All posts by My Era

About My Era

My Era is a simple girl who writes about her struggles, her strengths, her failures and everything else that is a part of her life.This blog is her unedited diary.

Melting Point

Happiness is an attitude we act upon.  We either make ourselves miserable, or happier and stronger.  The amount of work is the same.

All my life I have been known for my optimistic approach to life and a warm smile. Not anymore. There are days in a row when I haven’t smiled even once. I’d like to clarify, here, by smiling I mean a happy smile and not a courteous one. I shower the latter pretty promptly many times a day.

The dried up smiles sure have been watermarked by tears that flow promptly these days. I dearly miss my lost smiles. No-matter how hard I try, smiling these days takes a conscious effort and I am sure, the effort shows.

When my (apparently) happy life started falling apart like a pack of cards, I had imagined the future to be difficult. I knew times would be trying. But, among every other chaos, deep within my heart, I had felt that with the love of my dear ones, I’ll surely sail through these rough waters.

Time ticked past. Like a journey in train, life, people, memories zipped past me as I struggled, stumbled yet moved on. But, today, while taking stock of my life, I realized, I am still sore deep inside. My cheeks are still water marked and my heart is still aching with raw pain.

It’s rightly said, people who are closest to you always hurt you the most. Something similar has been going on in my life. I am so miserable that I struggle to spend the 24 hour, everyday gifts me. I am growing bitter and brittle with each second. The negativity in my system is flowing above the danger level and my sanity is the long lost item.

* All details and more are coming up in my next post that will be password protected. If you do not receive the password within 6 hours of my publishing it, please drop me an email and I’ll be happy to share the password if you are a regular reader of my blog.

The song on my mind : Mere dukh ki koi dawa na karo ~ Chitra Singh & Jagjit Singh

Bringing life on track

I have had a totally messed up year, where I had no clue what was happening, what lay ahead and how time went past.

The only thing I could feel was being caught in mid-waters of a sea of negativity, pain and hurt. Struggling to swim across,but failing miserably. No, I haven’t yet managed to reach the shore but I have started to see land, though far away.

I initially thought of listing the top issues in my life. I was taken back by the sheer number of the issues I am trying to tackle at any given point of time. So the idea was dumped with the same speed it rose.

One fine day a couple of months ago, when I had a spare minute I decided to put everything aside and give myself a second look.

I was aghast to note that I had suddenly (cause I had not taken any note of it in the past two years) started looking old, sick, depressed, unkempt and overall sad. I was taken aback by my image because everyday when I visit Pari’s school to drop and pick her, I have seen other mothers look way younger, prettier and happier than I ever do.

Not impressed by the findings, I decided to get working on reclaiming myself, wiping off the dust of neglect from myself. It was a tedious task given the depressed state I have been in lately, but i am glad I made a conscious effort to stir up my life.

The work has just started and I am slowly adding tasks to my to-do list of reclaiming myself but the results have been quite encouraging.

A simple change in my lifestyle like sleeping just an hour more than what I have sleeping for years now (4-5 hours daily) has taken care of my dark circles. All disappeared in 15 days flat. Sleeping better has done wonders to my skin, that feels humanly soft as compared to a rag that it had started feeling in the past year or so.

A switch of my face cream has made me look my age again in two months. No, it’s not the miracle of the cream (that’s why I am not mentioning which one it is). It’s the little extra care I have started taking to keep my face clean and regularly moisturize it that has brought about the change.

My health is one of the most neglected areas of my life lately and today I took my first baby step to change it. It sounds ridiculous, that an adrenaline junkie like me who loves the adrenaline rush after a workout, more than most things in life hasn’t had the time / motivation/ mood to workout in the past one year.

It felt like eternity, but finally I worked out today.

It has been a humongous task re-building life, my identity, my self-esteem from scratch after the massive blows life has been giving me repeatedly. But, today, I feel a tiny surge of peace fill me as I write that I have been trying hard to get my life on track and slowly results are beginning to show.

It’s a train of thoughts that’ll need to be continued for a long series of posts to capture all that has been going on in my life that I have missed on recording in this blog. But, I will pick up the loose ends and tie them up in due course of time.

Despite being depressed from a very long time, love for life is the only thing that has kept me trying hard to come back stronger. I am not giving up. Never. And yes, I will be back to rant more.

The song on my mind : Tum ho pass mere ~ Rockstar 

Product Launch : Colgate Slim Soft Charcoal Toothbrush

Please read : What The Black is going on? and The Clear Picture before reading further.

Today was the day when the mystery behind #WhatTheBlack was going to be solved. As expected, the product hunt ended with the launch of Colgate Slim Soft Charcoal Toothbrush.

