Jun 8, 2014


Maybe this is what I needed to come back.

No! I am not talking about the prompt. I needed this push too, but what I needed more was something that could make me think.

In last month my thoughts have escaped me. The log and the leaves remind me that this is what I need. A peaceful and serene place to sit and let my thoughts come back to me.

I look at this picture and think I would just sit here…hearing the rustle of dry leaves and feel the wind and slowly the words will come back to me.


Credits of this image and the prompt goes to Vidya Sury and Write Tribe.

Apr 24, 2014

Review A to Z – Revisiting Uttar Pradesh

It is Thursday. It is the day for Travel tales on Thursday and it is 21st day of A to Z and the letter today is U.
I sat with an Atlas thinking of a place to review, but in the end could think of nothing better than reviewing my own birth place.
If Madhya Pradesh is “Hindustan ka dil” Uttar Pradesh is the eyesight of the country. They say eyes are mirror to your soul. So is Uttar Pradesh.
Although I have often wondered why, but the two great Indian epics are set in UP. Krishna and Rama were born here; Budha chose to breathe his last. The divine ghats of Varanasi are here, the three holy rivers meet here. The legendary beauty of Taj Mahal is also here.
Fourth largest state in India, it is the biggest constituency in Lok Sabha. It is a highly populated state with quite a diverse culture. A mix of two most dominant religions in India, it also has the highest number of immigrants because of the borders with Nepal.
Having travelled across the state, I believe that the power of tourism in this state is really understated. People seeking love (Taj), salvation and meaning of Hinduism (Varanasi and Allahabad) tracing Buddhism (Kushinagar) culture and heritage (Lucknow) mythological history (Mathura, Ayodhya) or expedition (en route to Nepal) travel to Uttar Pradesh every year.
It is fairly easy to travel across the state. The roads are not bad and there are several trains that connect the state with Delhi. Also, there are airports at all major cities. One can always find a decent hotel to stay at. However, the road transport services and government services aren’t great.
The best time to visit – Sep – Nov, Feb – Apr. It gets too hot or too cold in summer and winter seasons. Since the power cuts are huge, one might want to consider visiting in these times.
Some part of Uttar Pradesh is highly popular tourist destination, some aren’t. But all in all it is a good place for a trip that could leave you with a bag full of memories.

Apr 23, 2014

Review A to Z – TED – Ideas worth spreading

In order to introduce TED, I can only say that if you haven’t heard about it already please go check it as soon as you are done reading this post.

TED stands for Technology Entertainment Design. It is set of conferences on the three main areas around the globe.

The philosophy of TED is simple. If there is a good idea, it needs to be spread. Owned by a non-profit group, TED has had achievers from all over the world talk about their unique ideas.

Be it science or design, TED talks are designed to bring the best of the knowledge. There are several sub groups of TED – like TEDx or TED fellows.

Some of the popular TED talks are by Bill Clinton, Malcolm Gladwell, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc. My favorite talks from TED are by Elizabeth Gilbert, Amy Tan, Hillary Clinton and a few others.

The best part about TED talks are that they come in high quality and free. TED is available in form of an App therefore, it is available on phone. It is advertisements free and also available on Youtube.

Without talking a lot, I leave you with my favorite TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert on “Your elusive creative genius”

Apr 22, 2014

Review A to Z - Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

Here we are! With another guest post for my little blog. This time I have got a movie review from Kajal Kapur. 
I first got to know Kajal when she did a story for Ultimate Blog Challenge. While I was writing (read struggling and failing) a story too, she did a wonderful story with right surprises and perfect end. 
I have been a regular visitor to her blog Rainbow hues since then.
A few weeks ago I saw that her blog wasn't doing A to Z and requested her to be a guest blogger, and I got to know that she was doing the challenge through her other blog Movie Masala
Here is her review of Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama 

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey, Candice Bergen
Director: Andy Tennant
Music: George Fenton

There are romantic movies and there are comedies and then there are some movies that fall in both these categories and yet stand on their own. This one, for sure (for me) falls in that category.  I fell in love…and then I fell in love with this movie. And this stays as one of my all time favorite movies. In spite of how clichéd this movie seems, it is very close to my heart and shall stay for a very long time, I believe.

Melanie Smooter (Reese Witherspoon) and Jake Perry (Josh Lucas) are childhood sweethearts and are married but Melanie takes off to New York City to fulfill her dream of becoming a fashion designer. She changes her last name to Carmichael and also gets engaged to the mayor’s son Andrew (Patrick Dempsey) and does not tell him that she is still married to Jake back home. She takes off to meet her parents with the intention of finally getting a divorce from Jake back in Alabama, which he has been evading since the last seven years. Jake refuses to sign the papers and suggests her to spend some time with her parents.

Melanie spends some time with her family and friends and feels that she has only moved away from the place physically but her heart still connects with the local people and her old friends.  She begins to understand how well she is still rooted to her hometown. In the mean time, the mayor Kate Hennings (Candice Bergen) sends her assistant to check the family background of Melanie. While Melanie is at her friend Bobby Ray’s place, where she had gone to apologize for her misbehavior with him, the mayor’s assistant discovers her. She lies to him that the plantation belongs to her family.

Simultaneously Jake, upset with her behavior with their mutual friends, signs the divorce papers for her. Melanie learns from a friend that Jake had once gone to New York to meet her because he was still in love with her. She finds her heart melting and confesses this to her dead dog when she goes to the cemetery. Jake and Melanie chat for a while and Melanie on realizing that she still loves Jake and tries to kiss him. Andrew also follows Melanie to her town and discovers that she is already married to Jake. Melanie’s father explains the situation to Andrew and he agrees to get married to her in Alabama. On the day of her wedding, Melanie realizes that she cannot marry Andrew since she still loves Jake and follows her to the same beach where they used to play as kids and had promised to be married to each other. Jake and Melanie finally kiss and make up.

