Thursday, April 2, 2015


"BlogAdda invites you to take a pledge that you will #ShareTheLoad of household chores and not burden just one family member. Gentlemen, we want you to take up this challenge to give the ladies of the house some respite from doing the laundry, and blog about the experience."

As soon as I read the above lines from BlogAdda, I really wanted to write on this. Well, since I have been away from my home for quite some time now and I do the washing chores all by myself. So yeah I am looking for an opportunity where I get a respite from this. Of course, I get some respite when I back home but even then I still wash.

Well, I think I should give you a brief washing background and thus the washing history of men like me. Men who can relate to washing but were never able to (nor find time to) write a Washing story.

Long long ago, in the days of ‘Washing powder Nirma’ jingle before this thing called washing machine was bought at home, my mom wanted me to wash clothes. Somehow at that point of time, I thought washing clothes was the most boring household chore on earth. Arranging the books in my shelf, shopping for some errands from the market and even washing my dinner plate seemed to be better. Washing clothes was however the most boring job

I still grumble when I think about the day I spent 1 hour washing clothes trying to make my vest as clean as the one shown in those silly advertisements.  But that never happened. After that I accepted the truth and washed on.

However I have realized that I spend quite a good part of my life washing clothes. I have stayed away from my family in the last 1.5 years and so I have been washing clothes without a washing machine.  In fact, twice in the last 2 weeks I was washing clothes but remembered about the Ariel matic powder only after finishing the weekly washing. The fact that Blog Adda have promoted Ariel matic using the Washing machine picture hasn't really helped. 

I wash clothes. But then I usually don’t use a Washing machine. This I think is the story of the Indian male. For a moment, let’s keep all these fancy reports aside. I now wonder that there is gender stereotyping here and it is against men and not against women.

We wash clothes but then it is such a mundane weekend (read Sunday late night) activity that there is little excitement doing it. I once remember even damaging my phone trying to click a silly picture while washing my clothes.  I wasn't really sure if I should do that this time. 

Luckily I have traveled to my native place this week. Now I have a washing machine around and thus the inclination to write about Ariel matic. (We are finally done with the background story for that. Phew!!!)

As I was about to begin the #WashBucketChallenge, I discovered that I could count the number of times I used a washing machine. It was not more than 5 times for sure.  So then, BlogAdda and Ariel matic have indeed succeeded in pushing me to do something that I am not really used to doing. I am indeed doing a #Sharetheload with my family.

Now finally for a few words on the product – Ariel Matic Washing powder

  •  I have used the Ariel matic power to wash my not-really-dirty clothes. Unfortunately these clothes aren't really dirty and so I can’t really tell you how effectively Ariel matic removes stains like curry, chocolate, ink etc
  • The powder is very light. This means that the quantity of the powder that you get for a fixed weight would be higher than the quantity of a heavier powder.
  •  The washing powder does a clean job washing the clothes and gets them to shine. It also leaves an aromatic fragrance on the clothes
  •  The quantity of powder that is needed to wash a certain number of clothes is also less as compared to other powders. This is perhaps why Ariel products are priced higher than the other products like Tide.
  •  Ariel should perhaps promote more such sample since a middle class family like ours usually gets intimidated seeing the price of Ariel products. This is what my Dad says. (Yet another Male consumer insight about #washingpowders). However using this sample has showed that the amount of powder that is needed is less which perhaps explains the price. 
This post is a part of the #WashBucketChallenge activity at is association with Ariel India' in your blog post.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ramayana - The Game of Life - Book Review

Book: Ramayana – The Game of Life
Author: Shubha Vilas
Number of Pages: 387

‘Ramayana – The Game of Life’ is the latest book by Shubha Vilas. This is his second book in the Ramayana Series and a sequel to ‘Rise of the Sun Prince’.  It is really fascinating to see how authors in the modern day are writing on ancient ithihasas like Ramayana and Mahabharata. With Shubha Vilas’s first book being a best seller and getting lots of positive reviews, I was keen on reading this sequel. Reading this book has been a different experience from reading other books. Although it gets a bit preachy at time, the connections that are made with the story and the learning based on the various instances in the story is pretty interesting.

