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Paradise Towers by Shweta Bachchan Nanda - #Book Review

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Plot
Dinesh opens the door to the Kapoor flat to find Lata, the enchantress who works at Mrs Aly Khan’s, carrying a hot case with freshly made gaajar ka halwa. On the first floor, the inquisitive Mrs Mody wipes the dust off her precious binoculars to spy on the building’s security guard. The Singhs open the doors of their SUV, their four boys creating a ruckus – they are the newcomers, the outsiders. Through the peephole, the ever-watchful Mrs Ranganekar observes their arrival. Welcome to Paradise Towers, an apartment building in central Mumbai. Everyone here has a story to tell. Or maybe they have stories to hide. Shweta Bachchan-Nanda’s quirky, intimate debut explores the intertwined lives in this building – a forbidden romance, an elopement, the undercurrents of tension in corridor interactions and an explosive Diwali celebration. Bachchan-Nanda’s is a dazzling voice that will draw you into the intoxicating, crazy world that is Paradise Towers.
Paradise Towers is a book set in a posh…

An Evening With My Favourite Author - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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Do you believe that you don't choose a book, but the right book finds you at the right time? I firmly believe in this and have often experienced it in my life, that a particular book will find me at the time I need it the most and get me through some difficult periods, or will tell me what I need to hear at that time in life.



Quite by chance, at the library last year I picked up Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. What made me pick it up? Many reasons! I was attracted by the beautiful cover, I love reading hard cover books, I was curious what an Oleander was and the biggest reason, I was keen on reading a book by an Indian author and Chitra Divakaruni sounded Indian enough! When I turned to the back cover and read about the author, I was intrigued and captivated by her picture. For some reason she looked very familiar and oh so serene and calm. I had heard about Palace of Illusions and Mistress of Spices but had not paid attention to the author. So as it was meant to be,…

2019 Reading Challenges

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I love the start to the New Year, as it is the time for me to sign up for various challenges. I'm not usually the one to make resolutions, so this is a way for me to not only read more, but also read  outside my comfort zone and across various genres (which is something I'm still struggling with) and add some great books to my every increasing TBR. I feel reading challenges make you fall in love with reading and 2019 seems to be the year for challenges!
In 2018, I participated in the PopSugar Reading Challenge 2018 and much to my satisfaction, did a lot better than when I tried in 2017. I also increased the number of books I read overall, read a few new authors that I normally would not and gave poetry a try for the first time after school (which I surprisingly enjoyed). So here's a list of Reading Challenges that I plan to participate in, luckily a few books can be read across the challenges, so hopefully it will be a fun ride and not overwhelming at all. 
GoodReads Reading…

3 Lessons I Want My Children To Learn From Me

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Sometime back while reading an article, I came across a question that got me thinking..."What are the 3 lessons you want your children to learn from you?" Now that was deep! As a mother I have often pondered about this and there have always been quite a few things I would want my kids to learn from me and the elders over a lifetime, life's lessons that we probably learnt the hard way. In fact there have been many situations I have found myself in, thinking to myself,  "I hope that at least my kids learn from this!" 


But if I were to pick only 3 of the most important lessons I would want to leave them with, they would be (in random order)......
1. IT'S OK TO CRY!
I have grown up, like most around me hearing the words, "you are brave and brave children do not cry" or "boys don't cry." I flinch every time that is said to my kids and cringe at the thought of it affecting their mental health in the long run. I want them to know that it is…

Unknowingly I Fell In Love With Being A Mama To A Boy

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I always knew I was going to have a girl. From very early on, even as  a little girl playing house or with dolls, I was sure I was going to mommy girls when I grew up. Despite playing rough with my boy cousins all the time, I knew I was going to have a girl. 
To me boys were strange beings, ones that I liked but couldn’t really decipher. I understood girls, boys - not so much, given the fact that 15 years on I’m still working to understand my husband and vice versa. There’s a reason why men are from Mars and women from Venus and I would have preferred to tip the scale towards Venus in our household. 

When we first fell pregnant, much to my husbands chagrin, I was confident of having a girl. Every scan was scrutinised unsuccessfully and every word our doctor spoke was dissected, all in hope to just get a hint of what the future had in store. 
23rd August, 2012 our world changed when we welcomed our first born, our SON into this world. Yes a Boy! How did that happen to me?! Surprisingly th…

The Ultimate Potty Training Tip That Worked!

