. This doesn't seem very convincing. I didn't see any other negative points..

A very good read and engaging thriller. I would rate it 4.5/5.
Buy it in flipkart from here

Until next time,


24 November, 2014

Eliminate classroom hunger with Akshaya patra foundation

Raghav never misses his school. He is from a poor family, father is working in a factory and mother is a house wife. Going to school without breakfast is very common for him as his family can afford only lunch and simple dinner with meagre income that they earn. That day, he is very tired. He is feeling weak to stand in the hot Sun for morning prayer in the school.
He wishes that someone in his school celebrates his/ her birthday daily as he gets a chocolate which will eliminate his hunger and allow him to concentrate on classes.


Satheesh was a child labourer before an NGO found him and joined him to a primary school. He has big dreams of becoming an employee of a good company and earn his living after his studies.  His only aim is to earn something to eat for his family daily. He sells flowers in the evening in beach after school. The mid day meals provided by government in schools is the only option for him to satisfy his hunger.


We see many lads and girls like Raghav and Satheesh in our daily lives who go to school and study in spite of hunger and many other challenges. Earning a plate of food is not easy for them.

Hunger in children can make them go towards good or bad options. They can either go to school, have good education and lead happy lives in future or can become a pawn of some street rowdies or do any illegal things to satisfy their hunger. Children are like uncut diamonds. They can be moulded as great human beings by providing them with good education. 

Blog adda is sponsoring meals for an Akshaya patra beneficiary for entire year for a blog post that spreads awareness on eliminating class room hunger. I am happy to participate in 'Blog to feed a child' initiative. :)

Until next time,

Image courtesy: www.fungems.com 

18 November, 2014

Planning for a new home with PORCELANOSA

Are you planning your new home? Not an easy task right? Selecting tiles, wardrobes, ceilings, bathroom fittings, wall tiles.. what not? It's a big list and it needs more research for a person like me who has zero knowledge on these items.

Stumbled upon this site http://www.24kliving.com/ through a blogger contest.
#24kLiving is a luxury brand from world renowned manufacturer of kitchen and bath products 'Porcelanosa'. Porcelanosa is venturing into Asia for the first time with Kolte - Patil Developers Ltd. Porcelanosa group is spread across 100 countries with their expertise for around 40 years in manufacturing kitchen and bath products.

Now, coming to the contest run by Indiblogger and Porcelanosa i have to pick few items to build my dream home :) Let's see..

1. Floor tiles: This is the most important thing to give great look to our home. Cermaic flooring is trending these days and I love flooring which is safe for children who run and play whole day. This also gives decent look. I would select 'Anti slip flooring'. How is it? There are also other types like natural wood, natural stone, porcelaine tiles, laminate flooring and linkfloor.

2. Kitchen furniture: I dont like spending more time in kitchen. I would prefer cooking quick. But, a good looking kitchen with bright lighting and furniture improves mood to cook better. Isn't it?

3. Wall tiles : Never knew about wall tiles, thought of wall colours though :) See this metallic wall tiles, looks wonderful. Isn't it? Shine of metal always has some power of attraction.

Ceramic tiles anyway are preferred as they are easy to clean and highly resistant.

Site has different tiles like natural stone and mosaics.

4. Bathroom accessories: A beautiful bath tub, showers, sanitary ware, basins and taps. Each and every accessory need to be selected with care. This site has a collection of different types of shower settings with shower trays, columns etc., All designs are contemporary and innovative.

5. Rain showers:
Site has different beautiful designs of rain showers. Some showers has light settings to make it look cool.

I love this rain shower :)

5. Bathroom taps:
I am amazed to see these contemporary designs of bathroom taps. Designs are unique and show that this is luxury brand. Few taps have light settings to make it glow. A few has temperature control, Aren't they looking practical and innovative? Have a look at some..

