Saturday, February 27, 2016

In Other Words - By Jhumpa Lahiri - Book Review

I have heard a lot about Indian origin author Jhumpa Lahiri, might have even read some of her work in the past, but when I got my hands on this book, it had been a really long time since I had read anything written by her. Also, to note, I am mostly an avid fiction reader, and non-fiction is something I usually avoid, but one of my last read - Big Magic, had got me more inclined to read non-fiction.

About the book - 

In Other Words is at heart a love story - of a writer's passion for another language. For Jhumpa Lahiri, that love was for Italian, which first captivated her during a trip to Florence after college. Although Lahiri studied Italian for many years afterward, true mastery eluded her. So in 2012, she decided to move to Rome where she began to read, and to write - initially in her journal - solely in Italian. In Other Words, an autobiographical work written in Italian, investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language and describes the journey of a writer seeking a new voice.

First to talk about the cover, an absolutely elegant looking hard cover with the author herself posing deep in thought. I'm so inspired by her, taking on a challenge of not only learning but solely writing in another language altogether and having someone else translate the book for her in English. Bravo! Her story and journey towards the love of Italian is so inspiring, I am determined to learn a new language of my own (Though not Italian, from what she's told, it seems pretty tough!) In the entire book she's taken the readers through her struggle, both internal and external; and how she didn't give up and kept following her dream and passion, however insane it seemed. If you are an aspiring author, or love to write, or love to learn different languages, or travel; you will enjoy this book and it will definitely ignite a fire within you too.

Get the book on Flipkart, currently at a 30% discount. eBook available too.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Face Change Armed with a Plan - #Khudkokarbuland

Life is uncertain. Change is the only constant. In today’s day and age, everything is unpredictable, a natural disaster could destroy your home in minutes; a chronic health disease could pop-up out of nowhere, you never know if this was the last time you bid goodbye to your loved one when they’re heading to work or out for errands.

I’m not trying to scare you or make you think negatively here. I’m just stating the sad truth of life, but had you been prepared for the worst, life would have been better. Let me give you a few real life examples from some people I personally know.

My dad has met with a lot of motor-accidents in his life. A couple of times they were really bad. By God’s grace he always recovers, because he always thinks positively and has stability. Years ago he once caught a flu that had him bed-ridden and away from work for a month. But because he had savings, a cooperating family and office staff, and most importantly self-confidence and determination, he managed to take care of work right from home. And whatever loss (lack of profit) incurred, he didn’t worry about it, and simply worked harder later to recover it. Such is the nature of humans, the never give up attitude.

My husband (then boyfriend) on one of our trips to Goa, fell in the darkness along with the two-wheeler because it was rainy and the bike skid and slipped into a black hole. It was 4am at night and hence we couldn’t even see where he went. All of us screamed and were in shock. In a minute or two, he came up climbing on vines and branches and announced that he was alright. Though he was in shock, there was no wound on him. It was like spider-man had taken over his body and mind for that time being. We later recovered the two-wheeler with the help of some locals, which had broken. I cannot even imagine what would have happened if he did not have the presence of mind to grasp whatever he could and climb up. Today we tell this story to friends, and laugh it off.

Another unpredictable event of my life was the arrival of my baby. He came into the world when we had least expected, and basically were not prepared. Though he is the best thing that’s happened to me, I do wish that I had been given the time to prepare for his arrival, mentally, financially etc.  To add on to the unpredictability, I had an emergency c-section even though the doctor had said that it’s going to be a normal delivery, and had a lot of blood loss and took months to recover completely.

I’m sure even most of you have yourself or know someone who has similar stories of how life has taken sharp turns without you bring prepared for them. Take a look at this video and see another example of unpredictable life –

To keep moving ahead in this unpredictable life, it’s very important to have a backup plan, a hidden superpower or in plain words, Insurance. That’s what Birla Sun Life Insurance is trying to say with their video. We need to go forward fearlessly with the battle cry of #KhudKoKarBuland. And being fearless is possible only when back in the mind we know that everything will be alright, irrespective of the outcome of the situation.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

#StatementFurniture with Asian Paints

Last weekend, I was invited to Colours Store by Asian Paints store, at Hill Road, Bandra for a bloggers meet. I haven't really had the opportunity to renovate my room in a long time, and we usually go for ready-made houses and don't get much changed in it, so I was quite out of loop when it came to what's new in the decor industry. Well, I was in for a pleasant surprise!

The beautiful Colours Store
Entire store has so much to offer, different decor, colours, styles and so much creativity, it almost felt as if I was walking through some kind of Art Gallery. I was taking pictures like crazy! There were different set-ups made, and the entire store is very tech-savvy where at the entrance you get a smartphone that you can use to scan the QR codes of any decor theme you like, and at the end, take home a catalog.

