Saturday, March 28, 2015

Book Review: METRO DIARIES by Namrata


My Review

Metro Diaries is a collection of twenty tales written by Namrata aka Privy Trifles and they are all about love. I had to read this one as I just love the romance genre. 

I must say that Namrata has written a beautiful collection of love stories in all its forms and the many facets of relationships between couples. 

Some of the stories that I really liked are: 

Love Thy Dreams - It is the story of Abhi and Kavya; their love that holds steady over time and distance. Love blossoms in their pre-university days and holds good till the end. 

Then, Now and Forever - This one just got better. A short story of Ron and Anna; where he learns to live his life again through a letter written by his grandfather, his namesake. 

You & I - I simply loved the relationship between Zahir Khan and Radhika, their trust in each other. It’s the kind of love that’s ready to wait for a decade before tying the knot. Awesome! 

Once in a lifetime - The story is a poignant tale of love between Nitya and Ansh. The author touches the reader’s heart by the way she’s woven the words. Too good! 

While I have mentioned the above four, I must say that all of the tales are well-written and has something for the reader to take away. 

Some quotes from the book that I really enjoyed reading: 

"Love thy dreams, always, for they are the fuel that will drive you to your goal. I just helped you, but with your passion no dream of yours can remain incomplete.”

"Silent breeze, rustling leaves, and a faint music in the heart, Reminiscence of the beautiful time spent together, Wish I could hold you back today, tonight, and forever; Or maybe just pause the time and let you go away never!"

“I don’t know how, why, what, where and when. All I know is you have changed my world completely. You made me smile, which I had forgotten how to; you made me live when I had left it long back; most importantly, you made me love when I thought I would never be able to love, ever again. Today all that I want is to grow old with you and wake up in your arms every day, staring into your beautiful eyes, knowing that you are mine. Marry me, please!”

While the book has been very well written, I think that it needs a better editor and a tighter proofing. Except for that, it makes for a breezy and enjoyable read.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in PDF format from the author in return for my honest review. 



Blurb 

Love is one of the most amazing feelings on this earth, one that makes you the most powerful person or the most helpless person in a split second. These stories capture those feelings of despair, longing, love, lust, desire, want, dejection and admiration to create deja vu. Hold onto your hearts as you flip through these pages and take a walk down the memory lane as "Metro Diaries" will revive your innermost feelings and imbibe in you the magic of love. Touching, amusing and deeply moving, Metro Diaries - Love Classics are tales that will hold you from start till end.


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About Namrata


Namrata is a prolific blogger known by the name Privy Trifles in the blogosphere who romances life through her writings and aspires to make love the universal language. She dons various hats between that of a contributing author to 6 anthologies a reviewer for leading publishing houses an editor to various books and a columnist. Apart from that she is also the editor for an online magazine called Writer's Ezine. Having mastered the nuances of finance till recently she also held the title of an investment banker closely to let it go to embrace her love for writing fully.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Film Review: CINDERELLA


I loved the film!

Cast: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Helena Bonham Carter
Director: Kenneth Branagh

As no one in my family was keen on watching fairy tale films, I decided to go to Cinderella (2015) all by myself at Cinemax Sion. 

THE STORY

Adapted from Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the film is the story of Ella (Lily James) who is the only child leading a peaceful and loved existence along with her parents (Hayley Atwell and Ben Chaplin). Sadly, her mother falls ill and on her deathbed, makes Ella promise to lead a courageous and kind life. Later, her father gets married to the recently widowed Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) and brings her home along with her two spoilt daughters Drisella (Sophie McShera) and Anastasia (Holliday Grainger). There is no peace in the household from this point.

Soon, Ella’s father goes on one of his trips, never to return. Insisting that she cannot afford the servants, Lady Tremaine sends them away and makes Ella do all the work. When her face gets dirty with the ash from the fireplace, the stepsisters begin to call her Cinderella. Cinderella has a miserable life until she happens to meets Kit (Richard Madden) in the forest. She believes that he works in the palace while he is actually the prince. The rest of the story follows the fairy tale and is about the grand ball given at the palace, the fairy godmother helping Cinderella attend the ball till the prince manages to trace her back with the one glass slipper that remains with him.

