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Saturday, July 12, 2014

How to Grow Mint from Stems?

Gardening has always been one of my interests, but my circumstances have always been such that I have not been able to take it up seriously. Every time, I pass by a nursery I wish I could buy as many plants as I could. But, obviously that doesn't happen.

A few months back, I was in a shopping mall where I came across a gardening counter. The person sitting in the makeshift shop was selling a variety of plants which included some veggies as well, like tomatoes, green chilies, etc. I asked him if he had mint. He told me that I need not buy it because it is very easy to grow it easily at home. All I need to do is plant the discarded stems in fertile soil and water it every day.


I was intrigued and decided it to give a try. The picture you see above is about two weeks after I planted the stems. As you can see the cute green mint leaves are growing happily. I chose about 10 sturdy looking stems out of which two dried up and 8 bore leaves.

So, the next time you buy mint leaves, don't discard the stems. Instead, plant them and watch fresh mint grow. While we are on the topic, did you know you can grow spring onions green at home for free? Check this post.

Thanks for stopping by. Cheers!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Thugs & A Courtesan by Mukta Singh Zocchi ~ A Book Review


"Meander through 1819 India with Firangia as he covers villages,jungles and small towns while on a journey of romance, devotion, crime and deception. But there is someone always watching over. This is pre-railways India, when merchants travel in caravans, noblemen with escorts and no road is secure.

On his way home after a trade expedition, Firangia's path is crossed by the beautiful Chanda Bai, traveling with a small party of guards. Though a warrior, she wishes to travel under his protection. Should he decline? Read about grandiose ambitions pitted against petty schemes, love and deceit and what in our modern times is termed evil. You will find in this intellectually ambitious, meticulously researched, action-packed historical fiction a broader, age-independent significance."

I received this book from 'Think Why Not'  in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

When I first read the blurb, I found it quite interesting. The cover of the book also compliments the era in which the story is set. As is evident from title and the blurb of the book, the book talks about thugs, caravans  and courtesans. I found the whole setting of the book quite fascinating and was hoping it to be an exciting and action packed book. However, the book ultimately failed to make a mark for me.

There are a couple of reasons why it didn't work for me. First is the writing style. The common thing about books by debutant authors is that most of them write in a very easy language. But, that is not the case with this one - in fact, it is exactly opposite. The writing is way over the top and a bit too self indulgent. There were many instances when I felt the need to look up the meaning of a particular word. That is not exactly a bad thing, but it did interrupt the flow of the story.

Secondly, the narration of the book is quite slow and most of times the story loses focus. The book is laced with many short stories but, they do not seamlessly blend with the rest of the book. Characterization is also an issue with the book. There are so many characters in the book that it can get confusing at times. But, there
was not a single one that stood out and made a place in my mind.

While the subject of the book is quite interesting, the way it is written doesn't grab the readers attention. I just wish the novel could have been written in a more exciting way.
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