 Shubha Vilas book ‘Ramayana – The Game of Life’ – Shattered Dreams is based on Rama’s exile. The story starts with King Dasaratha decides to step down and crown Rama as the ruler of Ayodhya. This is when the boon that Dasaratha gives Keikeyi in the past comes into the picture. Keikeyi asks for 2 boons and insists on her son Bharata being crowned the King of Ayodhya instead of Rama and Rama being sent to exile for 14 years.  The rest of the story talks about how Rama and Sita react to this setback positively and head for the exile.

Having read the entire Ramayana story in 250-300 pages or through Amar Chitra Katha comics, reading this book has been completely different experience. With close to 400 pages being dedicated to this story, the author presents the thinking and the emotions behind each of the decisions that happened during the course of this story. This detail also helps in showing the shades of each character (which is what happens in real life) instead of showing them in black and white.

The story also explores various other smaller stories connected to the main one. There is this part which explains how Dasaratha gives boons to Keikeyi and also on how Dasagriva transforms to Ravana. I never had a chance to read any of these in such detail.

There is analysis in boxes at various points in the story which conveys the larger message to the world to be learnt from the story. In addition to this, there are notes presented in that bottom of each page that present aspects  to learn and understand  from the story and this is where Shubha Vilas shows how there is so much to learn from Ramayana.  These notes present the hidden text and implicit meaning in some of statements that are made by the characters in the story. As someone who writes, I thought this was also a lesson in writing knowing what to reveal and what to convey through the hidden meaning while crafting a story.

It is fascinating to read how modern day authors write on an ancient ithihasas like Ramayana. I enjoyed reading this book and I am now looking to get a different perspective on the same story. I intend to get started on Ashok Banker’s Series of Ramayana which I believe will explore Ramayana in a very different way and present a new perspective.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

God is a Gamer– Book Review

Book: God is a Gamer
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Number of Pages: 310

‘God is a gamer’ is a book by Ravi Subramanian, who is one among the new generation of Indian authors.  Ravi Subramanian is a banker by profession and has written popular thrillers that are based in the banking world. I enjoyed reading his book ‘Bankster’ a couple of years ago and was really excited to read ‘God is a Gamer’ which has been marketed as the world’s first novel on Bitcoins.

The story starts with the assassination of a politician in USA.  This is immediately followed by a Phishing scam where the customers of a reputed International bank in India start losing money. Consequently, the company that manages the card operations for the bank is also in trouble. Back in the US, 5 million dollars are stolen in 2 days from 520 ATMs in New York in an ATM heist. Meanwhile in India, a powerful woman who is the ex-CEO of the bank is murdered.  In the midst of all this, there is a love story and some snippets on the personal lives of all the characters involved.

Ravi Subramanian does a great job connecting all these various sub-plots in the story through the different characters.  The story also moves at a quick pace with the scenes shifting from US to India and vice-versa across the different chapters. This is precisely the reason why the book is unputdownable and can be finished in 1-3 readings. Coming from the banking industry, Ravi also explains the technical details of the banking industry in a language that is understood by a layman.

The best part of the story is the fact it is based on the latest happenings in the technology, internet, social media space like Bitcoins, Facebook, Gaming Apps etc. This gives a very real world connect to the book. The fictional part is brilliantly integrated into all these things. This is where Ravi Subramanian hits the bull’s eye. I mean which youngster wouldn’t be interested when you talk of Facebook, Zynga and Gaming apps and then add the murder/heist/thriller layer on top it.

The other aspect of the movie is that there is no clear protagonist who calls the shots and drives the story. This makes the plot interesting which is very essential for a thriller. I wish Bollywood take a look at this book and have someone direct a movie based on it.

The only flip side of the book I thought was the ending. It is s a bit of let down which gets a tad predictable. I would have preferred the last 10 pages to be something else. But perhaps it is the element in these 10 pages which make the movie ideal for a Bollywood potboiler – Revenge!

