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Monday, 29 April 2019

Gearing up for The Write Tribe Reading Challenge #MondayMusings

4 months of the year has already passed by and I am miserably lagging behind in my reading goals. I didn't aim for anything too far fetched as a part of the GoodReads challenge - just 2 books a month. Should not have been that tough right? But it is becoming so, given the fact that I am also putting my hands into a number of other things. So, to get myself back on track, I am signing up for another reading challenge. Although I am pretty late for it already, Corrine of Write Tribe has been kind enough to let me into 'The Write Tribe Reading Challenge 2019'.


As a part of the challenge, I am hoping I will be reading 24 books (book lover level) of which 12 can match up to the book prompts listed in the challenge plus I will be posting a review of at least 1 book a month. Of course, there will be some catching up to do. But then, that's my intention for taking up this challenge.

Monday, 8 April 2019

‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini | Book Review

‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini | Book Review
‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini  #BookReview
I had read ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini long time back – almost 10 years ago after it came highly recommended to me by my college bestie GD. I remember I had found it a heavy read – maybe I wasn’t fully ready to understand the complexity of the story and all that it had to offer. This January when I went to my hometown, I found this book in one corner of my bookshelf there and I picked it up again. And I must tell you what a fabulous read it has been and I am so glad to have read it again. It is an emotional and heartbreaking read, one that will need you to stop and reflect deeply about the grey shades of human behaviour. If that is something that piques your interest, you should definitely pick this book next (in case, you have not already, given the popularity of the book).

The story in ‘The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini’ is complex and layered and spans over decades; it explores the themes of loyalty, friendship, betrayal and redemption. Set in Afghanistan that is on the brink of political upheavals after the fall of the Monarchy, the story walks the readers through the political scene in the country over the years – the Soviet military intervening, the fleeing of refugees to Pakistan and the United States and ultimately the rise of Taliban.

At the heart of the novel are two main protagonists – Amir and Hassan. Amir is the son of a rich Pashtun businessman in Kabul and Hassan is the son of their servant – Ali, a Hazara. Even though they are a class apart, Amir and Hassan grow up together to become pretty good friends. Both of them love flying kites and are experts in their own right. Amir in a bid to win his father’s attention and love ramps up to win a local kite festival with the help of Hassan. Hassan is unflinchingly loyal to Amir and can go to lengths to stand up for him. However, Amir (often painted as timid) comes with his shades of grey and is unsure about his feelings for Hassan. So, when a time comes where he should have rescued and stood up for Hassan, he cannot muster the guts. This incident haunts Amir for the rest of his life and is instrumental in deciding the course of events later in his life.

I will not dwell on the storyline here as it is the thing to read in the novel. Hosseini is a master storyteller and just knows how to keep the readers hooked with a brilliantly constructed plot, an unwavering narration and beautiful prose. The characterization is superb – each one of the characters painted in various shades shines in their own space and as a reader, you can empathize with them. The story has all the elements in the right balance – there are tales of friendships, drama, romance, and suspense and with all that is happening throughout the novel, there is also a sense of hope in the end. That makes it all worthwhile. In the final chapter, many loose strings in the novel come together which personally makes it a gratifying read for me.

Throughout the book, I kept bookmarking lines worth quoting in this review. I think I should do a separate post on the quotes from this book because there are so many of them worth sharing here. But for now, I am going to quote a few of my favourites here.

quotes from the kite runner by khaled hosseini
If you read this book, do share your thoughts with me on my Facebook PageTwitter Handle or tag me on Instagram @jyotibabel using the hashtag #jyotispages 

“People say that eyes are windows to the soul.”

“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”

“For you, a thousand times over”

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime...”

“And that's the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.”

“There is a way to be good again...”

“It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn't make everything all right. It didn't make ANYTHING all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird's flight. But I'll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting.

“Not a word passes between us, not because we have nothing to say, but because we don't have to say anything”

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means, that if you make a purchase through the link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

You can find the purchase the book through the link below. 



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Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Whole Wheat Dates & Walnut Cake (Eggless) | How to Bake Dates Cake | Healthy Cake Recipes

Whole Wheat Dates & Walnut Cake (Eggless) | How to Bake Dates Cake | Healthy Cake Recipes
Whole Wheat Dates & Walnut Cake (Eggless) #Recipe
Whole wheat dates & walnut cake, as the name suggests comes with the goodness of dates and walnuts. In this particular bake, I have gone a few steps ahead and have replaced the sugar with jaggery granules and butter with oil. And yes, there is no refined flour used. I got the bug of baking healthy from my dear friend and blogger Bhawana of Code2Cook. She has a penchant for baking with healthy and non-refined ingredients. I am a fan of her spiced pumpkin bread.

