Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Book Review: Unlikely Tails by Mani Padma

Author: Mani Padma

ISBN-13: 9789384901608

Binding: Hardcover

Publisher: Creative Crows Publishers LLP

Number of pages: 125

Genre: Fiction, Anthology

Language: English

Price: Rs.650 (Got a review copy)



About the Book
How much do you know about women? Do you really know them even when you know them? 
17 stories.
Various shades.
Unexpected revelations.
But...the question remains, do you still feel you know them even when you know about them?

About the Author
Mani Padma is from Assam, now based in Delhi. She is a full time government doctor, part time mother and a 'sometime' punner plus writer.
She started writing at the age of four, starting with ABC and now is a full time writer of prescriptions and reports.
Her stories and articles have appeared in online magazines and websites, Women's Era and in a couple of anthologies. 'Unlikely Tails' happens to be her solo debut.
She loves to be bright and has a compromised attention span which is the reason she has never attempted a novel but hopes to do so in future if she finds the motivation to do so.

Swarnali Says
Few times at present have I come across a debut work so enjoyable as Mani Padma's Anthology of stories about women. I knew I would love her book the moment I read the "About the author" section, I loved her humour. 

The book is a collection of 17 succinct stories involving women (the book actually has 18 stories-there is an error in the Contents page, but I could not figure how the story 'Sabjiwallah' fits in with the the rest, thus making it 17) They are not strictly women centric as you might assume but are about incidents involving women of different ages. Like any anthology, this too is an amalgamation of stories, some quite amazing, some pretty good and a selected one or two a tad bit predictable. However, I loved how she successfully captured the sometimes fragile, sometimes unpredictable, sometimes faltering,but always fearless and indomitable spirit of women in her stories. I decided not to reveal any details about any of the stories because I would love the other readers to figure them on their own and enjoy them without a bias, which is exactly what this book deserves. 

What I admired most about the book is how the author has found the most banal of situations worth exploring and writing about. There were several occassions where I could find similarities between her writing and those of some of my favourite short story writers like Ruskin Bond and Saki, a tone which puts the readers immediately at ease as they prepare themselves for a good time reading the narratives. I liked how the author dabbled with different styles and genres of writing with each story. Manipadma has quite the skill in adding unpredictable twists and thus unlikely tails to her tales. However, if you are an avid Jeffrey Archer fan, I warn you, you might be good at figuring precisely how the stories will end but be assured , you would still love the read. So go ahead grab your copy (I recommend you get one) and get reading. Do come back and tell me which ones were your favourites. As for me, I am really waiting to read her next. 

My Rating: 4/5


This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Meeting Silki Agrawal - Blogger Meet

Hello there , folks!!

Remember me? Yes, I'm alive in case you were wondering where I had vanished. Life took first priority and I had to settle a few things. More on that later, coming to what this post is about.



A group of 8 city bloggers were invited to Shisha Reincarnated for an exclusive chat session with GIMA nominated singer, Silki Agrawal who recently released her music album "Soul Chants - Divine Light, Divine Love, Divine Power". 


Born in the family of doctors, Silki Agrawal has always loved everything to do with music. She spent her childhood in the lap of nature at Ranikhet, Uttarakhand. In 2006, Grand Master Choa Kok Sui's Pranic Healing entered her life; application of the teachings transformed her immensely. She expressed her deep gratitude for her teacher by launching her first album ‘Guru Mantra’ in 2011 at a World Pranic Healing Convention in Singapore which sold over 4000 copies worldwide.

Soul Chants - Here are the lyrics explained and translated for all the three songs

Her latest album “SOUL CHANTS” had been nominated for GIMA Awards (Global Indian Music Academy Awards) along the likes of Sonu Nigam, Shankar Mahadevan and S.P. Balasubramaniam. 
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Encouraged by the overwhelming response of ‘Soul Chants’ and fuelled by her passion to spread soulful inspirational music around the globe, her next album is scheduled to be released by Sept' 2016. The video of her new album will be shot on Iphone 6S, to be directed by Avinash Vasu and the same will be in consideration by Apple to be used in their advertisement.




Koustabh and I entered there to be warmly greeted with a beaming smile and a handshake by Silki. Once all the bloggers arrived we proceeded to an informal talk with the singer whose voice is as beautiful as she herself is. Silki gave us an insight into her life, how she juggles life as a soccer mom to her 9 year old son, working as a creative consultant for an interior designing firm and following her passion, singing. I was amazed how she successfully made classics like Gayatri Mantra and Guru Mantra her own using her mersmerising and soothing voice.


