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.

His Runaway Royal Bride

  • Title  – His Runaway Royal Bride HRRB
  • Author – Tanu Jain
  • Publisher – Harlequin India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Genre – Romance (Fiction)
  • Pages – 185
  • ISBN – 978-93-5106-461-9
  • Price – 150 INR

Blurb on the Book – When Maharaj Vidyamann Veer Singh of Samogpur’s beautiful young wife vanished three years ago everyone assumed she was dead. When Veer discovers she’s actually alive and well he’s determined to bring her back home to do her duty…

Meethi loved Veer passionately but felt shackled in the role of his wife. Will they overcome the obstacles to find happiness in marriage?

Review – The book has a beautiful cover in royal tones of red, gold and off-white that captures the theme of the book wonderfully. I particularly loved the red running shoes on the cover. Like the cover, the title of the book has successfully captured the theme of the story.

I am in love with the Indian Author Collection of Mills & Boon because it makes it easier for me to relate to the setting of the story while relishing the goodness Mills & Boon is well-known for.

The book starts on a thriller note which slowly blends in the charming story full of love, passion and an enthralling emotional ride, never losing the mystery element. The plot revolves around the ups and downs in the marital life of Maharaj Vidyamann Veer Singh of Samogpur and his wife wife Meethi.

The book has a unique plot with limited number of characters despite a royal setting.

I wish to congratulate the author on the powerful portrayal of the character of Maharaj Veer Singh. While playing an egoistic, chauvinist, Veer comes across as the ideal dream man who has an aura of realism. He has his due share of star qualities with a pure heart that beats in love while having the strength to own up his mistakes while striving to correct them.

Meethi is a strong willed young girl who wages a war against depression in the loving presence and care of Veer Singh. She fights depression, sickness and all odds to finally take a stand for herself in the climax. Even in the towering presence of Veer, Meethi never fails to impress with her innocence and audaciousness to speak her mind.

The book has captured the emotional upheaval of Meethi well, evoking heartrending pain in the reader. The plot is engaging, language rich, narration lucid and the story has an optimum dose of family drama with the spice of suspense to make this book a very interesting read.

“They sat there in silence for some moments, looking out across the dark wilderness, sparsely dotted with twinkling lights. Life was rushing by and soon their time would be over. And, tragically, they were wasting precious breaths, besieged by complexes and mired in insecurities.’

I particularly loved the sensitivity with which Tanu Jain has slowly ironed out the differences in Veer & Meethi’s married life, helping them see the bigger picture while rediscovering the love that had always been their guiding light.

An entertaining read that I highly recommend to every Mills & Boon fan.

About the Author – Tanu Jain currently lives in Gwalior, India, with her family. This is her second title from the Indian Author Collection of Mills & Boon. Her first book was ‘His Captive Indian Princess’.

Rating – 4/5

Angarey

  • Title  – Angarey : 9 Stories and A Play Book-Angarey
  • Author – Translated from Urdu by Vibha S. Chauhan and Khalid Alvi
  • Publisher – Rupa Publications Ltd.
  • Genre – Fiction
  • Pages – 101
  • ISBN – 978-81-291-3108-9
  • Price – 199 INR

Blurb on the Book –  Angarey was banned by the government of the United Provinces a few months after it was first published in 1932. Almost all the copies printed were seized and set on fire. The release of the book had been marked by protests and the government was convinced that it would offend the sensibilities of society.

Written by four young firebrands—Sajjad Zahir, Ahmed Ali, Rashid Jahan and Mahmuduzzafar—Angarey comprises nine stories and a play. ‘Heaven Assured’ pokes fun at a moulvi’s excessive piety, while ‘Masculinity’ effectively uses the interior monologue to skewer patriarchy. The stories ‘A Night of Mahavatt, the Winter Rain’ and ‘The Clouds Don’t Come’ are brilliant instances of the stream-of-consciousness technique being used to evoke an epic desolation and the uselessness of religion as a prop when faced by grinding poverty.