The school holiday season is upon us - so you know when the kid is around at home all the time you need to have something handy to serve as snacks. I try to serve my kid healthy and homemade stuff as much as possible (of course, there are cheats days). This cake is just one example.  I have noticed that my boy doesn't mind whole wheat cakes (completely opposite my DH). So, I have all the more reason to bake one for him. 

Whole wheat dates and walnut cake makes for a good snack – you can have it in the morning with a glass of milk or with your afternoon cup of tea or coffee.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Looking Back - January to March 2019 #GratitudeCircle #MondayMusings

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anonymous
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anonymous
A gratitude post and a post about life, in general, have been long due on the blog. The first quarter of the year is done and dusted with. So it makes sense to look back at the months gone by so far this year. I have had a lot to be thankful for, quite a few things to ponder about and lest I forget about it as the year goes on, I should make a note of it here on the blog. So, I will not beat around the bush and straight get to the point.

The year so far has been a happening one. Of course, there were highs and lows too. And there were things to be grateful for. The universe keeps people aligning on my path to show me the way - to say the things I need to hear, to get the lessons I need to learn to grow and most importantly to not give up on trying - opportunities are just around the corner. We just need to make sure we aren't just walking straight.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Nolen Gurer (Palm Jaggery) Ice Cream | How to Make Nolen Gur Ice Cream | Ice Cream Recipes

Nolen Gurer (Palm Jaggery) Ice Cream | How to Make Nolen Gur Ice Cream
Nolen Gurer Ice Cream # Recipes
Nolen Gurer Ice Cream is something I had been meaning to try for a long time now. Nolen gur aka Palm Jaggery has a dark and intense caramel flavour which I absolutely love, so much so that I often nibble on it whenever I have a sweet craving. I get my stock of nolen gur whenever I visit my mom’s place in Assam. She has been buying it locally from a seller since years now and I can surely vouch for its quality. 

I remember once I had got it in Kolkata from a random seller at almost one third the price; one look at it I knew it was adulterated and was no match for the nolen gur my mom gets for me.

Nolen Gurer (Palm Jaggery) Ice Cream | How to Make Nolen Gur Ice Cream
Nolen Gur
Summer is upon us in Hyderabad. It is only March now and the way the mercury is rising, it takes no special skills to imagine what the coming months are going to be like. So in such times it only makes sense to buckle up and fill your arsenal with all you can to beat the heat – first is - lots of water throughout the day to keep oneself hydrated followed by fresh juices, homemade drinks and of course ice creams.

You can also check out my Natural Style Chikoo Ice Cream and Paan Ice Cream recipe.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Where Are You From? - Some Pictures From My Jan Assam Trip #MondayMusings



This January I made my annual trip to my mom's place. Some of my new friends and acquaintances asked me to share some pictures from my trip. That is when I realized I have never really shared anything about my hometown in this space. This space has been primarily for book reviews and sharing recipes, so I guess I had never given it a thought. Now that I have voluntarily taken a break from food blogging for a while, I guess it is fair enough to share some snippets from my life here to keep the blog going.

Where are you from?

This is one of the common questions I am often asked whenever I make new acquaintances. For that matter, I think it is one of the common questions posed to most people. For me, however, the answer is not as simple.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

On Decluttering Memories - Does it Spark Joy?

On Decluttering Memories - Does it spark joy?
On Decluttering Memories - Does it spark joy?
It was early morning and my boy was blissfully sleeping tucked in the blanket. My mom was in the kitchen busy preparing breakfast. So, I thought it was a good time to check out my things in one of those tiny shelves upstairs. I donned my fleece jacket and wore my socks – it is quite cold at this time of the year (January) in Assam and when you just get out the blanket, you feel the chill all the more. So, I dressed right for the weather and made my way upstairs.

It has been a kind of ritual for me whenever I am visiting my mom’s place to go over all my old books, diaries, knick-knacks and that special pouch that safely keeps old greeting cards, scrapbooks from schools, letters and notes that I loved exchanging with my friends. It serves as a souvenir of sorts for me – a lovely reminder of the good old days. A large part of the so-called letters and notes came from my best friend from school; ironically she is someone with whom I am barely in touch these days, despite the convenience of being connected on social media.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Of New Year resolutions & Word of the Year 2019!

There is nothing magical about the flip of the calendar, but it represents a clean break, a new hope, and a blank canvas.  ~Jason Soroski
Of New Year Resolutions & Word of the Year 2019!
We are done with the first week of February of the year 2019 and here I am talking about New Year resolutions! You must think I must have lost the track of time or something. But, let me tell you that I have not. 

I am pretty old school when it comes to resolutions. I make them, often break them; at times stick to them and many times change them. Point is - I keep setting some goals for myself throughout the year. So, New Year is just another opportunity to set goals and I see nothing wrong with that. Coming back to my resolutions for this year, I took a different approach. I came across this picture on Instagram and it kind of resonated with me. So, my resolutions for this year can be summed up in this image.

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