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Colgate SlimSoft Charcoal Toothbrush

I was over-joyed to see that all the brain-storming and debating done in the course of last week did bear fruit and my prediction of what the product shall be, stood 100% correct.

Since I am done with the happy dance, squeals of joy and personally thanking everyone who helped me solve this ‘creative’ puzzle I think it’s time to take a closer look at the product that was launched today.

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The SlimSoft bristles are infused with the goodness of charcoal to fight the decay causing bacteria in plaque much better than ever before.

What exactly is dental plaque? 

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With slimmer bristles than an ordinary toothbrush that are soft in texture, the SlimSoft toothbrushes from Colgate have been doing a wonderful job. I have personally experienced easier brushing with a narrower head and slimmer bristles helping me clean distant areas (my wisdom teeth) of the mouth easily.

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This new product claims to have infused ‘Charcoal’ in bristles that will inhibit the growth of bacteria in dental plaque.

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Sounds impressive enough?

I sure think so. It’s time to put to test this #WhatTheBlack  toothbrush and make the most of its ‘Black’ power to keep decay at bay and have a healthy white smile.

P.S. – All the images used in the article have been taken from the Internet.

The Clear Picture

After breaking my head for three days, non-stop guessing #WhatTheBlack was going on, today the clue #3 brought a remarkable revelation.

Please read the story so far of my quest of #WhatTheBlack is going on before reading further.

Today as per the schedule, Clue #3 arrived at the doorstep of the selected participants. The clue was a black paper cup and a black tissue. When I saw the pictures of the same (As I have yet not received my parcels and have been told it seems to be lost in transit) my joy had no bound, because it was exactly what I had predicted.

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Clue #3 A black paper cup and a black tissue paper.
Clue #3 A black paper cup and a black tissue paper.

Since the final clue in the maze fit perfectly, the mystery of #WhatTheBlack has apparently been solved. The clear picture that has risen is as under.

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It is a product used in morning, that fits the Oral Care regimen bill (as per my hypothesis here) and most likely it is a Black Toothbrush.

Continuing playing Sherlock Holmes, I decided to seek help from Google.

This is what I found :

slimsoft-chacoal

Yes, my prediction of #WhatTheBlack is the Colgate Slim Soft Charcoal Toothbrush.

While I excitedly wait for the product to reveal itself tomorrow (2nd of August 2014) let’s analyse what the three clues probably hinted that would sum up to the product launch of a toothbrush with black bristles.

Clue #1 – A black egg filled with chocolate ~ that’s Etiology (causative factor) of dental decay.

Clue #2 – A black newspaper ~ hints at the Epidemiology (occurrence) of dental decay. It would imply that cavities can happen to anyone and make up for one of the most rampant and prevalent diseases known to mankind. A burning issue that needs our attention.

Clue #3 – A black paper cup and a black tissue ~ it’s often used in the Dentist’s office and could also hint at the Treatment stage that is the presence of dental decay looking for treatment.

The final product (yet to be revealed) is a black Oral Care product (Toothbrush or Toothpaste or both) that makes up the Preventive measure to change the way the world brushes, with a slimmer head and bristles.

What are your thoughts? Do you think I have put the pieces of the puzzle correctly?

*P.S.- All inferences have been drawn seeing the clue images shared by other participants, as I haven’t yet received any pieces of the puzzle as yet.

What The Black is Going On?

Blogadda recently announced the #WhatTheBlack campaign.

As a part of the campaign, few shortlisted bloggers were to receive interesting clues (one clue everyday for three days) to help them guess the mystery behind #WhatTheBlack and on the fourth day the real product around which the suspense has been spun would be revealed.

Needless to say, I was excited, intrigued and curious enough to apply for the activity. I was shortlisted and thus began my journey of waiting for the 30th of July to arrive when the first clue was to arrive at my doorstep.

While I waited with bated breath checking whether the doorbell was working fine, ensuring there wasn’t anyone knocking at the main door umpteen times, my family pronounced me half-mad by 2pm.

It’s rightly said, ‘The watched pot boils last’ and that’s exactly what happened. Pictures of the first clue and tweets about it, started flooding my Twitter timeline, but my parcel was nowhere within my reach. Due to an error somewhere, two days since the campaign began I am yet to receive any clues.

In the past two days, besides crazily waiting for the clues to arrive I have been brainstorming with my family on what could be the real product around which #WhatTheBlack mystery has been spun.

Since my family has had enough head banging with me, I decided to target my dear blog readers next.

Let’s get cracking the mystery before it unfolds exactly a day from now.

Clues revealed thus far:

Clue #1 : A black egg filled with chocolate.

Clue #2: A black newspaper filled with news about things turning black, black things being discovered in every walk of life. The black egg forms the headlines.