Angarey, the book which invited one of the earliest bans on free speech in India, and a precursor of the Progressive Writers’ Movement, was re-published in Urdu in 1995. Sensitively and brilliantly translated, this is the first time that the book is being published in the English language.

Review – The book has a cover suiting it’s title perfectly and the biggest irony is, the title Angarey (burning charcoal pieces) came to life when the book was released with the controversy the stories sparked.

The book sheds light on the history, social beliefs and the circumstances that brought about the banning of Angarey in the 40 page introduction that precedes the short stories. I think the introduction could have been limited to fewer pages, because it did steal my enthusiasm to read the book.

The short story collection wonderfully defies the social conventions and also brings to light the unsaid. The short stories featuring in this collection throw light on sexual desire, its repression and how restrictions, whether social or religious affect the human mind. The stories are first person narratives bringing out the intricate details of the mindset, beliefs and social settings prevalent in those times with most unexpected twists and views.

I wish to congratulate the authors for the effort put to understand religion, society, gender, customs, sensitively.  The modern outlook in the approach of short stories didn’t fail to amaze me. The authors have vented their dislike for the putrid customs and beliefs that treated women as mere objects of recreation and procreation with no respect spared for them.

Reading this book has been a journey through a century of social beliefs written with modern outlook that adds a spark of optimism to the stories highlighting the stinking social beliefs. The sad part being, some of those social beliefs are still prevalent in today’s times.

The translation is good and the foreword is written by Nadira Babbar the daughter of Sajjad Zahir one of the prominent figures of the Progressive Movement.

About the Author: Dr Vibha S. Chauhan – teaches English at the Zakir Husain Delhi College, University of Delhi.
Dr Khalid Alvi – teaches Urdu at the Zakir Husain Delhi College, University of Delhi.

Rating : 3/5

The Pen Warriors – Post 11

The Team Logo
The Team Logo

Too Late For Atonement – Chapter -10

Read the previous parts of the story here –  Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3Chapter 4 , Chapter 5 Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8 and Chapter 9.

Jennifer felt the burden of her father’s betrayal wear her down. The boil of rage had made her decide she needed to go to Mumbai and confront him. He was the pivot around whom miseries of her life revolved. But deep within, her heart lurched in anxiety.

She wanted to protect the fond father-daughter moments from tarnishing in the spew of acid she felt fill her up. She was battling the conflict that though her father was a hardcore businessman at heart, he couldn’t have traded his family’s joy for a momentary fling. However, temptations have a way of making the unwilling spirit give into the weaknesses of the body.

Jennifer felt her fury give way to reasoning. The doting daughter in her, wanted to give her father a benefit of doubt. But, the facts in her hand, the diary, the torn photograph, her mother’s silent suffering, were clues enough to hint a grave secret. She had to unearth the ploy.

While she waited for the travel agent to revert with her flight details, she decided to keep the iniquitous thoughts at bay watching TV. She flipped through channels without waiting to note what was on air. From MTV to FTV to Food Food to Surya TV to Cartoon Network she navigated through all, without stopping for longer than a blink.

A smile of familiarity rose to her lips as she stopped to see what Daya was up to in CID, but her mind wasn’t ready for any more drama than that was already on in her life. She decided to switch to news channels. The weather report was on air, predicting heavy rainfall in the coming 15 days. Jennifer’s mind wandered to the jokes she and her friends cracked on the meteorological department. If they say it’ll rain heavy, possibility of a drought was way higher.

Jennifer was about to change the channel when a breaking news interrupted the program. A familiar face claimed to be reporting from the Bombay Hospital in Mumbai, stated that on autopsy of a badly disfigured body found near the Pune- Mumbai Expressway, it was revealed to belong to a celebrated businessman from Kochi.

Jennifer’s heart jumped into her throat, pounding so loud that she could hardly hear the name. Moisture welled her eyes making it impossible to read the news as it streamed past in the lower border of the screen.

The remote slipped from her grip with a thud, waking her from the trance. For the first time in her life, she thanked the News channel for being repetitive about the breaking news, a fact she loathed and never failed to frown upon.

Her curse had come true. It was the news of her father’s death. Joesph Kurien. Soon the clouds of overwhelming emotions gave way to a fiendish smirk. Things were beginning to fall in place.