On the whole, it’s a very good read. It is also interesting to read books that are based on an industry (Banking in this case) rather on mere personal lives or love stories.  Kudos to Ravi Subramanian for doing that on a consistent basis through his books based on Banking. This is a must read for the Ravi Subramanian fans and a decent read for the rest.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Missing ( Part 4)

Part 1

Team of Writers - Tete-a-Ten

Kalvani Bakery, Juhu, Mumbai – 20:00

Cyrus Daruwalla was lost in his thoughts sitting outside the Kalvani Bakery in Juhu.  With a beard on his chin, extremely fair complexion, thick framed specs and loose Kurtas he looked like a script writer looking for ideas for his new movie. Cyrus however was a law student from Delhi. He had come to Mumbai for his friend’s wedding.

He didn’t like the Mumbai weather. He preferred the Delhi heat over this humidity which really drove him crazy. He had decided years ago that he would avoid visiting the city in the future. But then he had to be there that day.

It wasn’t his friend’s wedding. He had a bigger, more important reason to be in Mumbai that day. None of his friends knew about it. He didn’t want to tell anyone since it wouldn’t help his cause. It was time for him to handle it all by himself. He was quite worried about it. He knew this would his last chance. It was Now or Never for him.  He didn’t know whether this was the right thing to do at this point of time, but he really had no option. 

“Cool down! Cyrus! It will be fine. You will get it right.  This shouldn’t be a problem for a six feet hunk like you”, he told himself. 

Cyrus got up and started walking towards the ice-cream trolley that was parked at the corner of the lane. 

Once he was near it, he reached for his wallet and asked for a Chocolate ice-cream cone.  He gave the cone to the nine year old girl who was with him.

A visiting card had slipped out and floated to the ground when Cyrus opened his wallet. It lay there behind a discarded ice-cream cup.

There was something handwritten on the other side of the visiting card.
It read ‘Mission Roohi – Do it Today .

Ramada Hotel, Juhu, Mumbai – 20:15 

Meanwhile, the picture that she clicked disturbed Jennifer very much. What was the tall guy planning?  Was there some kind of drug in the ice-cream that Roohi was having? The tall guy with curly hair was like the cool dude you see in the movies and ads. But then that was no reason to believe that he had noble intentions and that he wouldn't harm the girl.

She wondered if the tall guy was Roohi’s relative or a family friend. But if he was, her parents would immediately contact him. So Roohi’s parents definitely didn’t know this guy. She closely examined the photo  again.There was no trace of fear on Roohi’s face.  A kid would only be happy when a stranger offered her an ice-cream.  May be the tall guy was trying to keep her happy so that she didn’t create a nuisance before he took her away to a lonely spot.

May be the tall guy wasn’t alone. May be he was just assisting someone kidnap the girl. Given his good looks, he might have been hired by some goons to kidnap the girl and hand her over to them. Jennifer’s mind was jammed with all these thoughts when she realized that was losing time by pondering about all this. She had to reach Roohi’s parents.

She immediately opened the Facebook page, saw the number in the post and tried calling Tara. Out of coverage area was the response that she had got. She immediately tried messaging Tara on Facebook but couldn’t as she wasn’t her friend. She sent a friend request. She felt that it wasn’t a good idea to post the information that she had on a public forum.

The Dutta’s Residence, Mumbai 20:00

Tara was quite irritated with the responses that she got on Facebook. She was looking for information out there and not sympathy messages. She wondered how she reacted when she saw such messages. She would always dismiss them as useless content that spammed her wall. She now prayed that others don't do that with her post and instead gave her some information about her missing daughter.

Shekhar was calm thinking of the various places where his daughter could go. He had taught Roohi to assess strangers and watch out for certain signs. More importantly, he had taught her to trust her instincts. May be a child's instincts could be swayed. Could this have acted against her right now? He hoped and prayed that she would have the presence of mind to cry out and and alert passersby if she really was kidnapped.  He closed his eyes and told himself that worrying about Roohi wouldn’t help him or Tara. He was going to stay positive and find a way out.

There were a few messages where the people who claimed to have seen a girl but ended up providing irrelevant information when she called them. Tara noticed a new comment that provided some irrelevant information. This really irked Tara.

