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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”

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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.

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