I wish I had the power of….#WedShadow

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‘Forgive and forget’ is advice handed out by more people than the number that  actually practices it.

Forgive is doable.

But I can never seem to forget. How does one do that?

My elephantine memory ensures that I remember each word and every detail of what I shouldn’t (of course this elephantine memory transforms into that of Aamir Khan’s in Ghajini when it comes to remembering everyday stuff, and directions)

And because I can’t forget I always wish I had the Power of Selective Memory. The power to erase a painful or unpleasant memory at will, and carry on happily.

How wonderful it would be to have the have the ability to do that at will! Just as we erase unwanted forwards and pictures from our phone memory so we have place for more, I would happily do the same and preserve only good memories that make me smile!

Wishful thinking, I know.

But Roms and Ruchie did share a tempting prompt Which one power you wish you get in life and why ? for #WedShadow and this is the power it made me wish for.

 

 

 

Twin Book Reviews – The Last Queen of India AND Nefertiti

Book Reviews:

The Last Queen of India AND Nefertiti
Historical fiction is not a genre that would interest me. Or so I thought, till a friend introduced me to Michelle Moran’s books. I was reluctant to start reading the first book but when I did start I couldn’t put it down!
The reason I am reviewing 2 books together is because, I read them back to back and all that I may have to say and share about one could be said for the other too. So here goes!
Jhansi ki Rani or Rani Laxmibai and Nefertiti are not names you may have not have heard of. Both were Queens who were known to have been adored by their people.
Strong women who took decisions that changed the course of history, and their lives. But what were they behind closed doors? What made them take the decisions they did? How did their decisions affect their family and loved ones? What were their insecurities and strengths, what kept them up at night and who did they trust, or not?
Rani Laxmibai had 6 personal, female bodyguards protecting her day and night. These guards had to go through various tests before they were chosen, sever all ties with their past, friends and family and promise a lifetime of loyalty to the Queen and crown. The guards were skilled in handling and using weapons, martial arts and some also went on to become confidants of the Queen. Sita was one of the Queens Guards and also her confidant, and is the narrator of The Last Queen of India.
Nefertiti was born to royalty and promised to it too. When the crown prince she was supposed to have been betrothed to dies under mysterious circumstances, Nefrititi sees to it that she is married to his successor, his younger brother. And as his Queen, she comes into her own, to the extent of shocking her countrymen and creating history by crowning herself a Pharaoh, a title akin to that of a King and only the privilege of men. Mutnodjmet, Nefertiti’s younger sister, who was always regaled to the shadows of her elder sister’s powerful aura narrates the tale of Nefertiti.
Michelle Moran loves history. And her writing assures that you will love it too.
Detailed research and painstaking attention to details weave stories that pull you in and transport your imagination to the places and people you are reading about. You become part of the cast of characters and feel the emotions they are going through, empathizing, sympathizing and even cheering them on!
Moran also seems to be pro-women, as the male protagonists in both the books I’ve read seem to come across as flawed.

But Historical Fiction is a genre you can take liberties with, and Moran seems to have taken the right ones, which enhance the story and leave a long lasting impact much after you’ve turned the last page.

This is my 2nd post for Week 1 for the Blogging Challenge #MyFriendAlexa by Blogchatter

I am taking my Alexa Rank to the next level with Blogchatter .
Current Rank (as on 1st September 2016) 

2,828,055 –  Alexa Traffic Rank

132,802 – Traffic Rank in India

Day 7 – Promise




They promised to love each other. 
They promised loyalty, respect and honor towards each other. 
To watch each others back, in both good and bad. 
They promised to stand by each other, in sickness and in health, till death do them part.
She kept her promises. 
Before she killed him, for not keeping his.

Writing as part of Team Purple Rain for the prompt, ‘Promise’

Day 6 – Wishful thinking

Molly brushed her hair till it shone, applied another coat of mascara to her eyelashes, smacked her rouged lips together and kissed her reflection in the mirror. She looked good. The soft pink of the dress brought out the glow on her face. Her new heels made her look taller and slimmer. She had blown a months salary to buy the dress, shoes and some makeup and it still pinched, but she knew every penny spent for today would be worth it.

Today was going to be special, she could feel it in her bones.