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“Cut it…..”, shrieked Tara, for the twenty-first time. She wasn’t able to concentrate on the shoot and something major was amiss from the diaper advertisement she was working on.

Working with child artists is quite challenging. Frequent retakes only add to the difficulty, making the child go crankier by the minute. Tara just couldn’t concentrate. Memories of Roohi’s childhood would come gushing through the flood-gates as soon as the camera started rolling.

Tara decided to let her assistant take over for the shoot, stepping out to find peace with a cup of black coffee. She darted to her cabin but the team noted in horror stream of tears tint Tara’s cheeks. It was a first and no one missed it.

In Tara’s mind played the day when Roohi was around a year old and learning to take her baby steps. Shekhar was out-of-town for work and Tara had taken a day off. While she encouraged Roohi to walk, the landline phone rang.

Hoping it to be Shekhar, Tara answered in an excited voice.

“Hello honey…you called at the perfect time. I was about to call you”

Without waiting for a reply, she continued; “You know our Roohi took her first steps this morning” said Tara in a voice full of motherly jubilation.

The other end of the line was quiet. She could hear a cold sigh, light breathing but nothing more than that.

Worried and alarmed Tara blurted out, “Hello….Shekhar….you there?”

The phone line boomed with the baritone of a familiar voice. It didn’t belong to Shekhar. Fear and fury gave her goose-bumps. It was Roohi’s biological father on the line.

Her thoughts were disrupted with, “Tara, I am coming over….”

Before she could react, the line went dead. The engaged tone hit her ear-drums like the blare of rock music threatening to deafen her.

She wanted to run away with her precious child. Protect her from his alluring charm that disarmed her every time he was around. She dreaded he might take away Roohi from her. She wanted Shekhar to return that very minute. His family needed him.

Tara raced to her closet to bring her handbag, checked for money while shoving her phone inside, dashing to pack the baby bag, when the doorbell rang.

She stopped as if shot point-blank. Her game was up. He was here.

The chaos disturbed Roohi and she started crying. Tara thought of escaping from the balcony, but trying to jump down the fourth floor with a year old baby was nothing short of a suicide attempt with murder of an infant at best.

She was cornered. She had to face him, she had to protect Roohi and she had to maintain the sanctity of her marriage.

Overwhelmed by fear, with dwindling determination, she reached for the door that was trembling with fervent knocking.

She asked in a bleak voice “Who is it?” which was answered by the thumping growing louder.

Putting the safety chain lock, she opened the door.

“It’s me Aryan…Aryan Ahuja….your neighbor”

“Oh it’s you….then why didn’t you reply when I asked who was it?” mumbled Tara trying to catch on her breath and wiping  the sweat off her brow.

“Oh! Did you ask? Sorry… I didn’t hear you ask Mrs. Dutta and I heard Roohi wailing. With you not answering the doorbell, I got little worried that’s why I was hammering your door”

“Actually…” said Tara while racing her mind to come up with an excuse.

“Actually?” asked Aryan with suspicion, his favorite emotion painted over his face and a spiked brow.

“Err…actually I am not well, I have been vomiting, that’s why Roohi was feeling alarmed and started crying” said Tara heaving a sigh of relief and acting to wipe off her face.

“Oh…” said Aryan with an unconvinced look.

“Can I help you with anything? Medicine maybe?” Aryan was trying to assess the situation probing his eyeball through the narrow crevice the chain lock allowed.

“Oh no…thank you Aryan, but I am fine…I have the medicine…please don’t worry”

“Mrs. Dutta are you trying to push me away?” said Aryan rather bluntly with a mocking smile.

While Tara struggled, a tall figure silhouetted behind Aryan.

“She’s expecting me. Would you please excuse us?” boomed the figure.

Aryan turned to look who it was. Tara was left with no choice but to hastily shove him inside before Aryan could pick any unwanted cues.

Read the next part here : Chapter 11

Me and my team, The Pen Warriors, are participating in the ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.