MY PERCEPTION

Though I have read so many versions of this tale and also have watched the animated version of Cinderella, I must say I was hooked from the first scene. The house Ella grows up in, in the middle of the meadow, is a treat to watch. Her friendship with all the farm animals is nothing short of beautiful.

Lily James has done a commendable job of acting as Cinderella – courageous and kind indeed. Cate Blanchett is just perfect as the wicked stepmother and so are Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger as the spoilt stepsisters (though the two were a mite too loud). Richard Madden plays Kit aka Prince Charming. He looks gorgeously handsome and fits the role of a prince in love. I was happy to see that there was more of him in the film than in the original fairy tale. 

The best scene is when the Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) converts the pumpkin into a gorgeous golden carriage, the mice friends of Ella into four white horses, two lizards into footmen and the goose into the coachman. I am sure children would love to watch this one for sure. 

The film runs for just 1 hour and 46 minutes making it a total joy packaged in less than two hours.

VERDICT: A must see if you are fond of romance; fairy tales and magic. I loved it. 




*Silly
**Shaky
***Smart
****Snazzy 
*****Super  


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Recipe: KADAI VEGETABLE

Kadai Vegetable
Kadai Vegetable is a favourite of mine when I order food at restaurants. They are made best at the many Shetty restaurants in town. This dish is basically a mix of vegetables in a thick gravy with a few pieces of paneer (cottage cheese) thrown in. I decided to make my own version at home and believe me, it turned out to be finger-licking delicious. It can be served with rotis, naans or pooris

INGREDIENTS

Cauliflower – 150-200 gm (cut into flowerets)
French Beans – 50 gm (cut into ½” pieces)
Carrot – 1 (cut into ½” pieces)
Peas – 1 handful
Capsicum – 1 large (cut into squares)
Haldi powder (Turmeric powder) – ¼ tsp
Mirchi powder (Red Chilly powder) – 1 pinch
Garam Masala Powder (Mixed spices powder) – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar – ½ tsp
Cream – 1 tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves – 1 tsp
Oil – 3 tbsp
Jeera – ½ tsp
Paneer – 100 gm (cut into small cubes or the way you like it)

For masala

Onion – 2 large (chopped)
Green chillies – 3 
Ginger – ½” piece
Garlic – 4-6 (peeled)
Tej Patta (Bay leaf) – 1
Kadi Patta (Curry leaves) – 5-6 leaves
Coriander seeds – ½ tsp
Jeera (Cumin seeds) – ½ tsp

For gravy

Tomato – 2 medium (chopped)
Cashew nuts – 4 (soaked in water for half an hour)

METHOD

1. Cook the cauliflower, beans, carrot and peas with half a glass of water, a pinch of salt and a pinch of haldi powder. 
2. Take a kadai (saucepan) and keep it on the gas on a low flame. Add the oil and once hot, shallow fry the chopped paneer and remove when golden brown. Keep it in a serving bowl. 
3. Now let the jeera crackle in the remaining oil. Then add the cut capsicum and shallow fry.
4. Add all masala ingredients in a mixer and grind to a smooth paste. Add a bit of water only if required as you grind the masala.
5. Once the capsicum is fried, add the masala to it and stir fry.
6. Add tomato and soaked cashew nuts to the mixer and grind into a smooth paste.
7. Add salt, sugar, haldi powder, mirchi powder and garam masala powder to the cooking mixture. Stir well and allow it to cook for a couple of more minutes.
8. Now add the tomato gravy to the kadai and mix thoroughly before adding salt and sugar.
9. When it begins to boil, add the rest of the boiled vegetables along with the water they were cooked in. (There shouldn’t be too much water. Only half a cup as mentioned above. If there is more, some of it needs to be drained away or the kadai vegetable will become too soggy).
10. Allow the mixture to cook for 2-3 minutes before adding beaten cream and chopped coriander leaves. Mix well and switch off the gas.
11. Pour the cooked vegetables in gravy into the serving bowl contained stir fried paneer cubes. Mix well before serving hot with rotis, pooris or naans as you choose.

I promise you that the Kadai Vegetable tastes as delicious as any hotel recipe that you have tasted. Apart from the cutting of veggies, the dish is quite simple to make. 

*The above quantity is enough to serve two large portions. 