“Facebook is bull shit. How can someone from Bangalore contact us without even reading the complete information that Roohi is lost in Mumbai? “ she shouted at Shekhar.

“Tara, we don’t have a choice. Do we? We cannot ignore any message just because we got 10 irrelevant calls. There might be someone who might actually spot Roohi and contact us” said Shekhar trying to pacify Tara and making sure that they left no stone unturned to find Roohi.

“I don’t think so. We are in a panic mode out here and this seems to be some kind of entertainment to all these fools on Facebook," replied Tara switching off her mobile data connection that was draining her battery.

Read the next part of 'Missing' here.

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Private India - Book Review

Book: Private India
Author: Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson
Number of Pages: 470

Private India is the latest book by Ashwin Sanghi. He joins hands with James Patterson, a well known international author in his latest book.  I was looking forward to read this book having thoroughly enjoyed reading Ashwin Sanghi’s earlier book - ‘Chanakya’s Chant’. After having completed reading the book, I have to say that the book is a good read.

Private India is about a series of seemingly unrelated murders that happen in Mumbai.  Private India is the international investigation agency that takes up the assignment of tracing the criminal responsible for these murders. Lead by Santosh Wagh, the head of Private India, the team earnestly goes about the investigation process to discover that that there is a bigger danger that is about to hit them. How the team manages to foil the antagonist’s attempts to do this takes us to the end of this interesting case.

The story is narrated at a fast pace with backgrounds of different characters in the story being unveiled at different junctures.  Each of these personal backgrounds is connected to the main plot to establish why a particular character is behaving in a particular manner. It is interesting to note that each of the characters is portrayed in grey as it happens in real life rather in absolute black and white.

At one point in the novel, the criminal’s rational for killing the victim’s bear some resemblance with the 1995 David Fincher American thriller film ‘Seven’. However as one goes further in the story, it is revealed that the killer’s motive are personal unlike the killer in Seven who kills his victims based on the seven deadly sins.  

With the setting in Mumbai,   the story is quite Indian and at times Bollywood like in terms of ending and storytelling. The story sticks to the Bollywood style of holding terrorist organizations in Pakistan responsible for creating panic in India. In a way it is apt that the characters especially the antagonist in the story motivated by personal vengeance like in a Bollywood movie.  May be the ending could have been different instead of the protagonist bashing all the goons and doing the rescue act like we have witnessed in a zillion regional/Bollywood movies before.

I was slightly disappointed with the book having read Ashwin Sanghi’s ‘Chanakya’s Chant’ where the Indian cultural/historical angle in the story was weaved quite well.  In this book, there are times where the cultural connect with Goddess Durga to each of the murders appearing out of place in the given context. Also one is left to wonder if the there is a foreign guy in the story just because there is a foreign author working on the story. Is there really a need for one in the plot? The story could have adopted a more Indian approach or a completely global approach.

The book  however does a decent job in terms of holding the reader’s interest, the book . I enjoyed reading it  and it kept me engrossed all through. You might want to grab a copy of it if you are interested in thrillers and murder mysteries.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Deliberate Sinner - Book review

The Deliberate Sinner – Book Review
Book:  The Deliberate Sinner
Author: Bhaavna Arora
Number of Pages: 148

The Deliberate Sinner is the story of Rihana, an adventurous and free spirited girl who marries Veer, an eligible bachelor from a wealthy family. Almost immediately after accepting Veer’s proposal, Rihana starts fearing that Veer and she are very different individuals whose needs and priorities in life are strikingly dissimilar.

Bowing to the family and societal pressures, she goes ahead and marries Veer. However, she soon finds the going tough with Veer after marriage and realizes that he is insensitive to her physical and emotional needs. Unable to find any happiness in her marriage, Rihana now decides to walk out of her marriage and divorce Veer. How she manages to find freedom fighting the pressure from her family and society and ends up being The Deliberate Sinner forms the rest of the story.