The Pen Warriors – Post 6

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Our Team Logo

Too Late For Atonement – Chapter 5

 Read the previous parts of the story here –  Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 

“Mom are you again not going to attend the sports day?”

“Sorry darling, I can’t leave the photo shoot, something urgent has come up.” said Tara, desperately looking for a way to end this oft repeated drama, without a meltdown. She tried to be free for Roohi’s important day….but….

“Mom are you there?” said Roohi in a flustered tone

“A ….yes, listen Roohi… don’t be sad sweetheart, Daddy is going to be there to cheer you and he will be making a video too, so I won’t miss anything really”

“I am sure, this time too you’ll win the race.”

“Good lu…..”

Just as Tara was about to wish Roohi good luck, she heard the call end. Tara knew Roohi was upset and she will have to make it up to her soon.

Heartbroken, fuming with rage Roohi threw the mobile on the bed and began sobbing on her satin pillow.

Tara reacted no differently. She slammed her phone on her desk almost cracking the glass of her workstation.

It was times like these, when she hated her work the most. What good was this success and money going to yield, when she couldn’t be there with her family when they wanted her around.

A tear formed in the corner of her eye when her phone buzzed and she was back to business.

“Mom loves her work more than me and dad seems to be smitten with his PC. Nobody cares about how I feel, what I want in life.”

Roohi broke into loud sobbing that attracted Shekhar’s attention. He walked up to her room and gently knocked at the half open door, before stepping inside. One look at his princess and he knew what possibly could have gone wrong.

He gently stroked her hair tied in ponytails that eased her sobbing. In no time she hugged Shekhar. An understanding silence filled the air, where the hearts of a doting father and a hurt daughter wished the pain could vanish magically.

Shekhar’s creative mind was frantically looking around the room for inspiration on how to console her daughter, just when the digital photo-frame came to his rescue.download

“Roohi, you look so pretty in your mom’s shoes.”

Startled, Roohi lifted her head from Shekhar’s chest to follow his gaze and they both burst out laughing. Shekhar had meant it literally, because Roohi and Tara had the same shoe size. It amazed everyone as to how a 9 year old could have a foot as large as her mother. But nature had designed it in her favor. Her shoe size gave Roohi the freedom to flaunt her mom’s  exquisite shoe collection of Jimmy Choo, Caprice, Gerry Weber and more like a diva. While giving them both the liberty to quote that they had walked in each others shoes to know where the other was coming from.

The picture had Roohi crowned ‘Miss Universe’ in the school fashion night, where her beauteous elegance showered her with admiration and compliments galore.

Shekhar suddenly felt in control of the situation, but at the back of his mind he knew, he had to do some serious talking with Roohi to guide her emotions.

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” introspected Shekhar.

“Roohi… why are you so upset? You should be excited for the race later in the day”

“Dad… mom is again not going to make it to school, she keeps finding excuses to not be with me”

Shekhar bit his tongue to resist telling Roohi that it was not the case.

“Roohi, look at those pictures, see Tara is with you in most of them, isn’t she?”

Shrugging off the idea of another long lecture, disapprovingly Roohi muttered, “So what dad?”

“You aren’t getting the depth of what I have been trying to show you. If you look closely at these photographs, you’ll see mom has been with us, with you, as often she could”

“But dad, all my friends have their moms around all the time, they accompany them to school on all PTMs and are there to cheer for all practice sessions, when I am left craving for my mom”

Tears trickled down Roohi’s eyes piercing Shekhar’s heart like spears.

“Honey, if your mom isn’t around, I always am. Ain’t I?”

“Do any of your friend’s dads accompany them for practice sessions? Do they bake yummy cakes like I do? Best of all, does any of your friend’s dads take their daughters for shopping dresses and shoes like I do? Hmmm…?”

Roohi’s face lit up with the mention of cake and shopping, she was already feeling better, but her mind was determined to rebel.

“No dad, that is all that you do for me, how does that bail out mom?” retorted Roohi

Shekhar knew this was the make or break point. He had to score a win today, to have his little darling come to love the life she’d been gifted.

“Haven’t mom always come racing to your rescue when your pranks have led to serious trouble?”

