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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Demons of Chitrakut by Ashok Banker - A Book Review




This book and the next book in the series (Armies of Hanuman) have been with me for over 4 years now. I don’t know what took me so long to read this one especially when I totally loved reading the first two books of the series. I get lesser time to read these days and after not reading a single page for days at a stretch, I started longing to read something. That’s when I decided to read the books that have been sitting on my shelf untouched for long.

Ashok Banker has weaved magic through his books on mythology. In his Ramayana series, he has taken the liberty to use his own imagination and innovative story telling in narrating the epic saga. So, prospective readers keep in mind that this is not the so-called original version but a somewhat spiced up version of Ramayana. The author has made the reading experience a lot more dramatic. 

The previous book of this series concluded with Rama using ‘Brahma Astra’ to annihilate the Asura army that were all set to attack the city of Mithila. In this book, the story progresses further. Rama and his newly wedded wife Sita are welcomed in Ayodhya in all pomp and glory. While the citizens are all jubilant there is something not right in the palace – Asura sorcery is at play and it will have damning consequences for Rama. The reader is likely to be transported right into the happening in the streets of Ayodhya as he leafs through the pages of the book. 

The problems of the prince Rama are going to get a new height – a scheming Manthara has got the lust-laden Keikayi in control and soon Rama would leave the royal palace and head to live in the forest in exile for 14 years. The beauty of the book is that even though most Indian readers already have an inkling of what happens in Ramayana, they look forward to see how the author is going to narrate it. There is so much action happening in the book that the reader in you would want to set aside all works and continue with book.

However, this book is not without its share of flaws. There are parts in the book, where it seems that the author has gone overboard in describing the details of an incident and there are parts which seems rushed upon. For example, the demise of Manthara has been written in details but the passing away of Dasaratha were described in a few lines. Also, at times the narration in the book faltered. I would have liked it better if the pace of storytelling did not vary too much. 

Another thing that kept me reading the book was to find out about the demons of the Chitrakut. As it is the title of the book, I was hoping that they would be central to this book in some way. However, it is only near the very end of the book does the reader get introduced to these demons. Where and how – it is something you will know when you read the entire book.

Even though I can go on and on about what await you in the book, I sincerely think that you should better read it to find out more. Even with all its flaws, it is a great read and will keep any mythology lover hooked.

I am also finished with the book 4 of the series – Armies of Hanuman and will write about it soon. So, stay tuned and happy reading.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

AskMe.com Foodies Pune Meetup at Le Meridian


Askme.com organized the first ever foodies meet in Pune at the Le Meridian Hotel on 28th March 2015. I was quite excited to be a part of  it and I tagged my foodie DH along with me to the event.

The idea of the event was to bring together foodies in the city to promote the brand Askme.com.

A little bit about what exactly Askme.com is. Askme.com is a disruptive new age consumer brand and is being promoted as the "BAPP of all apps". It offers a platform that seamlessly ties search, classified (post an ad), deals (buy now) and commerce. It helps users to have access to hyper-local information 24×7. 

As of now, there are 6 communities on Askme.com, namely Travel, Wellness, Education, Interiors, Weddings and Fashion.

The concept of www.askme.com is quite revolutionary! It aims to provide users everything they need - all in one place. Their brand ambassador is the Bollywood Actor Ranbir Kapoor (he doesn't need any introduction here).

 I will dwell more about the brand and how a foodie can benefit from it later in the post. But, first let me tell you about my experience at the Feast Restaurant in Le Meridian.


Minutes before the meet began!


 The exotic ambiance at Le Meridian, Pune.

The Gorgeous Chandelier at The Feast Restaurant, Le Meridian, Pune.


 Foodies in queue for the food!

Since it was a foodie meet, I need to talk about the food at the meet. Even for a hi-tea meet, the menu was quite extensive with both veg and non-veg delights. Since, I am a vegetarian I partook in the veg delicacies served. 

I relished the Thai corn cakes with sweet and sour dipping sauce,creamy Mushroom and chives vol-au vent, Roasted vegetable lasagne, some Mexican and Oriental delights from the live counters.
It was then followed by a delectable desserts spread. I particularly enjoyed the chocolate fondue!



The Best Part of ANY meal - DESSERTS!

 The Chocolate Fondue - I want one! (Somebody please take cue)


Is your business there on Askme.com?

If you are a business owner, get your business listed on askme.com to reach out to a larger audience.

The meet started with a presentation about askme.com. We got to know about the brand and what it aims to do.  Another highlight of the meet was the food photography session, where some great tips about food photography were shared. The meet was supercharged with some simple quiz questions by the presenter and there were prizes to be won. Overall, it was an evening well spent. The best part for me was that I got a chance to meet other foodies in the city and interact with them.
Now, the question you must be wondering about while going through this post - what askme.com has got to offer to foodies?

They have got a brand new 'Food Ambassador Program' to start with. Some of its highlights are as below:

- Refer your foodie friend and get bonus vouchers.
- Write reviews on askme.com about 10 restaurants and get treated with a meal voucher for two.
- Keep writing and get exclusive meals/ shopping/ spa vouchers.

So, what are you waiting for? Log on to www.askme.com, register and start writing. The more you write, the more you win.

All the foodies who were part of this event, got a goodie bag to take home. 

   Discover. Eat. Share.

That was the idea behind the foodies meet. I would like to thank AskMe for inviting me to be a part of it, will definitely look forward to such meets in the future.
 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Breaking The Blogging Slumber ~ Jaisalmer Trip #Travel #Rajasthan

To Travel is to Live 
- Hans Christian Anderson 

A post about our trip to Jaisalmer was long due on this space. We had been to this beautiful city in Rajasthan in February and since then I have been just thinking about it. Well, today I went ahead and worked on this post.

Jaisalmer also known as the Golden City is one of the popular tourists destination in Rajasthan. Much of its fame come from the 'Pushkar Mela' that happens here every year. But, the fair generally takes place in October or November it was not in our plans. Instead, we enjoyed the city with all its sand dunes, fort and havelis. Even though the city is highly commercialized today, there are parts in the city that still retains the regal charm of the bygone era. The Jaisalmer Fort is one of the main attractions of the city - the interesting thing about this fort is that people still inhabit the fort. In fact, the fort is a bustling town in itself!

The intricate carvings on the stone, the massive fort, the enchanting havelis,  the narrow by-lanes, the golden sand dunes, a mesmerizing sunset and a lot more, will keep you entertained and engaged when you visit this charming city in Rajasthan.

I will let the pictures do the talking now. I hope you have a good time going through this picture-heavy post.
 
A Lone Camel Standing in the Golden Sands, Jaisalmer.

Jaisalmer Fort as seen from a distance.

 Jaisalmer, The Golden City as seen from the Jaisalmer Fort.

 We Stayed at Club Mahindra Resort,Jaisalmer.
Wall Decor at the Restaurant at Club Mahindra Resort, Jaisalmer.



Patwo Ki Haveli, Jaisalmer.

One of the Entrance Gates at the Jaisalmer Fort.

Another view of Patwo Ki Haveli.

Camel Resting in the Desert, Jaisalmer.

Rajasthani Puppets @ Jaisalmer.

Sun set at the Sam Dunes, Jaisalmer.

I will take your leave with a quote from Dalai Lama. It says all about the pleasures of traveling and exploring.

"Once a year go some place you have never been before."

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers! 
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