The book is an easy read like most of the books by the new generation Indian writers. Although, the modern Indian woman is changing with times, she still has to mold her life according to what her family or her husband decides. The author Bhaavna Arora connects to the modern Indian woman by placing her protagonist Rihana in exactly the same situation – where she wants to live a life of her choice but is burdened by the worries of her mother and demands of her husband.

The author is successful in terms of expressing the conflict that Rihana goes through trying to be the good traditional married wife and still fulfilling her physical and emotional needs. Thankfully, Rihana chooses what is important for her rather than sticking with her husband and doing what her family and society wanted her to do.

As a reader, I found it surprising that a rich, adventurous and a free spirited girl like Rihana turned very accommodating and adjusting by nature once she got married.  When I pondered over it, I felt that the same thing happens in the outside world in our country where a girl who lives the life of princess before marriage is often forced to conform to the norms of the society and the requirements of her husband and family. The author does a good job conveying this message through her story.

I was not too sure if the book should have been titled ‘The Deliberate Sinner’.  In order to find her freedom keeping her family and mother happy, Rihana ends up planning an escape route and call herself the ‘Deliberate Sinner’.  What Rihana did was the best thing to get out of the mess she is in and this act can’t be a sin. At least, she shouldn't be calling it a sin. There would have been some guilt when Rihana did what she did to be a free bird, but calling herself a Sinner even a deliberate the book ends  on a negative note. 

The fact that book is titled with the same name puts the protagonist in a more negative shade than what she deserves. May be this is why the author has a message on the first page which says ‘Hate the Sin Not the Sinner’. Unfortunately, this is the feeling of guilt that an Indian woman has to go through in such a situation and maybe that’s the reason for the title.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I was near my bike. I was angry and irritated with Shruti. She was supposed to say sorry to me.  She didn’t call me since the 3-4 days thanks to the stupid Out Bound Learning Programme (OBL) for her team. 

I expressed my displeasure to her and I got it back from her. You –do- not- understand-how-busy-I-am and all that stuff. I was waiting for a sorry from her and now she shouted at me and made me feel so guilty that I was wondering if I should tell her sorry. 

My damn bike also seemed to be in that kind of a mood. It wasn’t starting. I wondered why. After a minute of repeatedly kicking the kick rod with all my energy, I realized that I didn’t switch on the engine.

This normally would have invited a tap on the head from Shruti. A sheepish grin on my face would follow. Now that she decided not to come with me, there was no grin.

Instead only 4 letter words were to be heard #&%*. My bike surely would abandon me and run away if it was human.

I drove for less than 1 km before a red signal stopped me. The bike was on neutral gear but I was accelerating it so much that the uncle on the Honda Activa next to me gave me a hard stare. I gave back a cold – I- don’t- care look.

The green signal ended the battle of stares and I saw the uncle grumbling. May be he was lamenting about me and the present day generation to his wife in the pillion seat.

It was all the rage on Shruti in my mind as I was driving. I was driving faster and without a care for anyone around me. There were lots of buses on the road and the traffic was moving slowly. 

There were 2 buses in front of me very close to each other. Initially these were like 2 parallel lines with space between them but then they came so close that they almost seemed to intersect. 

The passengers in one of the buses was spitting on the road between the two buses. “What an idiot”, I thought.

Less than a minute later I found myself to be bigger idiot as my bike stood right next to his seat in the bus. I didn’t know how I managed to get between the buses and the distance between them was getting too close for me. 

At one instant, I found the buses aligned in such a manner that there was no space for me to move.  I stopped my bike and was trying to get it out of the mess moving front or back. But I wasn’t able to.

Damn Shruti! I was so lost about our fight that my brain wasn’t coordinating my driving.  I could hear a lot of voices of the people in the bus damning me and this included the idiot who spit on the road earlier.

They asked me to stay still in the same position so that one of the buses would move. Finally I was out the mess with around 20-30 people staring at me. But still I couldn’t care less.

How could Shruti do this to me?  I never understand when she claims to be busy. Couldn’t she call me up once and talk to me for 5-10 minutes?

It was always I who called and she would talk for less than a minute or two with me. I guess she doesn’t care for me now.

