Thursday, December 18, 2014

Teddy Travelogues: Many Firsts For My 2 Year Old Daughter As Well For The Parents #TravelWithKids

It was almost 2 year old that we could not go anywhere on vacation after her birth. She was too young to manage while travel was the prime reason. But there were other reasons too like my wife was not prepared well to accept this challenge and I too felt that what if there is a problem when we are away from home and nobody known is around.

Any how our daughter was now 2 year old and we felt confident in moving out for a long distance for a family vacation. We decided to go to Kullu-Manali for a trip of 10 days. From Delhi to Kullu we had a flight and then we had already booked a cab for Manali straightaway after landing in Kullu. This was our daughter’s first flight and she was quite disturbed as soon as the plane started taking off. First of all it was the full flight with so many people around that created a chaos for her. And then that was it. She was unstopped crying for next 15-20 minutes. It took a grit of us to handle her. She was actually helpless as this was her first experience in the air. Anyhow she was smiling after some time and that gave us a complete relief. But we were worried inside as this was just the beginning of the trip and we were not sure about our daughter’s behavior on hills where she was again going for the first time. We had taken special attention while selecting warm clothes for her for the low temperatures on hills.

The plan got haywire as due to bad weather the airplane had to land in Chandigarh from where we were being driven to Kullu on sharing cabs by the airlines. We knew that the little angel will not be comfortable travelling with strangers in the cab for this long distance of almost 250 odd Kilometers. Our request was granted by Airlines staff that was making these special arrangements for they were fascinated by the beautiful smile of my young kid and that was the reason for providing us an individual Sedan. The journey was quite enjoyable for my young kid. We had to stop on our way more than a couple of times to help her in getting her small portion of milk and biscuits.

Gradually it was quite late in the evening when we reached at Manali. Luckily the hotel that we had booked from Delhi was quite prestigious and known to all cabbies and hence we did not have any problem in reaching the hotel. The kid was somehow slightly irritated, may be due to the change in weather, location or a long and tiring journey. The time by when we relaxed in the hotel room after settling and before going to the hotel restaurant for dinner, she was asleep with a sweet smile on her face. Definitely the journey, with many firsts for the small child, and also a first for both of us – taking our 2 year old for the first time for this long journey, was a good learning for all of us.

Book Review: Changing Lanes: From Hell to Heaven by Hailey Rose Barrett: A Must Read For Gaining Inner Strength

Changing Lanes: From Hell to Heaven by Hailey Rose Barrett published by Life Rich Publishing is an excellent memoir/autobiography of the author starting with her childhood when she was in fifth grade. It is about a successful growing up to adults along with her siblings and a considerable contribution to the society in various ways. As per Hailey the best foundation to a childhood is the stability during that stage that enables a child to grow up into an actively practical adult contributing in fruitful ways to the society. If there is a lack of love and attention at this stage of childhood, the deep rooted penetration of this craving for both ends up into an adult with low self-esteem and confidence.

Changing Lanes: From Hell to Heaven by Hailey Rose Barrett discloses the clandestine of a child who faced physical, emotional and mental abuse at that nurturing stage where it was the most important to get personal care and love; and thus gets broken inside shattering inner strength. The story has been written in such a constructive and bold manner that it touches your heart, mind and soul altogether, thereby making you sense and feel the grief and pain faced by the author. As you read along, the story shakes your inner self to experience the bad phase of childhood author had to go through. But instead of breaking down totally, Hailey kept herself morally uplifted and strong, keeping her faith intact in God. The story tells us that despite all kind of setbacks in one’s life, keep your belief intact that there are certain promises made by God to each one of us which take the shape of reality sooner or later bringing goodness in our life and turn our life into a winner and fulfilled.