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The black egg in the headline picture is Clue #1 and this black newspaper is Clue #2

Clue #3: Yet to be revealed tomorrow (on 1st of August 2014)

What I think is going on at #WhatTheBlack?

Initial thoughts:

Since a large number of bloggers were shortlisted for the campaign, my initial thoughts of it revolving around a black mobile phone went for a toss on logical grounds. It is definitely to involve a product that can be used by a wide variety of masses of different age groups given the group of people selected.

Since it can’t be a gadget, I had shortlisted : Dark chocolate, Shampoo, Deodorant, Kitchenware, Hair Oil , Face cream and Shoe Polish as the possible black products, due for a launch.

After Clue #1:

When I saw pictures of the first clue, that was a black egg filled with chocolate (very similar to the Easter eggs) I decided to try to find the clue beyond what was obvious; i.e. dark chocolate.

Besides, an egg denotes breakfast, it represents morning time. It also marks the origin or launch of a new product as also of the new life.

After Clue #2:

The second clue is a black newspaper. The obvious thought that struck me in line with the hypotheses I had drawn thus far was, the ‘Morning theme’ has been continued.

The newspaper has the black egg story as the headlines, that could either be a way to hint that the focus shouldn’t be lost from the direct co-relation of the clues rather than treating them as individual entities.

So with 2/3 clues out, what do you think the Clue #3 is going to be?

What’s your guess for the final product for which this campaign is designed?

There is no denying that it is a brilliant marketing campaign tailor-made to use the potential of blogging and active use of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to arouse curiosity and create buzz about the product launch.

Given the creativity with which the clues have been designed, I think, the connection hints to a product being used in morning. The product should be something that can be used by the general public irrespective of their eating habits or lifestyle (as no questions about them were asked to us before sending the clues or samples).

On this note, I checked out the following items from my list:

Shoe Polish : No relation to chocolate or newspaper as such

Breakfast Cereal : Has co-relation to morning but can’t be black (though chocolaty is possible but that isn’t NEW).

Shaving cream: Well, along with boys girls like me have been shortlisted in plenty to try & review the product so doesn’t make sense.

Dark Chocolate: The first clue wouldn’t have been a chocolate had it been the case.

Face cream : Possible but these days creams too are gender specific and how would you link it to chocolate? Though NOT ruling it out completely.

Shampoo / Hair Oil : it ranked quite high in my initial list and can be connected to bathing in morning. Yes, black suits it too. But, what connection it has to chocolate filled egg?

Deo : Possible but what co-relation it would have with chocolate?

I was going crazy thinking of possibilities while waiting for the clues to arrive, just when in the middle of a family discussion came my E U R E K A moment.

The EUREKA Moment: 

The one morning ritual I had completely forgotten was brushing teeth. How about a black Toothbrush or even a black Toothpaste?

When toothpaste these days can have Nimbu and Namak why can’t they be coloured black? Quite possible actually.

A black toothpaste? A toothpaste that’s black but makes teeth dazzling white.

Sounds possible and if it were to happen, it would surely hit the headlines. But somewhere deep it doesn’t sound like a very ‘right’ idea.

How about a black toothbrush?  Very much possible.

How would I co-relate a ‘Black Toothbrush’ to a chocolate filled egg and a black newspaper??

My logic (impending disclosure of Clue #3) : A black toothbrush fits the black colour bill. Secondly it is used to fight the decay caused by chocolates and is an essential part of the morning ritual. Though a black toothpaste is equally possible but I still support a black toothbrush more.

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Besides, chocolates constitute the main etiologic factor behind tooth decay, cavities, which are again black. Bad breath can also be associated to black that’s drowning the whole world (represented by the newspaper) in black-dom in the morning.

My prediction for Clue #3:  

If I am thinking on the right lines, the third clue has to be a product used in morning. My guess is a black coffee mug or coffee powder or perhaps tea (as it is black) to signify the morning ritual. Besides an empty coffee mug could denote a cavity too.

While I am still waiting for my set of clues to arrive to get a first hand look, feel and understanding please do share with me your thoughts on #WhatTheBlack is going on??

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P.S.- I’ll be sharing pictures of the clues and the product and further details as soon as I get to lay my hands on them.

My Dark Fantasies

I love life and marvel at its mysteries with awe. I believe this universe is made up of black primarily. The space, where we exist like a speck of dust, is black in its entirety, magnanimity and full glory giving room to light holding the remaining spectrum in its lap to play on.

I believe, Black is the most complete colour in the whole world, made of all colours in the palette. From dreams to nostalgia to warding off evil eye to the colour of the monsoon skies; it’s the one colour that suits all.

Black can play multiple roles with immense grace, effortlessly.