I was also worried about the morons in her team. They didn’t seem to have any other work except getting her involved in every small issue.

I mean the earth wouldn’t stop rotating if Shruti was not in a meeting. They were all planning for the corporate 10km run this weekend.

I took a right near a crossroads that did not have any signals. For a moment, I saw all the morons in Shruti’s team running across the road in the same direction that I was driving .

I wondered why? Was this the preparation for the marathon? Were they trying to impress Shruti?

HONK! There was a bus coming from the other direction honking its soul out. I was right in front of the bus. I realized I was the only vehicle trying to cross the road.  I accelerated and moved ahead to give way to the bus.

The morons who were crossing the road were regular people and not Shruti’s team mates. With me in the HATE Shruti mood, everything around seemed to be someone related to her. Ha… What a day!

Two stunts from me on the road and I was still halfway away from home. May be I shouldn’t drive whenever we fight. Perhaps the government should have a DON’T FIGHT & DRIVE rule for guys. And they shouldn’t let girls drive at all.

I wondered what Shruti would be doing that moment? Would she be cursing me like the way I was cursing her? I preferred that to Shruti not thinking about me at all.  How could she even do that?

May be one of her project managers offered to drop her home. There was not one project manager who would do it for me. At some distance I saw Shruti getting out of a car.  That looked like her Project manager’s car.

Was I lost again? Everyone on the road seemed to be like Shruti and her team.  But then I suddenly realized that I wasn’t getting my driving right.

I was racing towards her Project manager’s car and I was too close. I wasn’t sure if that was her PM or not but I was sure about racing towards the car.

I turned to move towards the right. As luck would have it, the driver opened the door of the car and I banged into it. Luckily the driver moved inside seeing me and my bike racing.

After 3 years

It has been quite some time since the traffic incident happened. I was lucky that day and escaped that day with some bruises and cuts. It was Shruti that day and the poor driver was indeed her Project manager. After more such fights and peace attempts , we got married a year and a half ago.

My traffic adventure that day thanks to the Shrutified effect on my brain that day was a major point on my CV that was presented to her parents.

There were a many aunts pinching my cheeks hard and red teasing me that Shruti is always on my mind. Shruti had the blushiest blush whenever anyone asked her about the incident.

Shrutified was now a common term among my friends and relatives. When someone said a guy is Shrutified, it meant that the guy was so hopelessly in love with a girl that she was always on his mind- especially in the traffic.

Things have changed a bit after marriage. We have had a big fight 3 days ago. We work at the same work place and I drive her by car to office everyday.

The drive to office hasn’t been a pleasant one since 3 days considering the fact that is one time when Shruti finds me listening to her sitting at one place.

This is what happened today morning.

Shruti: You no longer love me the way you did before marriage.
Me: Of course, I do love you. What makes you think so.
Shruti: Do you remember the traffic incident?
Me: Of course, how can I forget that? Silly you. I was Shrutified.
Shruti:  That day you were so concerned about me and thinking about me, that you were lost  in the traffic. I have been yelling at you since the last 3 days in the car and I see no effect on you whatsoever. You don’t love me anymore.

I stopped my car as we reached our workplace.

Shruti looked irritated perhaps by the fact that I was able to drive and stop as I do it daily without the slightest hint that would reflect my reaction.

“Go to hell”, said Shruti and stepped out of my car.

I was surprised too. My mind was now able to put Shruti and driving in separate compartments.

Did I not care for her? Of course I did. Of course I loved her as much as I did then.
Perhaps it was the adrenalin and the youthful zest that made me react that way back then.

I guess I am now more experienced with the whole girl err woman err Shruti thing and immune to her bad moods.

Of course I can't ram my car into a truck every other day just because we fought at home.   You know luck might not be on my side always.

I now understand what people mean when they say a marriage will bring stability to a man’s life.  

I can’t quite remember the last time I was totally Shrutified. But I definitely had to come up with a reasonable explanation to Shruti today evening. If not, I was sure to be crucified.

May be I should just tell her that traffic in Hyderabad has improved dramatically since the last 3 years!