6. Wardrobes and dressing rooms:
It is important that it occupies more clothes in less space while selecting a good wardrobe. Porcelanosa offers different styles that can fit into any room with different finishes like matte, stained wood etc., One of them below:

I hope, you liked these photos and it helps in planning for new home :)

Until next time,

PS: All images are from http://www.porcelanosa.com/gb/index.php


26 October, 2014

Festival celebrations with kids

Festive time just ended.. How did you celebrate? 
October is the month of festivals. Isn't it? :)
This year, it started with Dasara, Bakrid and ended with Diwali. 

How can we involve our kids in festivities? I have a few tips..

1. Story connect:

Which kid doesn't like stories? My 3 year old is always eager to listen to new stories. Explaining stories behind each festival make children understand the spirit of festival. We can make kids colour pictures / charts explaining below stories. Older kids can draw pictures on their own.

Every Indian festival is associated with a mythological story. Dasara emphasizes on victory of good over evil. As per Hindu mythology, Rama killed Ravana on VijayaDasami. There is also another story of Goddess Durga who is formed by the pure energy formed by the trinity (Lord Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma), who killed the dangerous demon Mahishasura. 

pic credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/peddhapati/
Bakrid emphasizes on sacrifice. When God ordered Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son Ismail, he dutifully obliged to slaughter his beloved son. Then, a goat appeared instead of his son ready for sacrifice. Thus Muslims celebrate Bakrid to mark the spirit of sacrifice.

Diwali is celebrated as the day Ram returned to Ayodhya with Sita. People celebrate it as festival of lights which symbolizes removal of darkness/ ignorance by knowledge or light. This is also the day when Satyabhama, Krishna's beloved wife defeated demon 'Narakasura'. Usually, everyone will offer pooja to Goddess Lakshmi in the evening of Diwali.

2. Activities for Kids :

Involving kids in different festive activities starting from shopping, selecting diyas, discussing and preparing festival specific dishes, preparing rangolis, decorating home etc., are a very good way to make a fun environment for them.  

Many kids enjoy preparing rangolis made of flowers, pulses, colours, diyas etc., Parental guidance is required while arranging/ lighting diyas. It would be easy to teach colours, patterns and shapes to kids by involving them in preparing rangolis. 

3. DIY crafts:

I prefer simple DIY crafts to teach to my 3 year old. Like this pinterest board from my co-blogger Shruthi on simple and creative crafts. My young kid will be able to do simple greeting cards with rockets, colourful diyas, candles etc., He loves preparing them with my co-operation and showing them proudly to his friends :)
Below wonderful DIY cards are from Shruthi's blog.

4. Festival Specials:

Each festival will have its own way of celebrating it. 
For ex: who can forget crackers on Diwali? Even though we prefer spending less on crackers which will pollute our environment, this custom cannot be completely avoided. We enjoyed bursting crackers from childhood and want our children to experience the same right? This activity is best for parents to spend time with children together, teach them how to burst crackers safely. But, we should also teach them not to spend more money on crackers and pollute environment around us.
pic credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/soham_pablo/

Another important tradition for Diwali is to clean houses, decorate with diyas and invite goddess Lakshmi with puja in the evening. 

There is a tradition to burst Ravana's statue on Dasara in North India to signify that Good wins over evil always. So, these kind of traditions are to be taught to children with their importance.

What do you think are the other ways to involve kids during festival season? Let me know your thoughts in comments :)

I hope you liked this Diwali Dhamaka blog hop. I loved each and every post in the blog hop listed below, do try to read them and share :)

Until next time,

Come join a set of fabulous bloggers sharing their Diwali moments , easy Crafts, DIY ideas, Recipes and book recommendations with you .

Starting from today till Diwali and beyond, each one of us will be writing a post related to Diwali.
Participating blogs
So sit back, relax and check out all the fabulous Diwali Dhamaka posts from the participating blogs in the linky.

Link in your Diwali posts here

20 October, 2014

Improve immunity with Dabur Chyawanprash!

These days, we see more pollution everywhere. Many buildings and apartments are cropping up. Fresh fields and trees are vanishing slowly. Fortunately, Both Andhra and Telangana CMs mention greening as one focus area in their agenda for development. But, we have to see how much time it takes to implement those greening ideas in our cities.