Silki Agrawal states her husband Sumaysh Agrawal as her biggest critic and greatest inspiration who motivates her to push herself further. While in school she learned soft vocals and for the past few years she has been training under Shuvodeep Mukherjee. As a child Silki had participated and won various singing competitions. She loves listening to Arijit Singh, Lata Mangeshkar, Lana Del Rey and Adele amongst others. She gushed about her love for fashion and how she loves implementing unique pieces (notice her Eina Ahluwalia 'Love Respect Protect' earrings?) which resonate with her ideology.

Her music is available online at AmazonItunes and Soundcloud. You can know more about her and her work here.



Friday, November 6, 2015

Making College Admissions Easier - CollegeDunia.com

My little sister finished her graduation in Botany this year and she wanted to switch her subject and do her Masters in Environmental Science. Now, while her choice to work for and continue research to save the environment was quite a noble choice, finding the right college for her to study the same was a Herculean task.
 One needed to ensure quite a couple of things before she got enrolled-
  • the college was recognised by the government
  • the department was a good one
  • it provided job or research opportunities
  • the fees did not end up making us bankrupt and so much more
We needed a forum which would help us with all our needs so that we could get my sister admitted to the college of her choice and help her realise her dreams without too many bumps. CollegeDunia.com came to our rescue. I had already utilised the information provided by this amazing website a year back when a friend needed information and updates regarding admissions notices and it helped me choose and decide the best college for my sister.



CollegeDunia.com enlists about 20000 college from across the country with subjects as varied as Science, Commerce, Arts, Law, Management, Engineering, Medical, Architecture, Aviation, Computer Applications, Dental, Hotel Management, Mass Communications, Deign, Education, and Pharmacy. It also provides detailed information about the standings of the Indian Universities in the world by giving out ratings for each college to help one choose the best. 
Every college listing has with it attached a college brochure for anxious parents to go through to make sure that their child goes to a reliable college and gets the best of education facilities available. Information regarding the course structure, fees, facilities and such are provided in detail.
The exams and news features on the website helps students appear for various examinations and attend and participate in ongoing college fests across the nation.



A quick search through the list of Universities in India helped me identify the various universities across the country which provided the option my sister wanted to study. A quick search through the seamless and easy to navigate website listed down the various colleges I should check and apply to. Upon further search I could ascertain whether the college is a central, state, deemed or private institution. It also helped me evaluate the costs involved, the ranking and rating of the various departments in the colleges, their placements from the past and the quality of the faculty. The website helped me a lot in identifying and getting my sister admitted to the college best suited for her needs.

I would highly recommend people who are confused and anxious to check the website and make the process much easier and less worrisome.

You can always reach them directly at contact@collegedunia.com regarding any queries concerning college admissions and have them resolved at the earliest. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Challenge. Are You Game??


A week back, I was approached by Garnier to take part in the 30 day challenge using their newly released Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Shampoo and Conditioner Duo. While my hair is usually tame and does not give me too much trouble during the rest of the year, it just suddenly becomes this frizzy mess of a bird nest during winters. They become insanely dry, rough and extremely greasy. So when Garnier claimed to address to all my hair problems , I was immediate to say a yes. So there arrived these pretty orange bottles which I'll be trying out for a period of 30 days.

 I have already used them twice and I know it is too early to decide if they are actually doing any of the claims they made but what I can see already is that my hair feels a little less frizzy than the winter usually makes it. Yay!! I'll have to use them for some more time to decide if they become permanent placeholders on my bathroom shelf. 

These new entrants claim to tame your frizzy manes, reduce hair fall, make hair shinier and smoother to prevent tangles, nourish your scalp and hair and strengthen them using the triple nutrition of Coconut, Almond and Olive oils.

Coconut Oil- Nourishes and makes hair stronger
Almond Oil- Restores beautiful shine to your lengths
Olive Oil- Binds, repairs and helps reduce split ends.

Goodbye frizzy, wayward, dry and undernourished hair!!



Both the shampoo and conditioner come in pale orange-ish flip cap bottles. They each come with a price tag of Rs. 135 for a quantity of 175 ml with a shelf life of 36 months which is pretty reasonable. I have a feeling I'm really going to love these. They smell really nice btw and I'm loving the conditioner because it does not make my hair feel heavy or flat unlike a few.

I'll be posting an update of how I'm liking these two after 30 days of using them. Why don't you take the challenge with me and pick these two and give them a try and tell me how you liked them?

Till next,