31 August, 2017

#ThursdayTreeLove 21

Learn character from trees, values from roots and change from leaves. - Tasneem Hameed

Linking this to #ThursdayTreeLove hosted by Parul.

Until next time,

29 August, 2017

#WordlessWednesday- Aug 30th, 2017

Salads can look great too 😉
Linking this to #WordlessWednesday hosted by Anni.
Real Wordless Wednesday
Until next time,

Melvin the Sad..(ish) Robot by Joshua Margolis - Book Spot Light

Children’s book
Date Published: 11/1/16
Publisher: Mascot Books

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Melvin is known for being a sad…(ish) robot. But, as he finds new friends and experiences, he may just figure out how to be happy…(ish).

About the Author

Joshua Margolis is a sculptor, photographer, and author from Oakland, Ca. His work has been featured in many galleries and studios. He was the de Young Fine Arts Museum artist in residence for the month of July 2014, where he brought his monsters and robots project to sculpted life. Melvin the Sad…(ish) Robot is the first story of its kind to incorporate Joshua ceramic sculptures into a real world setting, creating a unique visual narrative.

Contact Links

Purchase Links

Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Until next time,

26 August, 2017

3 judgements which gave a hope to Indians #WATWB

I don't follow politics very closely. Like many other Indians, i too didn't have much hope on Indian judicial system with many pending cases and delays in judgement. But, i have read this article and following the news related to these today which gave me a hope for better India.

There are 3 landmark judgements happened recently -
1. Triple talaq made unlawful
2. Right to privacy is made a fundamental right
3. Self proclaimed Godman Ramrahim convicted of rape

Read the article here.

What do you feel about these judgements? Do let me know in comments.
Linking this to We are the world blogfest where many bloggers would share news which bring positivity, hope, love and brotherhood.

23 August, 2017

A 2 day trip to Rocky mountain national park, CO, USA - #Day1

The Rocky mountain national park is one of the most visited parks in North America for it's natural beauty. It is spread across the area of around 76 miles protecting the mountains, forests and alpine tundra. Estes Park is the main town to stay and visit the park. The park is famous for scenic trail ridge road and old fall river road.
The trail ridge road 

 This park has more than 300 miles of hiking trails with extraordinary views of valleys, lakes and mountain peaks. That's why 2 days is not enough to walk all trails. Since we traveled with a 2-year-old kid, we had to select good but easy trails.
A view from scenic drive

Our day 1 trip started from Colorado Springs in the morning to Estes Park. We started at around 9 am and reached Estes park by 11 am. There is a queue to buy the entry pass to the park and so, we got delayed a bit. We got refreshed in the visitor center and started our drive on scenic trail ridge road.
Spotted a buck!

The trail ridge road is a 48-mile stretch connecting Estes Park to the Grand Lake. The scenery is extraordinary and the road took us to an altitude of around 14000 ft. The view of snow capped mountains and valleys is breathtaking. The speed limit is around 20 mph, there are many places to stop by and enjoy amazing views. We can also watch continental divide at one viewpoint.
A frozen lake in summer!

We reached Grand lake around 3pm. We took lunch at the visitor center. The Grand Lake is the deepest and largest natural lake in Colorado. We enjoyed boating in the lake for an hour. Children enjoyed the boating and the homemade ice cream near the lake.
Grand lake

Adam's falls is just a few minutes from Grand lake. Since we thought it's dangerous to drive on trail ridge road back with less light, we had to return to Estes park by 5 pm. We reached Estes park by 8pm, had dinner and checked into our rooms.
Grand lake

Thus, the first day is spent more on driving and capturing beautiful views. Estes lake near our hotel room is also great and buzzing with many tourists enjoying the Sunset while biking or boating.

Estes Park is a lovely mountain town. The gushing river flowing along the road in the town is wonderful. Read our Day 2 trip details here.

Until next time,


That was an awesome ride in Elitch gardens, Denver.
Linking this post to #WordlessWednesday hosted by Anni.

Real Wordless Wednesday

19 August, 2017

It's never too late to live your life

Life is beautiful! Did you ever realize it?