Molly had first met Mr Xavier 4 months ago at the airport, where she worked in the security department. She had only noticed him because he was a fine looking man, always well dressed, always accompanied by an entourage and someone who travelled very often. When she first saw him looking at her she shrugged it off as her imagination. When it happened again she looked at him from under her lashes. The next time, seated at his usual place in the glass-fronted lounge that over looked the airport, his eyes kept searching for her. She confirmed it by hiding behind a pillar, from where she could see him seated in the lounge but he couldn’t see her, and giggled as he looked for her. She knew this airport like the back of her hand, after working here for so many years.

He travelled frequently and was at the airport at least once a week, if not more. After a month spent seeking her out with his eyes, Mr Xavier sent one of the people from his entourage to approach Molly, wanting to know if she would join him for a coffee.
A furious blush bloomed on her face and she stammered her response, her work rules would not allow her to join him for coffee. The man walked away with the message as she stood rooted to the ground. When she looked up at the lounge, she saw the man who had just spoken to her bend towards Mr Xavier’s ear and as he finished relaying her message Mr Xavier graciously inclined her head towards her. Molly rushed to the restroom and splashed water on her face. She was elated, and stunned.

The next time Mr Xavier was at the airport, the same man who had approached her previously made his way towards her. Very discreetly, so only Molly and he knew what was going on, he slipped a small package into her hand and walked away. Molly quickly slipped the package into her pocket. It had all happened in the blink of an eye. After her duty for the day was over Molly rushed towards her locker, hoping there would be no one there. She was in luck as the locker was empty. She took out the package and unwrapped it gently. The paper fell apart to reveal the tiniest red rose she had ever seen. The stem of the rose was covered with a strip of paper. As she unrolled the, very expensive looking, paper she saw a number with a message, ‘This is my personal number.’
Molly’s sat down on the bench, as her legs couldn’t support her any longer. Her heart was thudding in her chest. She couldn’t believe that she was being singled out for attention by a, very obviously, good looking and influential man.

Molly’s cheerful nature never let people guess that she hadn’t had a good life. She never knew who her father was. One day her mother decided that motherhood was not her cup of tea and had disappeared with no forwarding address. Brought up by an Aunt and Uncle who did their best to make her comfortable, Molly still felt like an afterthought in a house which was bursting at the seams with six children all of who were older than her.
Not too bright where studies were concerned, she struggled through school and college. Boys whom no one fancied, fancied Molly, who didn’t fancy them in return, inviting their ire, and that of their friends.
She kept herself busy doing odd jobs and baby sitting, saving up every penny, till she could afford to move out and live on her own.

She now shared a bedsit with 5 other women. It was bare, it was uncomfortable, it was cheap. She was just glad to have her own space and to be on her own. Molly had cozied her side of the room as best as her imagination, and pocket, would allow and she looked forward to returning to it after a long day at work.

She was a hardworking girl. She agreed to work on all holidays, as she had no one to go with and nowhere to go either. At least at work it was cheerful and the airport was bustling, and the extra bit of money she made went towards her ‘Fund for a Finer Future’
A few days after receiving the rose and the note, Molly gathered the courage to call up the he number given. Mr Xavier had a deep voice and spoke very well. He suggested they meet up for coffee at a place of her choice, and they did. 

Molly was nervous, Mr Xavier was not. Over a Frappe and Donut, for her and an Espresso, for him, after the initial hesitation Molly started talking and how. Over the next few meetings Molly continued talking and talking, surprised that she had so much to share. Mr Xavier was a good and patient listener. He didn’t interrupt, he prodded her when she seemed at a loss for words and seemed to have an endless supply of crisp, white, linen handkerchiefs whenever her tears flowed. After these meetings Molly often reached home to find flowers, a box of chocolates or some trinket waiting for her. He was a decent man too. Except for patting her hand, he hadn’t touched her and at the airport all he did was look, respecting her workplace.

But today things were going to change. Mr Xavier had invited Molly to dinner, at the most exclusive and expensive restaurant in the city, the name of which she couldn’t even pronounce! He was sending a car to pick her up too! She was excited! She had a feeling he wanted to take the relationship to the next level, and blushed as she thought about it.

The car arrived for Molly and she was stunned to see it was a limousine. She had only seen pictures of one before! She sat inside it and looked around in wonder, it was gorgeous! Her eyes took in everything gleefully, the car was so smooth she didn’t even feel that she was moving, and before she knew it the car stopped and the door was opened for her. She stepped out and was escorted to the most gorgeous place she had ever seen, or imagined. The restaurant was golden everywhere she looked with deep red velvet upholstery on the chairs. She turned to see Mr Xavier sitting on a table in the center, looking even more dapper than he usually did. She was escorted to the table and seated opposite him. Courses after courses of the most delicious meal followed and she was happy to note that Mr Xavier was talking too. As they sipped on the post dessert coffee, Mr Xavier slid an envelope across the table towards Molly.