Shekhar could read that Roohi was beginning to make sense of what he was saying, he continued, “Like you crashed Rohan’s computer last week and had pushed Mrs. Juneja in the pool in the party……remember?”

Roohi looked happy reminiscing the joy those pranks had brought to her. Shekhar could see realization dawn on her face.

“Look there Roohi, has any of your friends been to Disneyland for a vacation?”

Shekhar eyed Roohi to read the impact. Her eyes were twinkling with joy as she looked at her picture with Minnie Mouse, but she didn’t look convinced yet.

Without waiting for her to find a way to break the spell, Shekhar continued;

“Does any of your friends have had Ranbir Kapoor….’The’ Ranbir Kapoor wish them personally on their birthday?”

Roohi’s heart melted. The mere mention of Ranbir was enough to make her forget all grudges.

“Dad…” muttered Roohi, blushing and holding Shekhar tight in a bear hug.

“Now… without wasting a moment, get ready for the race. You’ve got to welcome mom home with a medal, don’t you?”

Roohi nodded an enthusiastic yes, before darting to the bathroom.

Shekhar thanked Ranbir for saving his family yet another time. Had Tara not been shooting for an ad film with Ranbir on Roohi’s birthday, this life-saver magical moment wouldn’t have happened.

A smirk rose to Shekhar’s lips, as he thought of the Disneyland vacation he had just mentioned to Roohi. Roohi thought her mom had fixed the trip, Tara thought, Shekhar’s clients in US had organized it, but only he knew where the money flew in from.

The subsequent parts of the story can be found here : Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8 and Chapter 9.

Me and my team, The Pen Warriors, are participating in the ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.

Rediscovering Love

I am aware the title of this post will raise quite a few eyebrows, but I couldn’t think of a better title in the hasty two minutes I spent doing so.

I started blogging in 2007. Have been pretty dedicated to it until everything part of my life started falling apart.My passion for writing too was taken by the blow. In an attempt to gather myself, I started this blog and since then it has been my personal diary with a few cookery posts and handful of book reviews.

In the past 4 years the one thing I felt missing in my life has been ‘my creativity’. Earlier I used to write short stories and many pieces of flash fiction, but in the chaos of the past four years, it hadn’t occurred to me to sit down and try to scribble a proper story. I have been too engrossed dealing with the harsh realities of life that my love for fiction seems to have evaporated.

I have been so cut off from creative writing, that these days, enjoying a good book too takes quite an effort on my part. With the turbulence in my life far from over, I have been brushing off many opportunities to write at many levels that come my way on a daily basis. For the lack of a better word, I have become an escapist. The hardcore romantic in me has died a slow, painful death. But, my love for happy endings has dared to live on.

Recently, Blogadda announced Celebrate Blogging campaign.

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As part of the activity there would be ‘Game of Blogs’ where bloggers would be teamed up randomly in groups of 10 to write stories. These stories are to be written as one part by each member of the team. Every blogger writes once a week and there will be eliminations every week.

The activity will be judged by a panel of esteemed writers and the winning story will have the opportunity of getting published.

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I had read about the same, the minute it was announced. However, I had been putting off participating on pretext of one excuse or the other. On the last day of registration, while I was still juggling the idea of registering ( I had been to the registration page atleast 10 times in past 72 hours and let it lie open till the page expired) I got a call from the team at Blogadda.

That was the turning point. I decided to give it a try. Today, I am part of the #CelebrateBlogging activity, due to start tomorrow.

I can feel a strange surge of joy fill my heart. Something in the corner of my mind has been screaming, ‘I am happy because I am back to blogging’. In my heart I know, no matter how many excuses I might come up with, but blogging is therapy to me. I have survived life’s fatal blows because of it. I am around because of my love for it and I am sure, blogging back in full swing will do more good to me than what I can imagine at this point of time.

So here I am, all set to embark on a journey of writing fiction with rusted creativity and zero imagination. Loaded with hope of reviving the lost me, the happier me in my quest to scribble a story in the days to come. I do not know if I will be able to stand the test of the campaign, but I am confident, it will ignite the spark to write in me.