 I read somewhere that we are busy with studies in childhood, with career and marriage in 20's and 30's, with responsibilities till 50's or 60's and when we see backwards after all these years, we realize we didn't live our life as we wished for. Even though it's good to live life in our own terms enjoying each moment, it's never too late to get that realization.

I am already in 30's and even though I am grateful for my life so far, I have many things to check off in my bucket list. I believe that life is short and we have to utilize every minute of it. Feeling grateful and being positive are my only mantras to a happy life. What are yours?

We all make mistakes, take risks, face failures at many stages of our lives which is not uncommon. But, staying positive and moving on by learning from failures seems like a sensible step. Do you agree?

Writing this short post for #QuotedStories and Blog adda's WOW prompt.

Until next time,

Life through my Bioscope

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

14 August, 2017

The Man in the forest by Michael Warriner - Book Spot Light

Paranormal Horror
Date Published: May 31, 2017
Publisher: Darkwater Syndicate, Inc.

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Vincent, a musical prodigy, is caught up in a concert rivalry with a former student. He travels to Romania to settle the score, but what he discovers is the horrific true story behind the song his protégé wrote, “The Man in the Forest.” Supernatural phenomena and horrific sights abound, but the locals are tight-lipped about the mysterious goings-on. Can Vincent and his group upstage their rival, or will they fall prey to the curse of the man in the forest?


Behind him, in the hallway leading to the front door, he heard a light pattering of footsteps. He looked over his shoulder. The footsteps stopped, but he couldn’t see anyone in the doorway. Out of the corner of his eye he detected movement in the hall, but turned in time only to catch a shadow scurry away.
It had been a small shadow—a child perhaps? But what would children be doing so far out in the forest without their parents, and this late at night?
Vincent chased after the shadow, but when he got to the hall, nothing was there. Just then he heard something behind him. He quickly turned and caught a glimpse of what looked like the ventriloquist’s dummy—what was his name? Johnny Nelson—skipping to the stairs and out of sight. Vincent’s eyes grew wide.
Vincent ran through the living room to the stairs. He froze upon hearing a childlike laugh and looked up. The puppet stood at the balcony with its face in between the rails, leering at him. It looked exactly like the one in the painting.
First taking a breath to steady himself, Vincent climbed the stairs, the doll watching him all the while with tiny, creaking movements of its wooden eyes.
All at once the lights in the cabin went out, blanketing the house in shadow. He heard the pattering of small feet run down the second story hall. Vincent halted midway up the stairs and listened… nothing.
Then the lights blinked back on. Vincent ascended the rest of the stairs to the second story balcony. Johnny Nelson was gone without a trace.
Further down the hall, Vincent noticed the door to Mary’s bedroom was ajar. The lights inside her bedroom flickered as though the electrical wiring had gone bad. He went to the door and pushed it open.
It was dark when he stepped inside, the light mounted in the fan providing only sporadic bursts of light. He reached up and flicked the light bulb, and it steadied. As he lowered his gaze, he caught sight of Johnny Nelson in the reflection in the mirror atop the dresser. Before Vincent could even react, there was a muffled pop and crunching of glass. He dove to the floor as shards of the light bulb in the fan rained down around him. “Vince!” Mary shrieked. “Are you okay?”
He looked over his shoulder from the ground. Mary and Tyler stood in the doorway.
Vincent got to his feet, but didn’t answer right away. The mirror in the dresser was little more than an empty frame with a wood backing, its glass having burst all over the dresser’s surface and the floor. On the backing, in red letters that looked too much like blood for Vincent’s liking, was written: “Johnny Wants To Play!”

About the Author

Born and raised in Central Florida, Michael Warriner pursued an early interest in learning music and creating characters in hand-drawn comic books. He began his career working simultaneously in the mental health industry and as a character performer at his local theme park. It was while pursuing his degree in Psychology that he began writing stories “just to kill time.” Before long, he had written two manuscripts. This developing interest in telling stories was further driven by his fascination with amateur filmmaking. By day, Michael now applies his education and training to assist clients diagnosed with mental illness. By night, he writes novels, and in his free time he composes music. He draws upon these varied interests to create unique characters and thrust them into memorable stories.