Her eyes mirrored her puzzlement as she looked from the envelope towards Mr Xavier. He asked her to open in. As she did, a slim strip of paper fell out, with some numbers and alphabets on it.

‘What is this Mr Xavier?’
‘It’s a code’ he answered
‘A code? For what?’
‘For a small package which is coming for us. Through your airport. And you will see to it that it reaches us.’
Molly took in a sharp breath, ‘Why should I do that? I don’t work for you!’
‘Now you do.’

                        Writing as part of Team Purple Rain for the prompt, ‘Wishful Thinking’

Day 5 – Tiny Shoes



My dear child how much joy to us you brought
When we welcomed you into this world
All our pain and worries were nought
My dear child how you made us smile
At your innocent antics watching which
We thanked God twice
My dear child how proud you made us feel
When you excelled in school and sports
The right style of parenting we felt we had achieved

My dear child how happy and proud we were
When you made big strides in the corporate world
And spread your business wide and far
My dear child our hearts burst with pride
When you introduced us to your soulmate
And you both walked down the aisle
My dear child how happily we smiled down at you
When you gave us the opportunity to play with our grandchildren
Not just one, but cherubs two
My dear child we still wonder what wrong did we do
As we stay abandoned in this old age home
Clutching to our hearts your tiny shoes.



Writing as part of Team Purple Rain for the prompt, ‘Tiny Shoes’

Day 4 – Caught red-handed

Bibiji was fond of telling everyone that Bansi came as part of her trousseau and had lasted the longest while everything else from her trousseau had perished. She proudly pointed out to a framed photo, sitting among the many on the mantelpiece, taken on their Golden Jubilee celebrations 4 years ago, with she and her husband sitting on a sofa and Bansi, in all his finery, standing awkwardly behind them. 
Bansi never failed to remark that she and Babuji had looked so fine on their 50th Wedding Anniversary that the guests had cast an evil eye on them, because of which Babuji slipped and fell in the bathroom and his broken hip never fully recovered from the fall even after 4 years of the best treatment. The doctors said porous bones were the cause but Bansi believed otherwise. Bibiji laughed off Bansi’s assumptions and reminded him that as long as he was in charge of taking care of her husband she had no worries.
And this trust is what pricked at Bansi’s conscience whenever he flicked a note here and there from Babuji’s ever present bundle of currency tucked away beneath his pillow. Babuji didn’t believe in banks, he thought they were bloody thieves who wanted his money, and the only person he trusted after his wife was his daughter-in-law Renu.
Renu was married to Babuji’s elder son Arun and their match was that of a hippo and butterfly, notwithstanding which Renu had managed to make her relationship a good one and she and Arun were often touted as examples for a successful marriage. Arun’s younger brother, Bittu, was a good looking Casanova and all mothers of young and single daughters had their eye on him.
Everybody loved Renu Bhabhi. Renu had changed everything in the house after she became part of it post marriage. Uniforms and health insurances for the staff, a lick of paint, repairs and new furniture for the house and a healthy and delicious menu for all. Renu also readmitted Bansi’s daughter to school and insisted she complete her education.
This memory too pinched Bansi as his hand reached out for yet another note as Babuji snored. But he had picked up a habit of gambling, and a steadily increasing debt along with it, and had no idea how to repay it. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but the temptation and his helplessness was too much. He dreaded the day he would be caught. But right now his only concern was that something would have to change soon, as he needed to repay a big chunk of the amount  he owed if he needed to avoid seeing his debtors at Babuji’s door, which they had threatened him with.
Bansi pocketed yet another note and walked out, shutting the door of Babuji’s room softly behind him. Walking along the passage towards the kitchen he heard a rustle coming from the direction of the store room. He shrugged and continued walking, when he heard it again, louder this time. The sound made him stop, turn and softly pad towards the store room. The door was shut, but the sounds from within continued. 