 Changing Lanes: From Hell to Heaven by Hailey Rose Barrett is a must read for everyone as this book is meant to boost any person of any age irrespective of geographic locations. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My First Visit To @SmoothieFactory @SmoothieIndia And It Has Been Addictive

Smoothie Factory is a US origin and spread over 13 countries, global valued health and wellness café providing well-nourished balanced meal for any time of the day. This premium chain has recently launched its 3 stores as a first step of entry in India in and around capital city at following locations:
1. Ground Floor, Epicuria Mall, Nehru Place Metro Station, Nehru Place, N.D - 110019
2. Fitness First Platinum, South Point Mall, Gurgaon, Haryana
3. Ground Floor, Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Janpath, New Delhi 110001

The whole concept is the brainchild of US Olympian James Villasana. Philosophy driven is to use only premium quality and highly nutritious category of ingredients so as to provide a perfect balance of healthy and tasty food that can be taken any time during the day. The product line is already a big hit among health conscious community worldwide. More outlets are definitely in plan to come up in other metro and non-metro locations in India. Each meal promises to be well-balanced diet for any age of visitors to their outlets without a compromise with taste and ensuring complete healthy ingredients.

In the range of products being offered – it includes Real Fruit Smoothies, Frozen Yoghurts, Gourmet Panini’s, Salads, Squeezed Juices, Waffles to name a few on the menu. Chefs are well-trained to ensure using only recommended healthy ingredients like olive oil, whole wheat, multigrain bread variants, lean cut meats etc., for preparing meals. Each preparation is prepared with special attention for each order. You will not find a variance in the quality and taste of same dish ordered twice or even more times. That shows itself the ‘best to deliver’ and ‘no compromise with quality and standards’ attitude.

Looking at the quality, discipline, cleanliness, hygienic atmosphere, ambience, and aesthetics; prices are reasonable and you will really admire it only once you visit here and try just one dish. I promise you won’t stop after that. The same happened with us when we have a long haul of Bon Appetite, dish after dish, only till the stomach exhausted to accommodate more, while heart was asking for more.

The enjoyment started with The Mango Smoothie, Tropical Squeeze and Strawberry Lemonade and it was a marvelous treat to eyes, taste buds and mind.  Next was another round of 3 different smoothies, this time the premium ones – Very Berry, Factory Classic and Blue Lemonade. Then there was Melt Sandwich, Citrus Walnut Fresh Salad with Roasted Chicken and Pasto Pasta. Overall it is a healthy addiction that you are going to grab with a visit there. So if you are in NCR, you must visit to any of the three mentioned above – as per your convenience and if you are a visitor to Delhi/NCR do visit here once, till you get a Smoothie Factory Outlet in your city.

#PeshawarAttack: Promise Me To Carry A 2 Minute Silence Everyday For 132 Days

All words are short for this heinous crime done by Taliban Terrorists shamelessly and on top of that justifying this massacre. These are not human beings. These are barbarians. These are heartless, mindless and brainless creatures who forget that once they have also been children in their life, who took  birth in the same manner as these kids and any other human being. But it is the humane factor that is lost and stolen from these terrorists while transforming them from a human to a non-human.
Source: A day after the massacre

 The same nationality, same religion and still there is no emotion. Why couldn't even one of the terrorists could turn back on their leader who ordered them for this barbaric act to run a round of bullets in their body instead of doing it on these innocent children. Total 148 lives lost, out of which 132 children, and that too inside an Army School and the reason given by them is that Pakistan Army has killed their innocent children and families. That is height of shamelessness. The message is clear for the whole world to unite against these terrorist communities who are definitely far less in count and teach them a lesson, once for all.

Just a simple humble request from my side. Say a prayer everyday for next 132 days and a 2 minutes silence for each of the innocent kid murdered.

Are you with me. If you read this post and just leave a comment... Children are God's gift.

Author Interview: Vani: The Recession Groom: A Contemporary Story Of An IT Professional During Global Credit Crisis

She's a former journalist turned writer. 'The Recession Groom' is her first fiction novel. It is a contemporary story that tracks the journey of a young IT professional from India across the period of global credit crisis and the adventures he faces to find his 'perfect partner'.

Welcome Vani!

Your real name and pen name?

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood.
Staying awake all night to prepare for exams because I couldn’t be bothered to study during the day, taking favours from friends to finish homework, fist fighting with my younger brother, sneaking out food to stray dogs.