Contact Links

Purchase Links

Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Until next time,

My Favorite Indian handlooms with a modern touch

Saree is Indian Women's traditional drape which is between 4.5 to 8 meters in length. When it comes to beauty, there is nothing more elegant and graceful than a saree for women. More than the beauty, it is also a convenient and quick drape for women. Even though modern women like me wear Jeans and shirts for work most of the days, we wear saree at least once a week as they are also stylish these days. The patterns and designs of the traditional hand looms have a modern touch to impress this generation. Some silks are so soft with bright color combinations that are beautiful for everyday wear.

There are a variety of sarees with different fabrics but, handloom sarees woven in India bring a uniqueness in design. We can find different  hand loom sarees online as well. When it comes to the types of silks, there are many options available ranging from ChanderiTussarBanarasiPaithani , Kanjivaram etc., These varieties are loved by women from many generations.  

I personally like Chanderi and Banarasi silks, whereas Kanjivaram is famous for auspicious occasions. We cannot imagine any festivals without this authentic wear.

Let me dig down to more details on my favorite skills:

Kanjivaram Silk:
For a bride, Kanjivaram silk is the first option to wear for the marriage. It is grand, elegant and bright. This makes the bride the center of the attraction and that is what we look for in a marriage function, right?

This handloom saree has a rich history from Tamilnadu, a Southern state of India. This saree comes with bright dyed mulberry silk and the rich work on zari/ border and pallu dominate the look.
PC: https://www.jharonka.com/

Banarasi Silk:
There are many varieties in Banarasi silk which will fit aptly for all occasions. Be it a marriage or a simple get together,  this will attract every around you. This soft silk with bright colors and different shades simply enhance the overall look. 

Pure Banarasi Katan silk sarees with rich work and motifs are famous. I like these simple yet elegant sarees for office wear as well.

PC: https://www.jharonka.com/

Pochampally Ikat Handlooms:
Pochampally handloom sarees are from Andhra and are famous for its simplicity and elegance. This saree is also worn officially by air hostesses of Air India. The designs are formed from a specific dyeing technique.
PC: https://www.jharonka.com/

Chanderi Silk:
I love this silk for regular use to the office. This is a traditional fabric from Madhya Pradesh. There are both silk and cotton saree types in Chanderi fabric. Chanderi cotton is best for summer wear.
PC: https://www.jharonka.com/

Mangalgiri Cotton:
In a tropical country like India, Cotton sarees are a must in Summer season. If they have trendy and simple designs, they are good for official casual wear. I like Mangalgiri cotton for that particular reason. These sarees are comfortable with simple designs and look elegant.
PC: https://www.jharonka.com/

Pure Pattu sarees:
Pure Pattu sarees woven with golden zari work are famous for small functions. I love wearing plain pattu sarees with rich border and zari work on the blouse for small get together and parties. They enhance my complexion without dominating me.
PC: https://www.jharonka.com/

If I have to list down all of the beautiful handloom sarees from India, it will be a big list indeed. So I chose only my favorites in this post.

How do you like sarees? What are your favorite handloom sarees? Do let me know in comments.

Until next time,

Ps: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are mine.

11 August, 2017

Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer - Release day Blitz

~ Release Day Blitz ~
Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer
12th August, 2017

Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita
Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda
But largely forgotten to the memory of India
Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala

Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouringVrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere.
Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?