Bansi circled the room, and walked towards the storeroom’s only window facing the backyard. The window was shut but as he turned to leave, Bansi realised it was open a tiny crack. He pried it open a little more and peeped in. His eyes took a moment or two to adjust to the feeble light before they widened in shock to see a disrobed and debauched Renu Bhabhi and her brother-in-law Bittu Bhaiyya wrapped up around each other in the theores of passion. Everybody loved Renu Bhabhi, but Bittu Bhaiyya seemed to love her the most it seemed, chuckled Bansi as he whipped out his mobile phone and began filming.
Writing as part of Team Purple Rain for the prompt, ‘Caught red-handed’


Day 3 – Fragile Lives



What fragile lives they were born with, they bemoaned their fate yet again.
People looked through them, and didn’t even realise how much that hurt. 
Their souls scratched by every assault, and no one cared. 
Cringing even if they heard a slightly raised sound, and sometimes shattering at it too. 
They were rubbed up the wrong way more than once and couldn’t do a thing about it, except bear it with stoic silence. 
They were used according to convenience and shut out when they were not required. Didn’t anyone realise how unfair it was. 
What fragile lives they led, bemoaned the window panes of the house, yet again.


Writing as part of Team Purple Rain for the prompt, ‘Fragile Lives’

Day 2 – What you don’t know

Mr Verma loved Mrs Verma and Mrs Verma loved Mr Verma. 
Mr Verma surprised Mrs Verma with flowers.
Mrs Verma surprised Mr Verma with his favorite perfume.
Mr Verma planned his official trips so Mrs Verma could accompany him.
Mrs Verma planned romantic, candle light dinners whenever she could.
Mr Verma thought this was true love.
Mrs Verma swore they were soulmates.

What you don’t know, and nor do Mrs and Mr Verma either, is that Mr Sushant Verma loved Mrs Niti Nikhil Verma and Mrs Rakhee Sushant Verma swore that Mr Nikhil Verma was her soulmate.



Writing as part of Team Purple Rain for the prompt, ‘What you don’t know’

Day 1 – Stranger than fiction




The Superstar is adored by women, despite beating up and disrespecting the ones in his life. 
The Superstar’s career keeps rising, even as he quashes the careers of others on a whim, and vengeance. 
The Superstars misdemeanors are laughed at indulgently and dismissed as ‘growing up rebellion’ even as attention is diverted to his ‘big heart’ generous nature’ ‘his love for his family’ and his latest altruistic avatar, in the form of a clothing line the name of which completely belies what he hasn’t ever been. 
The Superstar is the ambassador for the country while truly deserving icons look on helplessly. 
The Superstar walks out scot free, after mowing down human beings with his car and shooting down endangered species of deer with his gun. 
The Superstar is now the blue-eyed boy of the classes too and he is celebrated and applauded.
 The Superstar is all that and more, because life is one fascinating story where the truth is stranger than fiction.


Writing as part of Team Purple Rain for the prompt, ‘Stranger than fiction’

10 to 1 of Me!

You know what I’ve just realised? I’ve turned into a chor narcissist!
Chor (thief) because I am busy chorofying blog topics from every blog I visit and narcissist because I’ve been choosing topics that require me to write about my favourite topic, ME!:)))

As long as I am blogging everyday, as all is fair in love, war and blogging!

Here goes my post for today, this tag is now doing the rounds of multiple blogs.



TEN HOW’S!

How did you get one of your scars? 
I have a scar on the left side of my lower lip, which I am told was courtesy a 2 and half year old me (sometime in the 13th BC) insisting on carrying a glass of water on a tray, tripping on a slipper while doing so and cutting her lip open on a piece of the the broken glass.
The lip needed stitches but no one in my family allowed it and the doctor left it to heal naturally. So it is now a scar. Which still throbs and hurts when I am somewhere extremely cold. Sacchi.

How did you celebrate your last birthday?
You know, I hate birthdays, they get me very self conscious and all. Just throw cake and pressies at me from a distance and leave me alone, now that would be my ideal birthday celebration!
Last one (June 6, every year) was spent answering wishes that came through phone calls and all forms of social media after which we braved pouring rain, and a horrendous traffic jam because of it, to reach a surprise location chosen for dinner by The Husband. 

How are you feeling at this moment?
Nice-ish, after cleaning the house to within an inch of it’s life and a long, hot shower later.

How did your night go last? 
I slept like the dead.

How did you do in high school? 
Average. I hated studying.

How did you get the shirt you are wearing?
Not wearing a shirt.

How often do you see your best friends?  
I last saw one my best friends 18 years ago. Met another one a year ago. Met Mom and Dad, who are my bestest friends, 4 months ago.