About your education.
I’ve an MBA degree from Kingston University, London and a Master’s degree in Economics from Panjab University, Chandigarh where I was also a Gold Medallist.
What career did you plan during your education days?
I wasn’t cut out to be a doctor or an engineer. The sight of blood was quite unwholesome to me, it still is. I hate Maths/Physics/Chemistry/ or anything close to these subjects, clearly not the types to pursue engineering. I was always very expressive and loved to write. Learning languages was also an interest. I thought about joining Foreign Consulates and/or Indian Foreign Services, when my parents felt that IAS would be a better choice. I may not remember everything I wanted to be, but one thing I know for sure, becoming a writer and writing novels of my own never crossed my mind.

What languages you can speak and write?
I am fluent in Hindi, English, Punjabi and French. I can understand Tamil.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
Good books. Music. Movies. Clean, vibrant settings with a comfortable bean bag where I can sit and write for hours.

What hurts you most in this world?

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
Writing my first novel, ‘The Recession Groom’ was my biggest challenge. I had a real tough time training myself to be patient, first, to complete my manuscript and second, sell it to a publisher.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
J R R Tolkien. A master craftsman with such splendid writing skills! Who wouldn’t want to be in his mind for a day!

What is your favorite genre and why?
I am a sucker for fiction and read across genres. I love everything from fantasy to thriller to crime as long as it can hold my attention. No particular favorites.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
When I didn’t write novels, I was writing exam papers. I can bet no one ever filled more sheets than I did. I started my professional writing journey in 2002 working as a business journalist for ‘The Times of India’ and then ‘The Financial Express’. However, it wasn’t until 2011 that I started work on my first novel, ‘The Recession Groom’.
A good story touches our soul. The purpose of my writing is to create such stories.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
‘The Recession Groom’ is my first fiction novel and is out on 22nd December. Here is a synopsis of my novel:

Parshuraman was named after the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. His namesake was a great warrior and maybe, his parents thought he’d be the same. He, a warrior? Nah! He wasn’t cut out to be one. He is an IT professional and quite happy with his choice, except for frequent skirmishes he has with his colleagues, particularly one, a girl called Jennifer. Aside that, he’s young and single, settled in Canada, which somehow makes him hot on the Indian wedding market, so his family tells him. However, this is set to change. As the credit crisis grips the global economy, the little world he’s created for himself begins to fall apart. Will he be able to pull himself together to face the challenges posed by a tough economy? More importantly, will this Recession Groom find his 'perfect partner'?

What are your forthcoming writings?
I’m writing a sequel to ‘The Recession Groom’. There’s a 3rd one that wraps up the series.

What genres you write in and why?
My first three novels are commercial fiction. No particular reason for my choice. It just depends on the ideas I’m getting at that moment.

What keeps you motivated towards writing?
I have no boss to report to, no job to dress up for, and no one who needs me up at 5 AM preparing business reports and working on excel sheets, so long as that’s the case, I get a terrific draft of ideas, one after the other, all the time.

If Writing a Book is taken as a project, what are the key essentials you take care of in Project Management?
My laptop, bed/sofa/bean bag, fast internet connection, light music, blanket, pen, paper, phone, kindle, my books, dictionary, tea bags, hot water kettle.

How do you plan, schedule and monitor your writing commitments?
By being disciplined. I plan at least a few good pages a day and stick to it no matter what.

What are your future plans?
Writing books.

What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or ebook? And why?
Both. I love the feel of a paper book and the convenience of an ebook.

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
I like punchy dialogues, witty one liners, memorable characters and enough drama in the story to keep the reader engaged.

How much real life goes into a fiction writing?
Many authors have been known to borrow heavily from real life incidents. I do, too. But, there’s a lot of imagination involved. I do not have to be a boy to write from a boy’s perspective, nor a witch to write about one.

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?
Yes, it is one of the core essentials.

Your dream destination on Earth?
Iceland. I want to see the Northern Lights.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?
I was born in Garian, Libya and stayed there for a few years. I spent many years in India, then in the UK, US and a few months in Canada. Everything is very systematic and organised in the West.

Your favorite time of the day?
Morning 5 until the sun sets.

Your zodiac/ sunsign?

