Wednesday, April 27, 2016

In Conversation with Jane McCulloch, Author, Three Lives series

It’s time to feature another debut author on the blog. I love featuring interviews with new authors because it gives people the opportunity to learn from others who have had success in their life journeys. 

Featuring today are the edited excerpts of my interview with Jane McCulloch, the author of Three Lives Trilogy. Parallel Lines is the first volume in the series. 

How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or is there any other reason?
I began writing at a very early age.  At first, it was poems, then short stories and by the time I was at boarding school I was writing plays and sketches. My original intention was to become an actress and I went to a London Drama School. I married a theatre director and he steered me into writing for the professional theatre.  I began by writing biographical dramas and after that, I wrote a book and lyrics for two musicals, an adaptation of “The Pilgrim’s Progress” and one based on the life of “Buster Keaton”. I also wrote librettos for operas and various lyrics for songs.  It wasn’t until much later that I decided to write novels.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

In Conversation with Penni Mannas Diefendorf, Author, Core of Steel series

I love featuring interviews on this blog because it gives people the opportunity to learn from others who have had success in their life journeys. 

This interview is with Penni Mannas Diefendorf, author of the Core of Steel series and Founder & Director of, an online community and repository of ideas and strategies to live life at your highest potential.

How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or is there any other reason? 
I don’t know that there was ever a point where I “began” writing, I just fell into the way of it because I love to write. It is an outlet, a way of clarifying my thoughts to myself and a supremely satisfying form of catharsis. For that reason, I have actually never pursued a “writing” career because writing was too precious to me to *work* at it or with it. Having said that, in most of my jobs, I managed to introduce a writing component in the mix somewhere. So, no, I would say, I did not intend to become an author, it was a happy synchronicity.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

My Not-to-do-list this new year!

I was super thrilled to read this week’s Blogadda WOW prompt – ‘It’s Not My Resolution’, simply because this is unlike what most people are doing, their so-called 'Things-to-do-from-2016' lists. 

Another major way why I simply loved the idea of this week's WOW prompt is because there are very few people who actually know what they want, and like me know what all they don't want to do. We all might have our major goals in life, but the small things which matter the most remain unclear.

So without further ado, here's the list of things that I will not do from 2016, not in any particular order:
  • I will not start a diet. Exercise may be irregular but my love for food will always remain the priority, esp. junk food :p

Saturday, January 02, 2016

New Year ... New beginnings ..

With the start of another year comes another list of new year resolutions, new wishes, different dreams and hopes. Some might be hoping to start fresh this year, or some like me would just like to carry on our already amazing journey of life, no matter what everyone's thinking, I wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year.

The past year might have been good for you or you might have gone through some tough times. New relationships were formed and some people were lost or just simply taken away from us. And even though difficult moments and choices are part of everyone's life, it's up to us to keep our outlook positive and keep the hope alive.

So, on this first day of the year, I wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year, more aptly put through the following Neil Gaiman quote.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

To report or not – That is the question.

The year before last, I was in Mumbai and had gone to a completely new area, to interview police constables for a college assignment. (There has to be irony in here somewhere!) After, and since it was late and both my friend and I had more than our share of work to do, my friend dropped me to the nearest local station. Since the major part of the assignment was done, (the interview), I was much more relaxed than I should have been, and as usual, I put on my earphones and started listening to music, rather loudly I guess. A few minutes later I saw two elder females pointing and whispering to something behind me, bringing me back to “reality”. A man was standing there, gradually coming nearer or seemed like it, at least, so obviously, I decided to move away, and that was when I realised he was really drunk and saw that his trouser was open (read unzipped)!

Like most females, even I have been eve teased, cat-called, been a victim (of attempts) to public groping and whatnot. Anyway, the open pant thing was a first for me and for two minutes I didn’t even know what to do! Luckily for me, just then, a police constable was passing by and saw the whole incident and quickly hit him 3-4 times with his 'lathi' before asking me if I was alright. The local train pulled in by then and after telling him I was fine, I got on and left, wondering the entire way about what it was that I should have done.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Mahabharata Quest: The Alexander Secret review

I had received The Mahabharata Quest: The Alexander by Christopher C. Doyle, as part of Blogadda’s review program but was unable to review at that time, and being forgetful (by nature) forgot about it till now. Anyway, being a firm believer in the ‘better late than never’ philosophy, here’s the review as promised! (My most sincere apologies to the Blogadda team for the extreme lateness in posting this review!)

Just to add, this is the second part of a series, after The Mahabharata Secret, and even if one hasn’t read the first part, it’s easy to start on this book directly without missing much, as the plot of the sequel has little to no dependency on its prequel. 