Read an Excerpt

“I am the Queen! This will be my throne!” The seven-year-old chirped leaping from the middle of the porch towards the broken mortar which served as a mock throne. “You will be my guard!”
“Guard?” the man pondered scratching his unkempt beard. 
“No.” He shook his head and smiled seeing her indignant eyes. “I will be the Queen’s elephant.” He beamed.
Sukratu stepped out of the house to see his daughter in action, perching herself on the tramp Loha’s back, pretending in all earnestness that he was her elephant. He smiled and was about to set out for his duty as the night guard of the King. A sudden lightning appeared in the eastern skies. Sukratu had barely walked a few paces when a deafening thunder made him instinctively turn towards home. He heaved a sigh, finding Loha shielding the girl as if he would, his own child. 
“Father, don’t go.” The girl pleaded. 
Sukratu smiled and shifted his gaze towards the sky. He saw dark clouds loom over the city. The monsoon winds had started to make their presence felt. He had to reach the palace soon. “Isn’t my little Queen brave?” He called out. 
The girl nodded. He saw the fear fade. From her eyes. From her heart. She knew she was the queen! Pride filled his heart. His mind ached to stay home but duty beckoned. Tearing his gaze away from the one he treasured the most in his life, braving the drizzle that would soon turn into a storm, he unwillingly walked towards the King’s residence. Sukratu’s house was in the third ring of the concentric structure of Vrishabhavati. In the centre, was the structure, that served as the residence of the king and as the centre of all trade activity of the city. Here no wealth or goods could change hands without the king’s knowledge and approval. The residences of the noblemen formed the two rings around it. The guards and soldiers forming the outermost circle with the citizens living around them. 
As per the protocol, Sukratu approached General Ugra’s residence quite ahead of his reporting time— an hour before the moonrise. He walked into the empty courtyard. But the rain made it impossible for him to stand there any longer. He knocked at the giant wooden door fervently. The doors creaked as a strange woman clad in a dark indigo garment opened them and glared at him with a frown on her forehead. 
General Ugra, Sukratu knew was never faithful to one woman. His superior’s romantic exploits were not his concern either. But something about the woman at the door disconcerted him. “Please let General Ugra know that…”
“He has already left for the palace!” The woman frowned before attempting to shut the door. 
“What? How ca…” Sukratu’s words hung in air as the door slammed on his face and the woman disappeared from his line of vision all of a sudden. Something did not feel right. He knocked at the door again. Firmly this time, as though seeking answers. Any change in the reporting time would have been announced the day before and he remembered that nothing of the sort had happened. His knocks went unanswered. Frowning and muttering under his breath, Sukratu hurried towards an empty cowshed three houses away from Ugra’s place hoping to catch his companions who he knew would be equally surprised. 
The first to arrive was Khela, the eighteen-year-old guard, holding a metal shield above his head. The newest addition to the King’s guard, Khela was related to General Ugra and Sukratu felt that his position in the King’s guard was largely a result of undue favours that Ugra showered upon an otherwise impudent boy. 
“Sukratu! By the great Varuna, I should have come to you earlier!” Khela hurried towards him. Pausing for breath, he added. “Our platoon has been given a relief tonight! It was a sudden decision and I personally informed all the others.”
“Relief for tonight? That happens only when…”
“Our guarding hours change from night to day!” Khela completed in a hurry. “Now, come with me.” He turned towards the western direction and the javelin he held started to sway dangerously and came close to grazing Sukratu’sarm. 
The older guard’s instincts made him dodge the cut. “Where?” Sukratu hissed, visibly annoyed, first with the fact that he was kept in dark about the change in guarding hours and then about Khela’s irreverent behaviour. “And watch who your weapon hurts, boy.”
Khela shrugged and changed the position of his weapon. “We are now going to the place.” He winked, stretching his hand in the direction. “Follow me, this is the only night we get to have some fun.”
Sukratu did not move. The place he knew implied the tavern where wine was served. “We cannot drink tonight, Khela. When do we have to report tomorrow? By sunrise?”
“You ask too many questions. The rest of us are there too!”
“That does not answer my question.” 
“Well, I don’t know, and I don’t care to. The palace is paying for the wine. Are you coming or not?” 