“Black is modest and arrogant at the same time,
Black is easy and lazy but mysterious,
But above all, black says this : ‘I don’t bother you –  don’t bother me’ ” – Yohji Yamamoto

These are a few of the B L A C K things that reign supreme in my wishlist :

1. Black Ink - I hail from a family of doctors and writers where pen has always proved to be mightier than the sword. Be it in the power of prescription writing  or the ink of the newspaper spreading awareness, I have experienced the life-changing power of them all.images

I wish to channelize my creativity, my passion for writing to write beyond the confines of my diary or blog and have my name ‘inked’ in the literary world.

2. Coco Chanel Noir - I love fragrances. In fact, love is an understatement for my passion for perfumes. Among the abundance of fragrances available, my love for Chanel perfumes has only grown with exposure to its aromatic treasures. After having tried and loved ‘Chance’, ‘Mademoiselle’ and No5 , Noir is on my list.242626_bigNoir is a beautiful scent which comes in a treasure of a bottle.

Why Noir?

Coco Noir reveals a black that is intimate, seductive , magnetic and intensely brilliant. Striking top notes of Grapefruit and Bergamot accentuate the floral accord, with Rose and Jasmine, while Indonesian Patchouli and Sandalwood notes add warmth. From this deep, rich black emerges a unique olfactory experience . A fascinating, incredibly seductive presence, redefining all codes.

“Coco Noir ~ Through BLACK … Light Revealed”

3. A dazzling Black cookware collection – My passion for food, cooking in particular, dates back to the time I was 3 years old. I used to watch my grandma roll out perfect round Rotis that would magically fluff on the griddle filling my mind with heavenly aroma. I used to play with dough and the chopped veges in toy kitchen set aspiring to stir up similar goodness someday.B0018S13MM.PT03_lg._V357461565_

Today, after having tasted and cooked many flavors from around the world, pretty successfully, I aspire to gift my kitchen the best of cookware a kitchen can ever have. Dazzling black diamond finish, anodized to last a lifetime, with the freedom to cook using any technique . Pots, pans, griddles, woks all would be majestic like pieces of jewelry.

Let heartwarming, delicious, memory stirring flavors be cooked and served in grandeur.

4. Long, Lustrous, Strong Hair – When I was a very little, I was forever in awe with the long, lustrous, jet black hair of my grandma (maternal) and mother. They were long enough to go down to their knees and require two people to have them washed and braided.

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While I was still growing my little pigtail, my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. I vividly remember seeing her lose her long hair in matter of months from her diagnosis. I was too little to understand the connection, but I was old enough to see the immense pain losing her glorious mane gifted my grandma. My mom was so hurt that she had her own tresses trimmed to shoulder length, following grandma’s demise due to cancer.

I somehow could never grow my hair longer than shoulder-length because of these events.

But things have changed after the birth of my daughter. Pari loves playing with her hair, styling them and wants me to grow hair with her. I wish to be a good sport. I dearly wish for long, strong, lustrous hair for both of us.

5. Space - My intrigue and fascination for the unseen skies has been beyond stargazing ever since my father had bought me a telescope at the age of 9.

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Knowing the planets and Milky Way beyond what meets the naked eye has seeded in me the desire to explore the space more. I wish to someday spot the Planet of burning Ice and the Diamond Planet with my telescope on a moonless night and to own a bigger and better telescope than I have now.

I know, you must be wondering how come luxury cars, gorgeous fashion accessories, fancy gadgets and the like didn’t find place in my Black wishlist.

The answer is, they sure stand tall in my wishlist, but in colours other than Black.

The Song on my mind: Black is Black ~ Los Bravos

This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at BlogAdda.com

When Hari Met His Saali

  • Title  – When Hari Met His Saali OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Author – Harsh Warrdhan
  • Publisher – Harlequin India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Genre – Fiction
  • Pages – 237
  • ISBN – 978-93-5106-449-7
  • Price – 299 INR

Blurb on the Book – Tia was in love with her career and her lifestyle in America. And she was madly in love with Hari. But where was the romance she craved? Simi was the young girl left behind in a small town in India who hadn’t seen her sister for years. She was a dreamer. But what did she really want out of life? And then there was Hari. Straight-forward and uncomplicated, it felt nothing he did was ever good enough for Tia. But didn’t every man want an ambitious and successful wife no matter how demanding they were?

Theirs was a love story that was never going to be conventional. But what happened to Hari and Tia was something that nobody would have predicted.

Mix two sisters with bad history between them and one clueless man, to form one whacky triangle, and you get a cautionary lesson in how you should be careful of what you such for in the name of love?

Review – The book has a colourful, eye-catching cover that well captures the essence of the plot while showcasing the wit that forms the soul of the book. The title at once rouses suspicion whether the book has been inspired by the famous Hollywood flick ‘When Harry met Sally’ which I can safely say, it is not.