So, to begin with here’s the book cover summary:

334 B.C.
Image Courtesy: Christopher C Doyle

Alexander the Great begins his conquest of the Persian Empire. But his plans for everlasting glory do not end there and the young king marches towards the Ends of the Earth - the lands of the Indus - on a secret quest. It will lead him to an ancient secret concealed in the myths of the Mahabharata; a secret that is powerful enough to transform him into a god.
Present Day
In Greece, the ancient tomb of a queen is discovered, a tomb that has been an enigma for over 2000 years.In New Delhi, the Intelligence Bureau discovers unexplained corpses in a hidden lab. Vijay Singh and his friends, now members of an elite task force, are sucked into a struggle with a powerful and ruthless enemy. In a deadly race against time, they will need to solve a riddle from antiquity that will lead them to encounter shocking secrets from the past; secrets that will reveal mystifying links between ancient history, the Mahabharata and the ancient enemy with diabolical plans for a future that will hold the world to ransom.
The Quest has just begun.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Favorite Destinations for Kids in India

While planning a holiday with kids, there are a quite a few causes for worry. Not to mention, aspects that need to be taken into consideration like open spaces, activities which can be enjoyed by kids and the safety concerns shared by all parents.  The vast topography of our country however, has myriad destinations covering from fun and adventure to education and arts, which are also children-friendly.

HolidayIQ, one of India's largest travel community and holidays recommendation engine, recently revealed the favourite destinations for kids up to 14 years of age, via 'HolidayIQ Insights: Favorite Destinations for Kids in India', based on the actual on-site user actions of travellers planning holidays with children.

Here’s the list of destinations that are a new favourite among kids in India. How many have you visited?


Chocolates are sure to entice the young and the young at heart! Indulge your sweet tooth with truffles, fudges and marshmallows available at King Star Confectioners on Commercial Road. Let the little tyke indulge in mini-train and pony rides. An educational trip to the tea and botanical gardens and a live demo about honey gathering and bee keeping at the Honey & Bee Museum must be a part of your trip. Not to forget, make sure to take a boat ride on the famous Ooty lake. 
What Kids Must Do: Chocolates at King Star and a boat ride at Ooty Lake.
How to Reach: Approximately 88 kilometres away, Coimbatore is the nearest domestic airport from Ooty which is well-connected with most of the Indian cities. The nearest railhead is Mettupalyam, 40 kilometres from Ooty.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Discovering the Joy of Togetherness with Kissan!

There are few times when advertisements, in the way of promoting their cause, are able to bring smiles to faces and make people realise the importance of families. ‘Kissanpur – Real Joy of Togetherness’, the new advertisement from Kissan, one of India’s FMCG forerunners by Hindustan Unilever, has managed to do just that!

The video focuses on giving parents a new idea of spending time with their kids as virtual social connections have taken over real ones. The idea here is sowing the seeds of bonding with the brand and to bring back its consumers the real joy in being together. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

In Conversation with Surekha Narain, Founder, Delhi Metro Walks

Excerpts from my interaction with Surekha Narain, Founder, Delhi Metro Walks.

Please talk a little about your endeavor - Delhi Metro Walks.
Delhi Metro Walks is known to create historic tours that are specialised, imaginative and creative. Our objective is to add new walks as the Metro network expands to bring about an awareness and concern for our built heritage by designing walks of well-known as well as lesser-known areas of Delhi and its surroundings.

What would you say is unique about your initiative?
We, at Delhi Metro Walks, combine the built and natural heritage. And to bring history alive, we make use of visual aids in the form of old maps, entertaining anecdotes, unique itineraries, exotic shopping and much more. Our experience of more than 20 years is reflected in a quick understanding of our clients’ needs, plus meticulous research and planning, with timings carefully chosen to be appropriate for the area, weather and traffic. 


Image Courtesy: SmileyMe.Com

Since, I have revamped my blog to quite some extent now and my readership has also increased, which I hope will keep on increasing, I have decided to add the 'In Person' Column, featuring tour and travel entrepreneurs, heritage walk architects, and a few chef interactions.

I wasn't sure, if I should, however, during the tenure of my job, there were a few interactions that were left unpublished and leaving it that way, just doesn't feel right. And, though I understand that my blog readership isn't as wide as the publications that I was working with before, I still wanted to help in my own small way.

So here’s an effort from my end, as I believe that these are amazing people who have created and started something even better, in an effort to showcase the heritage and culture of our nation, be it in terms of new and unique travel initiatives or innovation based cuisine.

Image Courtesy:

Monday, October 12, 2015

Are You MAD?

With the World Mental Health Day just gone by, just sharing a few thoughts about the Indian Mental health status and coping with mental issues.

How many times do we use the phrase, ‘Tu pagal hai kya?’ Almost every day, I guess. However, the troubling part is, that over time, we have learnt to use the phrase so casually that we have forgotten the real meaning, stigma or taboo that is associated with ‘being mad’, especially in our society. 

In fact, according to various reports, there are thousands of people with mental health conditions around the world, deprived of their human rights. They are not only discriminated against, stigmatised and marginalised but are also subject to emotional and physical abuse in both mental health facilities and the community. Also poor quality care due to a lack of qualified health professionals and dilapidated facilities leads to further violations.

Now focusing on the Indian macro scenario, esp. since the World Mental Health Day has also just gone by, the status of India in terms of mental health is bad, to say the least. According to an article by The Huffington Post, at least 5% of the population lives with a mental illness, translating to well over 50 million people. Moreover, it stated that nearly half of those with severe mental illnesses aren't treated and of those with less severe versions, nearly 9 in 10, go by uncared.

Mental illness is still considered a hushed up topic in our country and visiting a psychiatrist or seeking help is often a cause for embarrassment and hence, people suffering from psychological ailments end up either denying or hiding their illness, sometimes until it becomes too late.