You might be wondering why I am suddenly talking about pollution and de-forestation here. All parents of young children in this generation might be thinking about these topics. Our children doesn't have a healthy, pollution-free environment as we had in our childhood. They are more susceptible to cold, cough and fever. We as kids, used to eat all types of fruits, juices, ice creams and chocolates. But, our kids easily catch cold by drinking outside water or some local ice cream or juice. I feel bad keeping my kid away from citrus fruits and sweets waiting for cold/ cough to completely reduce. Else, he gets throat infection very often. We cannot change the environment around us except for growing more trees around our house and keeping surroundings clean. We cannot protect our kids from auto mobile pollution in cities. So, what is the solution?

When I asked my doctor, he said, your child will improve immunity with good and nutritious food and slowly overcome the health problems of frequent cold, cough, throat infection and fever. There is a contradiction in this statement. Fruits are known to improve immunity, but we cannot give all types of fruits to them when child has frequent cold and cough as some aggravate cold too(like water melon, mausambi, orange, grapes, custard apple etc.,). Doctor suggested me to give only pappaya, suppota, mango when child has cold). When I was researching on other food items which improve immunity, my uncle suggested me to use Dabur Chyawanprash. Oh! how come I forgot this Ayurvedic medicine which is tasty? Now I remember that my father used to give 1 spoon of Chyawanprash daily to me and my sister. Thanks to my uncle for reminding this.. It helped my kid to improve immunity to greater extent and he doesn't get sick often now!

Chyawanprash has herbs like amla, Giloy(guduchi) and more than 40 other natural ingredients. It strengthens body's natural defence mechanism by stimulating natural killer cells. Natural killer cells increase immunity by fighting with infections and virus in the body. 

A healthy child makes a happy home. What do you say? If child is healthy, it brings peace and happiness to the parents as this is the primary concern for them.I hope you too would try the same for your children if they fall sick often. :) Let me know if there are any other products like these which improve immunity naturally. 

Until next time,

11 October, 2014

Danger zone in the beach

Linking this to the Fiction Challenge ‘From 15 to 50′ hosted by Shailaja V of The moving Quill

It was a wonderful evening for Srija on the beach
Waves coming off one after the other, kissing her feet and going away
She didn't realize that she was in a danger zone

Until her happiness went away by a 6 foot high tsunami like wave.

Word Prompt: Happiness
Phrase Prompt: On the beach
Word count: 46

Until next time,

#flash fiction #from 15 to 50

01 October, 2014

Fraudster by RV Raman - [Book Review]

Book Details:
Title: Fraudster
Author : RV Raman
Publisher: Hachette
Genre: Crime thriller
No. of pages: 272
Source : A free copy for review from writersmelon.com

This is a corporate thriller with banking and audit backdrop. A commission is enquiring about a fraud in banking sector where loans were disbursed by banks to some companies taking few properties as collateral which were too much overvalued than actual price. The properties were shown as 4 to 5 times more value than original to get the loans from the bank. Due to the negligence of bank senior and junior management, these kind of loans pushed these banks to bankruptcy. 

Story starts with the murder of a young banking professional Shruthi who deposes to the commission on the fraud. This murder is followed by a series of murders of Mr.Visht and Mr. Subbu who were also somewhat related to the enquiry commission appointed for the investigation of fraud. Inspector Ranade connects all the dots and tries to the find the actual culprit for all these murders. Varsha, Kunal, Manish and Ashwin are some other characters who help him in the investigation. 

My Take:
Author is successful in keeping reader in suspense till the end. All clues are open to the reader allowing him to guess the fraudster, but it is not easy. Characterization of Varsha, Kunal and Ranade  is good. Smallest details about banking jargon and hacking of blackberry and mail servers are explained well. Still, I felt, there is not much clarity in the story. At some places, it becomes confusing. We wonder if it is practically possible to plan fraud of such kind which involves multiple small companies who take loans from banks by overvaluing their assets even with political support. 