Monday, March 23, 2015

A-Z April Challenge 2015: THEME REVEAL

Photoart: Fifi Ananda 
My THEME for A-Z April Challenge 2015 is Short Stories based on MYTHOLOGY.

It was last year that I discovered that there is something called A-Z April Challenge. I got pretty excited and began blogging alternate healing therapies from A-Z. Sadly, my mother fell ill and I took off to my hometown. Her passing away on April 14, 2014 brought my Blogging Challenge to a full stop.

This year, with my parents’ blessings (I know Amma-Appa that you are watching me from up there), I am planning to take up the A-Z April Challenge 2015. I am confident that I will complete it as I have already begun planning it a month ago.


A-Z April Challenge 2015

India is rich in culture, tradition and mythology. Folk lore prevails in abundance. I would say that India is the land of Vedas; Puranas; Itihasas; Gandharvas; Yakshas and no less than 33 crore Gods & Goddesses. I am hoping to tap all that rich heritage and come up with mythological short stories based on them. If I run short of characters from Indian mythology, I plan to borrow from other countries as well as from Grimm’s Fairy Tales. 

And I plan to visit a minimum of 10 blogs participating in the challenge this year. Hope to meet a lot of bloggers and make new friends around the globe! 



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Book Review: SAVED IN SRI LANKA by Devika Fernando




THE STORY

Sepalika is a Sri Lankan who works as a tour guide in her own country. She’s passionate about history and enjoys her job, even though she would have preferred to live in England. She had tried to escape the small island, but had been forced to return due to family circumstances. The same circumstances that had compelled her to get engaged to Mahesh, the son of a rich man. 

Into her life walks Daniel, a tourist from Ireland. Daniel is a history professor on his way to Australia to take up a position there. Soon, the two of them get attracted to one another, history being one of their common interests. But would it ever be possible for Sepalika to get together with Daniel? You will have to read the story to find out. Interestingly, the story has been woven along with a tour of the many places of interests in Sri Lanka as Sepalika plays guide to a batch of foreign tourists. 

MY PERCEPTION

There are two things I fell in love with in this latest book by Devika Fernando – and I am not still clear who takes first prize – the description of Sri Lanka and Daniel. 

Daniel is handsome, hot, intelligent, sensitive and chivalrous. Can there be a more deadly combination? No wonder Sepalika is unable to stop herself from falling for him, despite her engagement. I must congratulate Devika Fernando for creating such an awesome and believable character. Kudos!

Sri Lanka! I have always been interested in this neighbouring island as I have heard a lot about it from a friend who used to live there and my sister who has been there on a holiday. I have also seen a few travel documentaries about the place. What had always struck me was the greenery. Devika Fernando has brought many sections of the island alive to her readers. The descriptions of the many places of interest in Colombo; Pinnawala; Kandy; Sigiriya; Nuwara Eliya; Yala; Galle; Ambalangoda; Bentota and Anuradhapura; the museums; the gardens; the temples; the ruins; the Buddha viharas – I so loved going on the Sri Lankan tour the author took me on.  

I enjoyed reading about the way Sri Lankans treat their guests – very similar to us in India – and the kind of food they serve them. 

What was most delicious was the way the romance between the protagonists has been developed. Steamy hot! I have read Devika Fernando’s other books – Kaleidoscope of Hopes; Playing with Fire; and When I See Your Face. I must say that the author gets better and better with each book, Saved In Sri Lanka being the best so far. 

I wish that Mahesh’s character had been developed a bit more as he is always there like a shadow but never comes alive. But otherwise, this book is a must read. 

Quote from the book – a small section that I really enjoyed reading:

She saw his body tense, and his eyes changed color to a darker slate gray with hardly any blue in it. He laid his hand on the side of her neck where her pulse beat against it like frantically fluttering bird’s wings. When he leaned down, her eyes closed.

The next instant he kissed her. His lips, firm and cool, were barely touching hers. It was a kiss of tantalizing softness, tentative and tender.

When she didn’t scream or shove at him or run, he brushed his mouth against hers again, adding more pressure.

Sepalika wanted more, much more. So she kissed him back, throwing all caution to the wind. With a sigh, he deepened the kiss, angling his mouth, his thumb caressing the hollow at her throat. Her hands came up, searching for a hold, for any way to keep herself from melting under his now firmer but still heart-breakingly gentle kiss. She grabbed the lapels of his leather jacket, pulled herself up, and felt a thousand sensations flood her.