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The book is divided into 11 long chapters that are further subdivided into scenes. The best part are the very creative, intriguing titles of them all. The characters in the book has been primarily limited to three main and a handful of supporting characters keeping the narration smooth, elaborate and leaving nothing to imagination.

The past, present and at places even the future of each character has been discussed at length. The book starts on a humorous note promising an entertaining read which it delivers right till the end.

The plot is simple, language lucid and narration impeccable that beautifully paints pictures in words. The book attempts at logically looking at every shade of its character’s personality in which it achieves success to a great deal.

The book is an interesting page turner till the half after which it becomes predictable, over elaborate and slowly begins to lose steam despite a very interesting twist in the events. The twist in the book from which the title is drawn comes with a very natural seeming turn of events but what follows next could have been better presented had the author limited the number of events around the climax.

The book comes across as having been written with the idea of being made into a as Bollywood movie at some point. Being a scriptwriter himself the author has succeeded in putting forth a picturesque narration.

Due care has been taken to pepper the chapters well with intimacy and passion which at times seems over done. The book is  a funny, fresh, and outrageous look at young people and their dreams, longings, aches and heart breaks.

“One loved me but wanted to change me. When I changed and became what she wanted, the other had issues with it. What kind of a man should I be?”

I personally feel the climax could have been dealt better had the author stuck to the ‘Brevity is the soul of wit’ rule of thumb. Tia’s character has been painted in an overdose of dark shades in an attempt to make Simi (her sister) emerge as the innocent angel which somehow tips the book off its balance making the ending very predictable.

I wish to congratulate Harsh Warrdhan on coming up with an ‘hypnotizing’ entertaining read (pun intended) that left a smile plastered to my face for a long time. The book deals the real versus fictional romance combat in a very enlightening way. However, I’d like to suggest that the book would make a better read with elimination of unwanted details and trivia.

If you enjoy reading romantic comedies this book is just for you. Go indulge in the magic of a love triangle between two sisters and an ever confused man.

About the Author – Harsh Warrdhan is an engineer, graduate from Columbia College. He took up screenwriting as a strategic career when he headed to Los Angeles from Nagpur to study film-making.

Harsh has written and directed an American film and has written screenplays for films and TV. ‘When Hari Met His Saali’ is his first novel.

Rating - 3.5/5

Zoutons : The loot is on

I am not a shopaholic and neither am I a spendthrift. I am one of the typical middle class girls who want full value of the money they spend. Every time.

When online shopping stepped in my life, besides the convenience it offered, the one thing I loved was the great bargains it offered while saving me from bargaining endlessly with salesperson at a local store.

With the booming market of online stores and mega-stores, the biggest issue I face as a customer is how to keep track of the best deals on products in my wish list while making the most of my money.

This is when the ‘Coupons’ come in.

I am sure you too must have cut and saved offer coupons from the daily newspaper or flyers in the mail, to avail that extra discount when you go shopping, at some point in your life. The coupon websites work on the very same lines. So does Zoutons.com

What is Zoutons . com?

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Zoutons.com is an online deals and coupons aggregation website that provides free coupons to the buyers which can be used at a particular e-commerce website to avail discounts.

What does it offer to interest you?

Zoutons has an array of coupons of all e-commerce stores conveniently categorised as :

1. Popular Coupons : These are the hot deals that are popular among shoppers owing to their high success rate.

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2. Latest Coupons : All the recently  released coupons and deals can be found in this list.

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3. Featured Coupons : These are coupons handpicked by Zoutons team that are most credible  and offering great discounts.

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The above categories are helpful when we are planning on buying a specific commodity, say a story book for my daughter or a saree for my mother and have a specific e-commerce store in mind.

But, if you are like me who sometimes enjoys browsing online shopping portals looking for interesting deals to buy gifts in advance or items to add to your collection (of any type), Zoutons has a solution for you.

The All Categories that has meticulously categorized coupons to help finding deals for an item of my choice in a blink, hassle-free.

From Flipkart to Pizza to travel bookings to office supplies to Shaadi.com they have coupons for everything you may want to buy online.

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Bank Loyalty Feature : We often come across exciting discount deals offered by the banks to users of their debit and credit cards, but while shopping online we often miss on availing them due to lack of means and knowledge as to how to avail the opportunity. This has been carefully worked upon at Zoutons where all major banks and their deals at offer are just a click away.

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What is making Zoutons popular among e-merchants? 

Since the customers have access to the best deals being offered, there is a rise in the wishlist cart item converting into a sale as the customer is not tempted to wait and watch for a better deal to come across. Hence shopping cart abandonment shows a steep decline.

With all research done on the overall website, let’s get to the real business.

How to use a coupon?