The last sentence sounded more like a threat than an invite. Sukratu had all the mind to give the youth a piece of his mind and storm back home. His daughter would be overjoyed to see him before she went to sleep. It gnawed at Sukratu’s heart every day to leave her under the care of Loha— the tramp who had begged him for shelter about six months ago and then became a part of his life. The girl liked him instantly and had begged Sukratu to let Loha live with them and he, despite his misgivings about the tramp’s origins and his unkempt appearance, could not refuse his only daughter. Over time, Sukratu felt grateful for Loha’s company. Now his daughter did not have to be all by herself every night. The guard’s home would have been unguarded if not for that stranger. Sukratu brushed aside these thoughts and had almost decided to go home when the thought of meeting other senior guards and clarifying the confusion struck him. He followed Khela’s lead, making no attempt to hide his displeasure. 
When they reached the tavern, Sukratu to his dismay, found many of his brothers in arms deeply drunk. “When did they reach here and when did they…”
“Quite some time before. I just forgot to tell you in advance!”
Sukratu’s eyes scrutinized the men and women of the tavern who were serving wine to the guards. There were no other citizens or travellers in the tavern. 
“Just for us, the whole night!” Khela said as if reading his thoughts, bringing him an earthen goblet. 
The older guard accepted the goblet taking his first sip with a sense of foreboding. 
“Where were you all the time, old friend?” The voice belonged to Tunga one of the senior guards in the platoon. 
The grin on his friend’s face brought a smile to Sukratu’s lips. “Tunga, what is this about the sudden change in our guarding hours?” 
“The King… that imbecile, has finally remembered that we are human too!” Tunga guffawed, emptying his goblet, waving vigorously at a woman of the tavern who obliged with a seductive wink. 
She approached them, skilfully distributing her attention between both the men, winking at Tunga and pouting her lips at Sukratu. Her brows rose at Sukratu’s filled cup. “Don’t keep the Sura nor this Sundari waiting, my love...” Serving Tunga his wine, she placed her fingers upon Sukratu’s shoulders, digging her nails into his skin for a moment locking her gaze with his and turned around swiftly, letting her light upper garment rest on his face for a fleeting moment. 
It was a wilful invitation and Sukratu knew it. His attention though was caught by the colour of the garment. The Indigo hued garment! All the women of the tavern wore clothes of the same colour. So did the woman he saw in General Ugra’s house! Was Ugra at home while the woman lied that he was at the palace? If the General and the whole platoon of the night guard were lying down drunk, who was minding the security of the King? Sukratu looked at the rest of the guards. No one seemed sober enough to talk. The only sober man Khela had disappeared!
“By the great Varuna!” Sukratu exclaimed aloud and rushed out, pushing the woman who tried to stop him away. 
He raced to the King’s residence, as fast as his legs could carry him. The huge wooden gates of the structure were closed and secured from inside. The rain lashed drowning his cries. Misgivings regarding the King’s welfare made him shudder. He had to meet General Ugra. Something told him that the General had his own reasons to send the whole platoon of guards to enjoy a drunk night. He was a guard who had sworn to protect the King with his life. The general owed him an answer. Sukratu rushed to General Ugra’s house determined to confront him. 
That, Sukratu realized was the biggest mistake of his life. 
At the gates of the general’s residence he saw a familiar figure hurrying out of his house, a heavy bundle on his shoulders. “General Ugra!” he called out, feeling relieved. 
The figure started, and the bundle fell to the ground. Sukratu came to a sudden halt as he realized it wasn’t a bundle after all, but a blood-drenched corpse. A stroke of lightning from the sky revealed the face and the very familiar greying curls. Sukratu froze for a long moment before he could speak.
 “K... King...”
Something hit him on the head even before he could utter the name. Sukratu staggered, reeling at the impact, clutching at his long sword in a vain attempt to defend the next move. 
“Finish him!” The General shout behind him. 
Before he turned around, Sukratu felt the cold metal tear into his back. Lightning struck revealing the contours of the person. Khela! The javelin stabbed him again. Thunder drowned his screams. Falling to the ground with the weapon still stuck to his back, Sukratu lifted his sword and managed to slash Khela’s palm though the latter, unlike him was vigilant and alert. Crawling away from the menacing duo, knowing very well that he could not last more than a few moments, Sukratu’s thoughts, went to his innocent daughter. She would now languish as an orphan remaining in dark about the monsters who killed her father. Or would they kill her too?
Sukratu would never know. 