I might be gone from your blogs for a long time, but mark my words, I will be back, because blogging is where my heart is.

The song on my mind : Aankhon mein humne aapke ~ Thodi si Bewafai

Time, Value and Wisdom

My home is where my heart is,

It is the origin and destination of all my dreams,

It is the abode of my loved ones,

The kaleidoscope gifting colours to my life.

From the four walls and more,

I wish to create the spectrum,

With freedom to customize every inch with my fantasy,

To paint every moment I spend at home,

Into a valuable lesson,

A treasured memory,

For us to cherish forever.

“Sometimes beautiful things come into our lives out of nowhere.  We can’t always understand them, but we have to trust in them.  I know you want to question everything, but sometimes it pays to just have a little faith.”  ―Lauren Kate

Even though we’ve moved to our new home, decorating every corner of the home is one process that I believe will continue life long. It is the matter of changing tastes, trends, needs and also the desire to welcome change in life.

My quest of finding decor items for my room, that I share with my daughter has finally found a destination. Make my home.

Blogadda recently hosted a contest where participants had to pick three items from the Make My Home site to re-do their home with a creative spin.

It was through this contest I chanced up on this fabulous one stop shop for complete household products that helps transform a house into a home.

After mulling over the splendid collection I decided to gift my world, my room a creative makeover with these:

1. The Gift of Time ~ Painted Peacock Wall Clock :

Like me, Pari too is an early riser. We celebrate our mornings waking up to the call of our friend, Peekoo. Peekoo is the nickname Pari has given to the Peacock who lives on the Palm tree overlooking our balcony. His call is our alarm and we both spend a lot of time watching him dance on our terrace and at play on the palm tree.

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Peekoo – Our Peacock Pal

Our association with Peekoo has grown stronger over time, making Pari enjoy mornings watching the sunrise, dancing peacocks, chirping birds, flying clouds while we plan our day in the lap of nature.

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Marwar Stores Painted Peacock Wall Clock

This beautiful association inspired me to pick a peacock clock to gift Pari a memory in ‘time’ to cherish our mornings and love for nature forever.

“Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you want to treasure and the things that made who you are”

2. The Value of Saving ~ Hand Painted Piggy Bank :

As Pari has stepped in the nursery and slowly beginning to enjoy counting, she’s slowly getting inclined to collecting and counting coins. I am aware she is still too young to understand the concept of money, saving and more, but she has been smitten with the idea of having a little piggy bank of her own.

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Aapno Rajasthan Hand Painted Piggy Bank

Pari is a big fan of Peppa the Pig. She loves learning with the cartoon series and has come to associate the piggy bank concept with Peppa (the pig) taking care of her collection for her.

 

This inspired me to sow the seeds of ‘money manners’ in my child with this bright and beautiful piggy bank. Adorned in Warli painting with men and women dancing around the fire celebrating an occasion features an ancient style . The smart shape with bright colours would make our room look bright and will help develop the habit of saving in Pari in future.

“A full purse is not as good as an empty one is bad. Saving money from the start is the foundation on which dreams are realized”

3. The Organised Wisdom ~ Globe Bookends : 

I read books as a hobby but I have been blessed with a child who loves books more than food. Even though Pari is too young to read books on her own, but her love for being read stories and reading picture books has gifted a big collection of her own books. More often than to my liking, these books are seen scattered everywhere because Pari likes them to stay within reach.

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With 50+ books in her collection that are growing in number everyday, these bookends would make a delightful gift for our room.

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The Yellow Door Globe Bookends

Pari loves to have the books within her reach so that she can read and put them back at her sweet will. Our book shelf being placed at a height isn’t something that she quite likes.

The globe book ends will help Pari explore books at leisure and will make an interesting addition to our room.

I believe, our thoughts about what we are and what we can be, precisely determine what we can be.

With these artistic and useful home decor items I wish to add beauty along with utility in form of instilling lessons of ‘Time, Value and Wisdom’ in my daughter’s life.

This post is a part of Makemyhome activity at BlogAdda.com