Source: Instagram - @stunningmoon

There also are 2 photo-booths of sorts, where you can take pictures, and again scan the barcode to get your picture printed. I'm sure it's things like these that attract customers and excite them. Even the accompanying kids have a lot to get thrilled by. So a visit to the store is a lot more like a fun expedition than a chore.

Me, Bhakti & Ekta posing for the photo!

I absolutely loved the Wall textures by Sabyasachi, as well as the floral themed bedroom. It was hard to believe that you can achieve so much with just wood. With the right kind of paint, you can make wood look like marble, metal, plastic etc. You can even paint glass and make it look so much more elegant! The things you can experiment with and do are definitely beyond imagination. And I even learnt colour of the year - Coral Radiance.

My most favourite theme. I could totally live here.
I had heard of glow in the dark paint, but saw it in reality for the first time at this store. And to talk about walls in the children's room with magnetic movable pieces! I had such strong #HomeDecorGoals after the entire tour.

That green glass! Beautiful!
We were also a batch of privileged bloggers who got to know about Asian Paint's latest innovating campaign where the collaborated with three designers/artists and as a result came up with 3 sets of masterpieces, all made out of wood. The pictures we saw looks just surreal, you can go check the real-deal at India Design Week happening in Delhi.

Our redecorated furniture!
We also had a fun session where as a team we had to revamp a piece of furniture. This is what our team did, and we were quite happy with the end result. We had some snacks thanks to the snack box by Moshe's. And were finally sent back with a goodies bag that had a notebook, pendrive, a wooden box and quilling paper to decorate the box on our own, and some Asian Paints samples.

If you think you want to refresh your furniture without actually buying new furniture, it's absolutely possible with the different options by Asian Paints. Take a look at the amazing options here - If you reside in Mumbai, do make it a point to visit the Colours store at Bandra! They also have a store at Delhi & Kolkata. Whenever I renovate my home, I now know where to go and what to do!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

#LoveAndLaughter #ValentinesDaySpecial

This incident was back in 2009 when me and my then boyfriend (now husband) had just started dating and had gone to Alibaug for a overnight trip with both his friends and mine. 

We were really excited about it because this was the first weekend getaway we had together. There were delays in us hitting the road, and we only reached the bungalow we had booked by dinner time. All of us had dinner as we were ravenous and ofcourse there was beer and wine. 

Taking selfies before the coin was termed! The next morning at Alibuag.
Soon we were all in high spirits and all of us decided to go to the private beach which was just few minutes walk from the property. There was a very narrow path amidst the palm trees and wild plants that led to the beach. It was a beautiful night, with a cool breeze, no moon and only stars shining bright (Which we could see from here, unlike the polluted city where we can hardly see as many stars twinkling).

We all were sitting and chatting, laughing and having a good time. Soon, me and Koshik decided to go for a walk and come. We were the newest couple in the group and were being teased right from the beginning of the trip. We kept walking, hand in hand, along the shore; talking about random things and nothingness, enjoying each other's company. We didn't even realise how far we walked.

I suggested that we go back to the group, they'd probably be waiting up for us. We took a U-turn and started walking back. Now for some reason, we kept walking and walking but didn't find our friends. Or the way back to the bungalow. I tried calling my friends, but there was no network or mobile signal at the beach, on both our phones. We even tried shouting out their names, but there was absolute silence. Even if they would have tried calling us, they wouldn't get through coz of the network issue.
The path that led to the beach, no wonder we got lost in the darkness.
Normally, this would have been a tense situation, but I don't know why, we found it absolutely funny. We weren't scared or anxious, but were laughing out loud about the fact that we were lost on a beach! Who could've imagined that? We tried to make the way out with the limited light from our phones (we didn't have smartphones that came with flashlights back then, so had to make do with front screen's light). But we just couldn't find the way at all.

After a while we simply gave up, I suggested to him that let's not exhaust the phone's draining battery too, and simply enjoy the beach all to ourselves. We stayed up all night, with the stars, and each other for company, and kept laughing about the fact that this just happened. I started feeling cold, and he took off his shirt and gave it to me (he was wearing a t-shirt beneath it of-course). 

We had the most amazing night, and it has become a memory that is etched in our heart forever, and is always something we remember nostalgically and laugh about and tell the story to our friends and family and laugh about it.

Oh, you must be wondering what happened eventually. Around 5.30-6am the sun woke up from it's siesta and we could finally see around. The path back to the bungalow was just steps away from where we had made camp, so it was hilarious that we were so near, yet so far. Finally we went back to see all our friends fast asleep, and we freshened up and tired, but very happy, went to sleep ourselves. Later when we told them about what happened, they started teasing us with the name 'Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. 

This post is a part of #LoveAndLaughter activity at BlogAdda in association with Caratlane.