About the Author:
Saiswaroopa is an IITian and a former investment analyst turned author. Her keen interest in ancient Indian history, literature and culture made her take to writing. Her debut novel Abhaya, set in the times of Mahabharata was published in 2015. Avishi, her second novel set in Vedic India explores the legend of India’s first mentioned female warrior queen Vishpala.
She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She is also trained in Carnatic Classical music and has won a state level gold medal from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. 

Until next time,

10 August, 2017

Vishwamitra by Dr. Vineet Aggarwal -Book Blitz

Vishwamitra by Dr. Vineet Aggarwal
Indian Mythological Fiction
~ Book Blitz ~
11th August, 2017

When Satyavati, wife of Rishi Ruchik,
exchanges with her mother the magic potion for bearing a child, they change not
just their children’s destiny, but also the history of mankind. Born of this
mix up is Vishwamitra, the son of a Kshatriya, who strives to become a
Brahmarishi—the ultimate and most powerful of all Gurus.

Vishwamitra is the powerful story of a
brave but stubborn, haughty yet compassionate, visionary king of Aryavarta who
not only acquires material wealth through military conquests but also becomes
one of the most well-known sages of all times.

5 lesser known facts about Vishwamitra

Almost everyone would have heard the name of Vishwamitra and some may even know of his dalliance with Menaka, or the role he played in the Ramayan but even those who are familiar with his name, may not know these five things about him:
  1. Vishwamitra was born a Kshatriya prince and he reached the status of Brahmarishi, the highest possible rank for a Brahmin only through his tremendous effort!
  2. He is the discoverer of the Gayatri Mantra that is spoken by millions of Hindus even today all over the globe! 
  3. He is associated with two major Avatars of Lord Vishnu - Parshuram, the 6th incarnation was his grand-nephew while he himself became the Guru of Shri Raam, the 7th incarnation.
  4. Vishwamitra’s daughter Shakuntala gave birth to Bharat, the King who gave India its official name – Bhaarat.
  5. He is credited with the remarkable feat of creating actual star systems purely on the basis of his mystical powers & the stars he created can still be seen in the southern hemisphere as the Crux. 
About the Author

Dr. Vineet
Aggarwal is described by many as a doctor by qualification, manager by
profession and artist by temperament. Born in a family of doctors, he
successfully completed an initial stint with the family occupation before
deciding to venture into pharmaceutical management and currently pursues
writing and photography as a passion.

He is the author
of popular online blogs ‘Decode Hindu Mythology’ and ‘Fraternity Against
Terrorism and Extremism’ and the author of books ‘Vishwamitra – The Man who
dared to challenge the Gods’ and ‘The Legend of Parshu-Raam’

Until next time,

Coffee with you #WriteBravely - WTFOW Day 7

I am participating in Write Tribe Festival of words and today's prompt is 'If we were having coffee..'

Photo by Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash
If we were having coffee, I will fill the hot coffee in a cup and hand over to you with blue berry muffins or chocolate chip cookies.  I would ask you if you need extra sugar.  I would make you sit in my balcony which has good mountain view and ensure that you are comfortable.

If we were having coffee, I would tell  you that I enjoyed participating in Write Tribe festival of words this week and how much I loved reading my fellow bloggers' posts.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I couldn't read much this week. I would also tell you that I picked up a new book to read 'Indira : India's most powerful Prime minister' by Sagarika Ghose. I will tell you that I am looking forward to finish 'The Lost symbol' by Dan Brown.

If  we were having coffee, I would tell you how much I enjoyed visiting a theme park last weekend with my family. I would also tell you that I was scared for most of the rides and just closed my eyes praying that the ride would end soon :-)

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I didn't go for my daily walking this week. I would tell you that my son's school will be starting from next week and I am not very happy about getting up early from next week. :-(

If we were having coffee, I would thank you for your time and a nice chat. I would wave you bye and invite you for coffee in the next week.

Until next time,

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6

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