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It is a simple two step process which in next step takes you to the e-commerce site of your choice and you shop online like always. Though this time, with a known discount ready to be availed.

The last but not the least question that I am sure is ringing loud in your mind;

How does Zoutons profit by offering coupons to shoppers for free?

Zoutons earns by referral. They direct online shoppers to e-merchants and earn as affiliates while shoppers save money availing discounts on trusted coupons and save time with hassle free shopping from trusted brands.

 Pros :

1. User friendly website with an easy to navigate layout and eye-friendly design.

2. No annoying pop-ups scaring me away from the website as I find my way through best deals.

3. Huge database covering coupons in a wide variety of categories while highlighting the popular shopping portals and have all their deals and coupons on one page.

4. Submit a coupon feature that lets you share a deal and code you came across while shopping and found not listed on Zoutons.

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It’s a wonderful way to let the good Samaritans help other shoppers and be helped themselves through contribution of others.

5. A ready to help and easy to contact team with all necessary details mentioned in ‘Contact Us’ section.

6. Newsletter subscription that’s just a simple step away. It keeps us updated about the newly added coupons so that we can make the most of every deal.

Cons :

It is addictive. If you are a shopaholic, I’d like to warn you that use of Zoutons.com can be addictive because of its awesomeness.

What are you waiting for? Make the most of the coupons at  Zoutons.com and don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments below.

Conquering Negativity

I seem to have lost all control over myself in the battle against odds that have emerged victorious at every front in my life. I have been so caught up straightening out the messed up threads of my life, that I have lost the feel of the fabric of blogging, the joy of letting my inner self loose in it’s loving expanse.

Half of 2014 flew past in a flurry. To be very honest, I have been too occupied fighting my demons that I hardly ever stopped to take note of what day or date it was Though Pari’s school schedule has been my savior on that front, to some extent.

With school holidays ending in a couple of days, I am hoping to put an end to the chaos in my life, make record of all I have been up to, learn from my mistakes and get working on being an optimist, again.

It’s that time of the year when I celebrate anniversaries of two key life-changing events of my life. Birth of my baby and my divorce.

Till sometime back, I could have conveniently labelled the above two events as good and bad but with time and lot of insight, I now call them both as ‘Good’ events.

I have over time, learnt to re-live the fond memories of my married life without missing or hating or even feeling bitter about the man who is no longer part of my life. Yes, I have grown enough to cherish the good times without even thinking of the man part of it in any which way.

With the past taken due care of, the next challenge had been my relations and relatives in present life. Just as I had thought of relying on my siblings and extended family for emotional support, my mother’s cancer came as an eye- opener. The evil of suffering from cancer can have a million bad effects but a few good ones too.

Yes, with mum’s diagnosis of cancer people whom I had marked for the rainy day fled like the mosquitoes run on switching on Good Night. Among the extended family, my mother’s favourite child my elder brother too abandoned us ( more importantly my mother) calling her a liability in face, never to look back and check on her well being in past 9 months.

Misfortune seems to have shifted in permanently in my life, creating havoc at whim. What my brother did, left my mother depressed, broken, shaken, miserable and heart broken beyond what cancer could have done to her.

It has taken Dad and me months to help her see the good in being abandoned by her favourite child. I know repeated use of ‘favourite’ is pretty evident in my words, but I want it so for it holds deep meaning for me. I’ll do a detailed post on that a little later.

So this has been the major breaking point for my mother besides the many medical complications that sent her of a rough ride of depression that swept me off while I cared for her night and day.

I have lost a major bit of myself, my grit and soul in the past nine months, emerging a depressed, irritable, sore monster, ready to bite anyone who dared to come near me.

Twelve Hours of Temptation

  • Title  – Twelve Hours of TemptationOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Author – Shoma Narayanan
  • Publisher – Harlequin India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Genre – Romance (Fiction)
  • Pages – 184
  • ISBN – 978-93-5106-445-9
  • Price – 150 INR

Blurb on the Book – The best mistake of his life?

Being chained to her desk is not how copywriter Melissa D’Cruz envisaged spending the night before her first major awards ceremony. No Cinderella moment for this award nominee–instead she’s facing a night of deadlines! But Melissa is determined to get to the event…she just has to work out how….

New boss Samir Razdan catches Melissa burning the midnight oil and offers to drive her to the event himself. But the minute they set off Samir knows he’s in trouble–because being this close to Melissa is already driving him crazy, and they’ve got twelve torturous hours of temptation ahead…!

Review – The Twelve hours of Temptation is a book of the Indian Mills & Boon series that has a pretty cover capturing the very essence of the plot in a very beautiful way. I particularly loved the title of the book that conveys the gist of the whole plot aptly.