How much money did you spend last month? 
Not much. I’m learning to be careful with money.

How old do you want to be when you get married? 
I wanted to be 26 when I got married, but wasn’t.

How old will you be at your next birthday?
A lovely set of even numbers.

9 WHAT’S!
Your mother’s name? 
Shakti. Yes I tease her by addressing her as, ‘Shakti Kapoor’.

What did you do last weekend? 
Read, watched TV, lazed. 

What is the most important part of your life? 
I’m not sure how to answer this really, but I really enjoy my space, writing and Tarot Reading.

What would you rather be doing? 
I’d rather be writing a book, but the muse isn’t being kind.

What did you last cry over? 
I saw this Google advert recently, about a father-son and Sholay. That teared me up a bit.

What always makes you feel better when you’re upset? 
Chocolate. Venting. Killing the person, who got me upset, in my imagination. Brutually.

What’s the most important thing you look for in a significant other? 
Post marriage I just try to live down the shocks and surprises, both pleasant and not so pleasant!

What did you have for breakfast? 
I have Oats at least 6 days a week. Surprise, today was Oats day!:)

8 YOU’S!
Have you ever liked someone who had a girlfriend/boyfriend? 
Yes, many. Salman Khan. Benicio Del Torro. Ben Affleck. Vin Diesel. 

Have you ever had your heart broken? 
Yes. Romantically and otherwise (friends, family, bloody relatives etc)

Have you ever been out of the country?
Yes.

Have you ever done something outrageously dumb? 
Last week I was busy whatsapping and lifted a plate covering water that was boiling on the gas. Really hot plate=burnt finger and thumb=too much pain=lecture from Husband and Mom about how i am ‘always on the phone’

Have you ever been back-stabbed by a friend? 
My stab wounds have hardened to form an armour that now protects me * that was good, wasn’t it? smug look on face* 

Have you ever had sex on the beach? 
Yes. Now let your imagination run wild! Lol!

Have you ever read an entire book in a day? 
I usually do.

7 WHO’S!
Who was the last person you saw? 
The garbage collector.

Who was the last person you texted? 
My Sister

Who was the last person you hung out with? 
The Husband

Who was the last person to call you? 
The Husband

Who did you last hug? 
The Husband

Who is the last person who texted you? 
An  offer that said I have won a few hundred million dollars and asking for my bank account details so those caring souls could deposit it in my account.

Who is the last person you said, “I Love You” to? 
I say it to myself, everyday.

6 WHERE’S!
Where do your best friends live? 
London, Pune, Bombay.

Where did you last go? 
Ranthambore and Jaipur.

Where did you last hang out?
MTR, Lalbagh. Good coffee and Dosas were had.
Where did you go to school? 
St Teresas Convent High School, Bombay.

Where is your favorite place to be?  
Anywhere with a book.

Where did you sleep last night? 
On the left side of the bed, on MY left side too. Just being specific:)

5 DO’S!
Do you think anyone likes you? 
People either love me or fear me. There is no in-between ;-D 

Do you ever wish you were someone else?
Never. Ever.

Do you know the muffin man? 
No. I only know ‘Muffin Top’. Mine.

Does the future scare you? 
No.

Do your parents know about your blog?
My parents are tech-challenged 🙂

4 WHY’S!
Why are you best friends with your best friend? 
We compliment each others craziness

Why did you get into blogging? 
Way back in 2004, when I first started blogging, I thought it was ‘just cool’ to do so.

Why did your parents give you the name you have? 
According to my horoscope. The other choices were Meenakshi and Minal. 

Why are you doing this survey? 
I need to blog everyday. And I love talking about myself.

3 IFS!
If you could have one super power what could it be? 
I would choose to remain healthy and mobile all my life.

If you could go back in one time and change one thing, would you? 
Not at all. All that I am today is a sum total of what has happened to me so far.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could bring one thing, what would you bring? 
Hopefully patience and common sense. So I could make a raft or something and get the hell outta there!


2 WOULD YOU EVER?
Would you ever get back together if one of your ex’s ever asked you? 
No ex or ex’s to ask me.

Would you ever shave your head to save someone you love? 
In a heartbeat!

1 LAST QUESTION!
Are you happy with your life right now? 
I am grateful for it, and all that it brings, and takes away.

This post is part of the Half Marathon Blogging Challenge with BlogChatter

Day 8