Overall rating: 3/5
I would recommend this to anyone who loves fiction and crime thrillers. Story is fast paced, well explained and climax is good. But, this book didn't attract me like any Sidney Sheldon novel. 

You can purchase book from flipkart at discounted price here (Rs.175/-).

Until next time,

25 September, 2014

Collegedunia.com - database of Indian colleges - Website Review

Stumbled upon this site Collegedunia.com recently and found it very useful to every student in India who wants to get information on admission process, fee, eligibility, facilities in the college, college rating etc., before selecting a suitable college to apply for admission for graduation/ Post graduation in any specific stream. We see very scattered information in internet and there is no consolidated data about all colleges in India at a single place until the launch of this website.

Collegedunia.com is an on-line portal owned by 3.14 Digital in New Delhi which lists 15000 colleges from different streams like Management, Engineering, medicine, commerce, arts, science and law. A simple search for a specific stream will list all colleges with information like different courses offered (full time/ part time/ distance/ on campus), contact details, address, website, photos, rating of the college, placement history and amenities.

 I was amazed to see the details about each college listed in the site!

Features of the website:

1. Search bar
User can search by college name, university, exam results etc.,

2   2.  Filtering of search results
Filtering can be done to a detail level by stream/ field of study, type of course (Part time/ Full time/ distance/ on campus), location etc.,

3    3. Detailed information on each college listed
Students can get detailed information on each college and courses offered by them.

4    4. Extra non-academic information
Non-academic information like facilities in the college (labs, library, auditorium etc.,), placement history and alumni details are useful for students to choose right college.

5. Latest updates on colleges
There is a separate section in website to cover latest admission notifications from different colleges. Exam results are also notified in this section.


This website gives detail level information about each college listed.  Huge database of content collected and shown in the website is very useful for students. It would be easy to compare different colleges with the rating that site provides.  This website has a dedicated team to add high quality content periodically on cut offs, placements, admission, festivals and minute details like course intake fee and reservations. Though it basically caters to the needs of students, it is also beneficial for parents to compare colleges based on rating, fee and cut offs.

My Overall rating: 4/5

 Until next time,

15 September, 2014

Ri Homeland of Uncertainty - [Book Review]

Book Details:
Title: Ri Homeland of Uncertainty
Author: Paulami Duttagupta
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publishers: Fablery Publications

Story: This is a completely different book from all the books I have read so far. Book is the adaptation of national award winning Khasi film. 
Story is about a terrorist Manbha, who calls himself as a freedom fighter. His goal is to free Meghalaya from India as a separate state so that people in their state get basic necessities like water, food, good education and jobs. He is very deeply disappointed by the step motherly treatment of Indian government to the people from their state. He leads a strategic terror outfit with the aid of his boss 'Steve' in Bangladesh which aims to kill police and CRPF to bring terror in Shillong. 

He gets betrayed by a team member who is also a police informer 'George', loses his other team members in firing and escapes alone to hide in a journalist's house 'Emika'. Main part of the story is about the conversations between Emika and Manbha, how Manbha's ideologies and thoughts change after Emika let him understand the essence of humanity. I don't want to reveal the climax, but story ends in an unexpected way. Story gives a moral that guns will not solve problems. They bring more terror and uncertainty in society. Terror can never bring peace.

What i liked?
 I surely liked the message. Story is small, but brings the message straight forward  into our heart. Characterization is good. S P Kyndiah's character, his commitment and his feeling when he loses his loyal colleagues in firing operation is depicted very well. Emika, who is a journalist wins our heart for her bravery by handling the situation well when she knows that a terrorist is hiding in his home.  Manbha's character is the best as it shows varied emotions throughout. Even though he is a terrorist, he is a man with heart and he doesn't want to kill innocent people. Writing style is good and flow is smooth between different incidents in different places.

What I didn't like?
There is no specific point that i disliked. Basically, this story covers a serious concept and book handled this well. Might get boring for a normal book reader who enjoys fiction, twists and turns in the story. This is very realistic and straight to the point.

My rating:

Overall: A serious book with a message. You can purchase book at Rs 150 here

Until next time,

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