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When our son was born 6 years ago, we clearly didn't know what to expect. The adrenaline rush of being a first time mommy soon faded to give way to a feeling of constant guilt and unpreparedness. A feeling, though less intense, still exists 6 years on. All our parenting experiments and trails and errors are carried out on our first born and that paves the way for our daughter, who just breezes through every milestone, thanks to her older brother.
So when the time came to potty train our son, lots of suggestions started pouring in right from the time he was born! It takes a village, people! Thus started the potty training schedule, way too early at 18 months in my opinion. We tried it all - trainer pants, potty seats, mobile potties, potty training books and at the end...bribes. Nothing worked. At the first sight of his poopy face, if anyone tried to get him to the potty seat, he would run in the opposite direction and hide to continue doing his job in the diaper, or he'd hold…

My Reverse Bucket List

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I'm sure we all have a bucket list of things we want to see or do before we "kick the bucket," either written down somewhere or a rough compilation in our mind.
I'm a big fan of bucket lists, there are so many positive things associated with them. In a way, it's a fun way to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and try new things, and in the process it can lead to all sorts of great experiences and friends.
But isn't is funny how quick we are to write off what we've done in the past and only focus on all the things we want for the future.
Well there is a solution for that, enter the reverse bucket list! This list is basically your gratitude list. Instead of focusing on what you haven't accomplished in life (yet), it makes you focus on the cool things you have already done.
Life today is tough with jam packed schedules, family, kids, friends, work....the list is endless. And to add to the already overwhelming list is social media, which studies …

99 Things I Love - Reflections

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In May this year I started the #100happydays challenge where I put up a picture of what made me happy, everyday for 100 days straight (I got to 118). This little exercise taught me gratitude and how to find happiness in the little things in everyday life.



Today I'd like to try a different exercise where I reflect upon the 99 things that I love. I’m hoping this helps me dig below the surface and recognize things I'm probably not even consciously aware of, about myself. While I sit down to ponder about what's really important to me in life and what brings me joy, I realise it’s the littlest of things, the ones that are  usually taken for granted and so easily disregarded. So here's my gratitude list (in a way), in no particular order. 
My first cup of coffee in the morning ( preferably before the kids are awake)Our home, messy at times and usually chaotic, but I still love it My daughter's wild spiritMy bespectacled son's goofy grinsThe sound of my husband laughing…

That Spicy Curry May Be Better Than You Think - Indian Spices & Their Dental Use

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Spices have been closely connected to magic, cultural traditions, preservation, medicine and embalming since early human history and have played a key role in shaping the course of world history. India is known for its wide variety of rich, earthy spices that lend immense flavour to dishes throughout the country.


Today's fast paced world has taken a toll on our overall health and dental health. The key to our health is our diet. Current research trends look at holistic nutrition as a way to not only feed our body, but to help it heal as well. Our own holistic culinary spices not only add aroma but also forms the base of all our dishes. In moderation, these spices can help us derive maximum health benefits. 
These world renowned exotic spices grown in India have so many dental health benefits :
Black Pepper - The King of Spices when mixed with salt in equal quantities, can relieve dental pain and reduce gum inflammation (swelling) when massaged over the gums. Black pepper has anti-inf…

Are You Brushing Right?

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The most common question my patients ask me at the clinic is "I brush twice a day, but why are my teeth are still so dirty?" It may sound harsh when I say "It's because you are not brushing correctly," but that unfortunately is the bitter truth. 
This made me realise that a surprisingly large number of people are not aware of the correct brushing technique and so I thought to myself that since so many people I meet have this question, why not address this on my blog so I can reach many more and maybe help them understand what they could be doing wrong.
Brushing your teeth is an important part of your dental care routine. For a healthy mouth and smile it is recommended that you: Brush your teeth twice a day with a medium-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.Replace your toothbrush every three or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth and…

Being Happy Never Goes Out Of Style - The End Of My #100happydays Project

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When I took up the #100happydays challenge in May this year, I jumped into it with both feet not knowing which way I was headed. Honestly, I expected to give up after a couple of days and certainly did not expect to go beyond the pledged 100 days. But once done with the 100 days (118 in all!), I decided to go on with it, mainly because I enjoyed writing every single day. But as it always happens, life took over and the kids fell sick one after the other and then again, and it got too overwhelming for me to keep it going. My #100happydays challenge came to it's end naturally, ten days ago, and yes I have thoroughly missed it. I was hoping to go around the sun one time with this challenge. But like they say, all good things comes to an end and so did this.


There have been many ideas brewing that I want to write about and wasn't getting a chance nor the time all this while. For me to be able to put those ideas to paper, #100happydays has to end. A challenge which compelled me to…

Thank you kind stranger- #100happydays - Day 118

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Every now and then things happen that restore my faith in humanity. Every woman knows how stressful multitasking can actually be, especially while grocery shopping when we are unsuccessfully trying to stick to a list, balancing our phones, bottomless purses and the grocery cart. Today I found myself in a situation like that and managed to leave my fully loaded wallet at a sugarcane cart outside the grocery store while trying to manage 3 bags. By God's grace I realised that my wallet was missing before I left as I couldn't find it in my purse to pay for even more purchases. Tracing back my steps I remembered having kept it at the sugarcane cart while paying him for a glass. The kind man that he is, he kept my wallet safe at the security hoping I would come back to claim it. Not a thing inside was touched and I am so very grateful to them. I can only imagine what I'd have to go through with multiple credit cards, debit cards, license etc which would have to be blocked and r…