Never had a kiss felt this magical, never had it awakened her lust like this.

It was as if she had lived all life for this moment, as if her lips were connected to every single particle of her body, setting it on fire.

When the tip of his tongue brushed over her mouth, she couldn’t suppress a moan. The sound seemed to come from deep out of herself, and it barely registered because she was so lost in the magic of the moment.

Daniel drew back slightly and whispered her name in what was as much a question as it was a groan.

The sound of her name on his lips, spoken so full of feeling, burst the bubble. Sepalika realized with a start what they were doing, and panic surged through her, obliterating desire.

Letting go of his jacket as if she had touched a poisonous plant, she stumbled backwards until her back hit the doorframe. With a hand to her mouth on which she could still feel his kiss, she stared at him.

His breathing was ragged, and his eyes with the dilated pupils were wide open and wounded before she saw him close himself off.

“Goodnight then…sweet dreams,” he called softly, stepping back with obvious reluctance. When he mentioned the word “dreams”, it reminded her of his previous comment, and she bit her lip. Oh yes, she’d definitely dream of him tonight—if she ever fell asleep, that is.





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About 
Devika Fernando



Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark are sweet, yet deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a self-employed German web content writer, as a translator, and as a faithful servant to all the cats, dogs, fish and birds in her home. What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.



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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Blog Tour: LEMON GIRL by Jyoti Arora


Lemon Girl 
by 
Jyoti Arora





The Blurb


   'It's all your fault.'
   Mere words these are.
   "But words can possess a shadow invincible enough to rob even a soul of its eternity."

   n a society that finds it easier to mark sins of a victim than the culprit, Nirvi is a young girl punishing herself for the faults she did not do and avenging her hurts by defeating her own truth.
   She is scared of her future, and ashamed of her past. She is failing herself, and knows it. She has had a long line of boyfriends, and hated them all. She detests the guy she is living with, runs away from the one she loves , and seduces the one who can never love her.
When Arsh first sees Nirvi, she's a free and frank girl in whose eyes sparkle the lemony zest of life. The next time he sees her, she is a voiceless doll draped in clothes that cover her body less and shroud her soul more. And Arsh can't rest till he finds out what made Nirvi give up her own real self.
   Nirvi knows she is dragging herself on a path from which there can be no recovery. Can her spirit survive the treacherous downfall? Or is the pull of fear and push of desperation just too strong to withstand for a girl who believes she has "nowhere else to go" but down.

   "When it's time for you to fall in love, even a lemon can become the cause of it," says Arsh.
   But can love survive, when even the self love dies?
   Can love survive when respect is no more?
   Does true love have the power to revive a dying soul?
 Find out in the pages of this brilliantly woven, intense, heart-warming and thought-provoking saga of RISING IN LOVE


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Meet the Author







   Jyoti Arora lives in Ghaziabad, India. Jyoti Arora is a Post Graduate in English Literature and Applied Psychology. Her writing achievements include two novels, three blogs, several wins in national level blog competitions, over five years of freelance writing experience, developing books for kids and abridging 24 famous English novels like Jane Eyre, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn etc.
   Jyoti's first novel, Dream's Sake, was published in 2011 by V&S Publishers. It received great reviews and much appreciation from readers.
   Books have always been Jyoti’s best friends. In fact, books so fascinated her from early childhood that she learnt reading, by herself, even before she started going to school. And she considers herself most fortunate that she is able to pursue her dream of being a novelist and work at what she loves best.
   However, if books are Jyoti’s first love, and she’s still very devoted to them, the thrilling and steadily advancing world of technology also fascinates her. As a result, one of Jyoti’s blogs is a technological blog called TechnoTreats. In 2011, a post in this blog won her the title of Samsung Mobiler when Samsung made her a part of the team of twenty bloggers chosen from all over India through a blogging competition. In this team of twenty bloggers, she was the only woman and perhaps the only one who had studied literature instead of science. 
   Jyoti is a patient of Thalassemia Major which forced her to stop going to school after class seventh. After that, she continued her studies on her own through correspondence courses. Her zest to overcome her medical problems and zeal to achieve success keeps her striving on with her endeavors to make her dreams come true.