As I said before, the movie is highly clichéd and hence on the surface looks too easy. Indeed it is but it has moments that melt your heart and dialogues that live with me even today. Yes, like some of my favorite rom-coms, I have seen this one multiple times as well and remember the dialogues even now. Here I reprise some of the moments:

Melanie: The truth is I gave my heart away a long time ago, my whole heart, and I never really got it back.

Melanie: You're the first boy I ever kissed, Jake, and I want you to be the last.

Jake: Since when does it have to be one or the other? You can have roots and wings, Mel.

Jake: Nobody finds their soul mate when they're ten. I mean, where's the fun in that, right?

Young Melanie: What do you want to marry me for anyhow?
Young Jake: So I can kiss you anytime I want.

Melanie: And don't even pretend like you missed me.
Jake: Oh, I missed you all right, but at this range, my aim is bound to improve.

Stella: You know for someone whose been holding onto something for so long, you're pretty quick to let it go.
Jake: I can't control her, any more than I can control the weather.

Lurlynn: It's funny how things don't turn out...
Melanie: ...It's funny how they do.

Jake: C'mon, I wanna show you something.
Melanie: I can't.
Jake: Can't? Or won't?
Melanie: Both.
Jake: The girl I knew used to be fearless.
Melanie: The girl you knew didn't have a life.
Jake: Guess you better get on with it then.

Well, for someone who’s taken away to the big city chasing her dreams while her heart stays back, I made a connect with this one immediately. Also the tag line  “Sometimes What You're Looking For Is Right Where You Left It ” did it for me totally. You gotto check it out for sure. Here’s why: 

Apr 21, 2014

Reviews A to Z – R for Reviews

Hello Friends,

With this post we come to completion of two-third of A to Z challenge.

When I took up Reviews A to Z, I didn’t know what I will review. I had a title for Z and for couple of other letters.

In fact, on 31st of March, I sat clueless about the topic for A. My brother came to my rescue and did the first post. From that point on, I have only been discussing the A to Z challenge with friends, family and colleagues.

Therefore, today I decided to do a quick review of my performance in A to Z challenge.

¾     Well! It is not my first one month challenge. But it was toughest, since we were restricted by letters.
¾     However, this was one challenge where I well planned. I write every now and then and schedule.
¾     In terms of audience, I have received a versatile and highest number of audiences in this challenge.
¾     As a reader, I have begun to follow twelve new blogs and have read twenty posts a day on an average.
¾     I came across a few comments, which told me that my review helped them discover something great, which means my reviews weren’t a complete waste.
¾     And highlight of the month, I have had some wonderful bloggers doing a guest blog for my challenge this month.

With eight more posts remaining (some of them scheduled for this really busy week ahead) I think Reviews A to Z has been a thumbs up moment for me :)

Apr 19, 2014

Review A to Z - Quiz up

My first post for the challenge was done by my brother to Review Apps that he loves. However, there is one that he missed, and it is our new found addiction.

It was a few weeks ago that I downloaded one of the fastest growing games on my phone.

As name suggests, it is a quiz game. You can play against a random opponent or challenge a friend. I guess the best part of this quiz game is that there is a variety of topic. From Geography, to history, brand power, to music and movies… it offers something for all interests.

It is simple to handle and easy to load. Most importantly it is knowledge along with fun. My favorites are grammar and brand facts.

Have you tried Quiz up yet?

Linking it to UBC and A to Z challenge.

Have you found Shades of Life on Facebook yet? Please check it out here

Please take out time to read more about the featured blogger for the month of April here.

Guests are always welcomed at Shades of Life. Drop me a line at sugandha118@gmail.com and I would love to share your thoughts here.

Apr 18, 2014

Review A to Z – Paranthe Wali Gali

As I write today’s post, my mind tells me I am hungry (actually I have had food just about half an hour ago) and I think hard to think of something spicy, tangy, tasty to eat.

But in fact what I crave for is the paranthas from Paranthe wali Gali.
If you are in Delhi and you haven’t been to this lane in old Delhi which is famous for Paranthas, please make a resolution to go there this weekend.

Even I had not been to Paranthe wali gali for a long time during my stay in Delhi. Then while ticking my to-do list from LP (read my experience with Lonely Planet here) I realized I had HAD to go to this place.

A walking distance from Chandni Chowk metro station, Paranthe wali Gali is a crowded lane adjacent to the famous kinari bazaar.

The lane has several small restaurants selling deep fried paranthas. Yes you heard read my correct! The paranthas are deep fried. Take a deep breath my friends. It is not as bad as it sounds. Although, deep friend, these paranthas are not as oily as you imagine. There is another surprise waiting for you here. Forget about conventional potato and onion filling, this letting sets out to leave a memory with their unconventional fillings of jaggery, sugar or chili.

The whole experience of eating in this small lane could be overwhelming and the chaos in queues and heat around you could leave you in perspiration. But don’t worry, drown it with a glass of Lassi and enjoy the frenzied excitement of the lane.

Linking it to UBC and A to Z challenge.

Have you found Shades of Life on Facebook yet? Please check it out here

Please take out time to read more about the featured blogger for the month of April here.

Guests are always welcomed at Shades of Life. Drop me a line at sugandha118@gmail.com and I would love to share your thoughts here.

Photo credit: http://dillidaawat.files.wordpress.com