Your favorite color and why?
I love vibrant colours. No particular favorites.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?
Last read- The Krishna’s Key by Ashwin Sanghi. Current book- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Your favorite book and why?
The Lord of the Rings, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Alchemist, The Secret, Fahrenheit 451, Fault in the Stars, The Old Man and the Sea, Life of Pi, Harry Potter series and many more. These books touched my soul and set a high benchmark for me.

Your favorite movie and why?
Pursuit of Happyness. It inspires me.

Your favorite celebrity and why?
Robert Pattinson and David Beckham for the way they look.
Malala Yousafzai and Oprah Winfrey for what they are.

Your favorite food?
Punjabi, Gujarati, South Indian, Chinese, Sri Lankan, Polish, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Lebanese, anything that is vegetarian.

Your favorite sports?
I don’t play sports.  

What is the force that drives you?
My own ideas.

What comes to your mind when you think of India?
Energy. Enthusiasm. Love. Family.

Some quickies:
Sun or Moon: Sun
Laughter or Smile: Laughter
Morning or Evening: Morning
Coffee or Tea: Tea
Mountain or Sea: Sea
Long Drive or Short Drive: Short drive
Silence or Conversation: Silence
Water or Fire: Water
Air or Earth: Earth
Mars or Jupiter: Jupiter
Tulip or Rose: Rose
Red or Blue: Red
Left or Right: Right
Glance or Stare: Glance
Fame or Money: Both.
Boy or Girl: Boy
Day or Night: Day
Tree or Plant: Tree
Love or Passion: Both. Lots of it.

What three words come to your mind for each –
Technology: Wonderful, Sharing, Convenience
Life: Aspirations, Dreams, Achievement
God: Caring, Loving, Doting
Humanity: Trust, Love, Respect
Terrorism: Abhor, Incomprehensible, Waste
Racism: Loathsome, Unjustified, Disgusting
Childhood Abuse: Deviant, Inhuman, Apathetic
Love: Beautiful, Unconditional, Warm
Parenting: Responsibility, Maturity, Commitment
Old age: Patience, Fear, Dependence

First thing you do in the morning after waking up?

Last thing to do before sleep?

If one fine morning you wake up and find your sex changed to opposite, what will be your first reaction?
Happiness. I don’t have to bother about threading my upper lips, not worry about waxing my legs. I can admire many more women than I care to without feeling jealous.

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
If you think the time is right, go for it.

The last line of your autobiography would be…
It was the last page of my book but it wasn’t my last book and so, I got up, made myself a cup of tea and started writing my next one.

The title of your autobiography would be…
The other side of me.

Links & other relevant details:
ISBN-10: 9384226580
ISBN-13: 9789384226589
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing
Twitter handle: @Vani_Author
Goodreads author page:
Amazon link:
Any other links:
      Amazon Kindle:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book Review: Mercury Poisoning: The Undiagnosed Epidemic by David Hammond: An Eye Opener

There are case studies based on historical realities and there are scientific reports on this altogether different metal called Mercury that stays in liquid form on room temperature. The hazards it can cause are much more severe and serious than one can imagine and anticipate. David Hammond, in his book Mercury Poisoning: The Undiagnosed Epidemic has done a phenomenal job by enlightening the hidden facts about Mercury which by large are unknown to masses. The book explains the various symptoms caused  by hazardous Mercury on health with their side effects and the treatments required to overcome these impacts.

How many of us know that one of the constituents of vaccines is thimerosal which substantially contains mercury. As mentioned in the book Mercury Poisoning: The Undiagnosed Epidemic by David Hammond , Mercury is one of the major factor for causing and increasing autism. But probably there is no alternative for vaccines and hence it cannot be avoided. That is why in such cases David has created the awareness and has left the choice open since there is logically no reason in telling to avoid vaccines. Similarly in case of dental amalgams, there also we have a considerable amount of mercury though there are certain agencies like the American Dental Association that claims it not to carry any volume of mercury. But since here there is a choice to avoid dental amalgams, David clearly prefers readers to go for the alternative for dental fillings.

Overall Mercury Poisoning: The Undiagnosed Epidemic by David Hammond is an interesting and enlightening read for all to learn a lot that is factual but is not known to us.

haiku: wish

darkened sod swooned
waiting for moon
to come out of clouds
and shower its light

encumbered craving for life