I have read a number of Mills & Boon books in my teens and they have always made for my favorite travel companions. The one thing that disappointed me was that the very first page of the book has an untitled prologue (or you may call it the introduction as it isn’t titled) that starts off at a big (slightly distracting) font. It would have been better if it were placed at the second or third page.

The story is well presented with a lucid narration generously peppered with palpable passion. The plot is simple and predictable but the sensitive execution and lot of space given for the characters to evolve, makes it a delightful read.

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I wish to congratulate the author on churning out a heartwarming romantic tale that though appears to be a typical Boss and employee affair in the start, but has sublime emotions basking in sound reasoning that made this simple story go up by notches.

I was particularly impressed at the way the protagonist, Sameer succeeds in putting aside his ego and comes across as a caring friend for Melissa at every point while they both struggled to seek answers about the future of their relationship.

Unlike all the Mills & Boon books this book has no scenes devoted to passionate love making relying completely in painting love and myriad emotions in words. The book delves into the intricacies of a relation without limiting itself to temptation alone.

I am sure many readers will be able to relate to Melissa and Sameer while still more will feel connected with the emotions that make this book a refreshing read.

The only point of weakness in the plot is while Melissa’s character and background has been thoroughly explored and explained, very little light has been thrown on the mysteries circling Sameer’s past. However, the author does answer most questions that cloud the reader’s mind the climax appeared uncannily ‘filmy’.

I recommend this book as a perfect travel companion and if you are a Mills & Boon fan you’ll enjoy this treat read as it fulfills most expectations of a romantic read.

About the Author – Shoma started reading romances at the age of eleven, borrowing them from neighbours so that her parents didn’t find out. At that time the thought of writing one herself never entered her head. But a couple of years ago Shoma took up writing and was amazed at how much she enjoyed it. Now she works grimly at her banking job through the week, and tries to balance writing with household chores during weekends.

Rating - 3.5/5

The Sceptical Patriot

  • Title  – The Sceptical PatriotTheScepticalPatriot
  • Author – Sidin Vadukut
  • Publisher – Rupa Publications
  • Genre – Non- Fiction
  • Pages – 208
  • ISBN – 978-81-291-2903-1
  • Price – 250 INR

Blurb on the Book – India. A land where history, myth and email forwards have come together to create a sense of a glorious past that is awe-inspiring…and also kind of dubious. But that is what happens when your future is uncertain and your present is kind of shitty—it gets embellished until it becomes a totem of greatness and a portent of potential.

Sidin Vadukut takes on a complete catalogue of ‘India’s Greatest Hits’ and ventures to separate the wheat of fact from the chaff of legend. Did India really invent the zero? Has it truly never invaded a foreign country in over 1,000 years?

Did Indians actually invent plastic surgery before those insufferable Europeans? The truth is more interesting—and complicated—than you think.

Review –  The book has a very eye-catching cover that’s creative, colorful and depicts the true essence of the book beautifully. I particularly loved the (* conditions Apply) written on the cover because the author has used this clause very intelligently.

The book begins with ‘Extensive Disclaimers’ (that’s the title of the introduction chapter) where the author has exercised his liberty to show the reader the thought process that he went through in writing this book.

The book points at the very biases we Indians have spun around us and how we have started living lives believing in the information being fed to us through viral texts, forwarded emails and repeated a million times in digital media. How we very conveniently, never ever stop to inquire or dig deeper or unearth the facts lying buried in the pile of attractive banners and messages doing circles in media of all sorts. Digital or otherwise.

Sidin Vadukut has touched upon handful of the most popular oft-repeated ‘India facts’. Researched about their roots and has tried to put forward the actual facts taking care to make this arduous journey interesting with a dose of his humor. The first seven chapters of the book are dedicated to such myths with ‘Fact score cards’ at the end of each chapter helping sum up the findings during the chapter.

Besides the ‘facts’, there are also the quotes outlining the greatness of India. As the author looks into the original versions of these quotes as such, instances of omission, excision & even misrepresentation begin to surface; leaving the reader to make his own conclusions.

The whole idea is some the ‘facts’ talked about in this book are believed upon blindly by the smartest, most educated, most influential Indians so fervently, that many wouldn’t harbor the idea of weighing the veracity of these perceptions.

“Why are we so easily swayed by facts forwarded by email? Why do so many Indians believe that the Taj Mahal was originally a temple called Tejo Mahalaya? Why do so many of us instantly believe and immediately proselytize that ‘India has never invaded any country in her last 1,000 years of history’ or that ‘The word “navigation” is derived from the Sanskrit navgath’ without even pausing to ask: ‘Is any of this actually true?”

The narration is crisp, language lucid and rich in entertaining anecdotes from the author’s life making it an interesting read.

I have to admit that on many occasions I felt ‘why should I bother to read all the research Sidin has done and not just skim to the inferences?’ At all those points, Vadukut seemed to have read my mind giving me funny and interesting memoirs of his life to keep me going till the end.

I recommend reading this myth-buster book with a lot of patience to experience the brilliance peppered with humor to the fullest. The author has made it clear right in the start that India is indeed great, this book is about Indians and the truth behind the glorified myths circling them.

The final two chapters make for the cherry on the cake as they talk about all the thoughts I felt fill my mind while reading the book. Why History and Skepticism matter? What is the point of all the research done while writing this book? What Sidin has written, suddenly seems to make a lot of sense.

If you’re looking for an interesting, different from routine, summer read that will engage & enlighten your mind, your search ends at The Sceptical Patriot.

About The Author – Sidin Vadukut is one of India’s most popular journalists, authors, columnists and bloggers. He is currently an editor with Mint, and is the author of the best-selling Dork series.

The Sceptical Patriot is his first book of non-fiction. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.

Rating - 4/5

School Diary – IV

You can catch up on all posts on Pari’s school life by visiting the School Diary section of this blog.

The cuts on Pari’s nose and around eye area weren’t too deep, but what had actually triggered my fury was the sheer insensitivity of the school staff towards a child who was mere two and a half years old.

The most disturbing finding was, when I had noticed Pari’s injury at home, she actually had the mud from her fall still clinging to the scratched area. The only thing it meant was, her teacher hadn’t even bothered to try to clean up the wound, let alone attempting first aid or to the least inform me when I reached school to pick Pari.

It has been a norm at Pari’s school that the child was accompanied by a staff member to the school gate at the time the school got over in afternoon, so the teacher had every opportunity to share a word or two with me.

Things were not going right, but Pari’s annual day was hardly a few days away, so I decided to be a sport for the time being.

The Annual day arrived and Pari did extraordinarily well in the fashion show blowing kisses to the audience. In the group dance she had a cute partner, but once the music started, Pari was so busy having fun dancing away that she almost forget the existence of her partner. The little boy (who was her partner) kept dancing at one spot in shock watching where all Pari was going on stage leaving him behind.

The biggest surprise came when Pari’s name was announced among students being awarded for being ‘excellent in academics’. Yes, I was surprised, excited, jubilant and much more but in the back of my mind I was ‘shocked’.

I know I sound like a mad mom who was shocked to see her child being awarded for being very good in academics. But, I have to confess I was. The reason being, Pari had been attending school for hardly three months then and was only at the start of learning up rhymes, alphabets and more. She was nowhere close to being considered exceptional.

But, I played on and we were all excited on Pari doing exceptionally well at the annual function.

The spring break resumed and after around eight days her school reopened for the new session.

In a meeting with principal, came the moment that came to me like point-blank fire. When I had no clue for a long moment,  how to react.

It so happened, that while discussing with the principal when would Pari be prepared to be promoted to Nursery, in the middle of the discussion the principal mentioned that Pari’s fall on the flower-pot seemed to have healed well during the spring break.

Seeing my puzzled look that reflected well the anger that was about to pour in words she decided to re-phrase her sentence saying she ‘assumed’ Pari must have had a fall on the pots where the kids usually fell.

The height of negligence triggered my anger enough to point to the principal that if she had been aware all the way as to where had Pari had a fall why was the staff continuously refusing any knowledge?

Secondly, if many other kids too had fallen on the pots before Pari, why had the flower pots not been removed from the area as yet?

What started with a few firm questions from me, was meted with jaw dropping replies from the school principal. When I pointed out that besides academics the school was also expected to be responsible for the well-being of the kids during school hours, the principal in haste of ending and winning the argument made a very ‘nasty’ remark on my character and my being a divorcee.

I had no way seen this coming.

Especially from my child’s school principal.

Are single parents not just parents like others? Is being a divorcee a qualification that entitles every Tom, Daisy, Harry to pass a loose remark on my life, my character or any other aspect of my private life?

No, I am not looking for answers to any of the above questions, because I have my own answers etched in my mind for the same.

Yes, I am a parent, but I am first an individual before being anything else, who has her self-respect and pride intact irrespective of my marital status.

I retorted back to the principal with a fitting reply and decided that the school was no way fit for molding my child’s future.

The nasty remark was reason enough to push me off the edge, but when the principal said (on the verge of losing the argument) that she’ll see how Pari fares in the remaining academic year and will see to it that Pari pays well for the argument we had just had, I really had no other choice but to decide to change Pari’s school.

The time bomb I had felt ticking in my head since long, had finally exploded. Because (despite my efforts) all of this heated argument actually happened with my precious Pari sitting in my lap, where she didn’t understand a word but was shaken and panic struck beyond words.

The song on my mind : Ajeeb Dastan hai ye – Dil apna preet parayi