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Friday, March 13, 2015

Sharing: LIVE INTERVIEW ON THE BOOK CLUB (MEGHNA)

Bestseller MEGHNA
The Book Club conducted a LIVE INTERVIEW (August 17, 2014) on their Facebook page after the launch of my novel "Meghna". A number of readers/bloggers/authors came together on one platform to ask me questions. I must say I had a lovely time answering their questions. Thank you The Book club, Rubina Ramesh, Dola Basu Singh, Ahana Mukherjee, Devika Fernando, Adite Banerjie, Aparajita Dutta, Janaki Nagaraj, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal and Nilima Mohite. 

The Book Club: Dear Sundari Venkatraman. Congratulations on Meghna doing so well. We have been getting questions regarding on how you create the characters? Do you plan them out?

Sundari Venkatraman: Hmmm... Yeah, I plan my main characters to some extent. The hero and heroine, especially. But somehow, once I give them names and imagine their features, they begin to do a drama in my mind. It runs like a movie. I just watch it and write. The side characters pop up at every point. Like a parent, housekeeper, a hotel waiter, etc

The Book Club: So do movies influence you?

Sundari Venkatraman: Oh yes, to a very large extent - almost as much as books 

Dola Basu Singh: Sundari, you have published traditionally as well as gone indie. Which do you prefer? Why?

Sundari Venkatraman: That's right Dola Basu Singh. Thank you for the question. I prefer Indie of course. It's as independent as you can get. No strict Editorial Guidelines to follow. Creative work needs a free expression. Otherwise, what's the point? Yes, we need an editor to tell us what works and what doesn't. But not turn the story topsy turvy. Besides that, amazingly better returns and faster too.

Dola Basu Singh: Better returns sounds great! But do you think that when we self-publish we have to put in more efforts in marketing, editing etc in comparison to trad-publishing? Also, do you think the quality of the work may suffer?

Sundari Venkatraman: Better returns happen only with sincere work. I was always putting in a lot of effort with marketing even for traditional publishing. The publisher can help only up to a point. The crowd wants the author there - approachable, reachable. Editing is a must if one doesn't plan to be a one-book wonder. Those for the long haul will realise that if the first book is trashy, the reader will not touch the author. I wouldn't as a reader, so why would I expect others to do it? The quality of work need not suffer. That much self-respect is required. Yes, one needs to be determined and disciplined to achieve all this of course. I think I am.

Dola Basu Singh: Definitely. We've seen you churn out 2 bestselling books within a year. Meghna is also doing well. Good luck for success of Meghna.

Sundari Venkatraman: Thank you so much Dola Basu Singh

Ahana Mukherjee: Meghna seems to have struck a chord amongst your readers. Were you targeting a particular section of the audience when writing? Do you bear in mind who your readers might be and write for them?

Sundari Venkatraman: Thank you Ahana Mukherjee. I am glad to see that it has. I think part of the credit will go to that friendly warning that I posted. I enjoy reading fun romances and thought there must be people out there who are like me. There used to be a different type of M&B a few decades ago. I used to love reading them. They basically spoke about places, people, culture, relationships. They influenced me a lot. I always wanted to write those kind of romances set in India. So, basically, I write my books for those readers who are like me, I suppose. Does that answer your question?

Ahana Mukherjee: It was good to read a through and through rom com for a change... :)

Devika Fernando Author: Sundari Venkatraman what would you say are your favourite parts of a book to write? and what do you consider your writing strengths?

Sundari Venkatraman: Thank you Devika Fernando Author. I would say that all parts of my book are favourites, actually. But specifically, I love writing dialogue and descriptions - of nature as well as homes. Regarding writing strengths... hmmm... that really set me thinking. Building human relationships, I think that's what I like best in my writing and so would call that my writing strength.

Devika Fernando Author: having read "meghna", I agree that this is one of your strengths. 

Sundari Venkatraman: :D 

Adite Banerjie: Hi Sundari. Just saw on Amazon.in today Meghna is among the top 50 romance bestsellers. Congrats! As an indie-published author, do you rely on someone to critique your story or tell you what's working or what's not? Or do you just go by your own gut feel?

Sundari Venkatraman: Hi Adite Banerjie! Wow! Thank you for the info and best wishes. Yeah, both The Malhotra Bride and Meghna have been in the Amazon Bestsellers contemporary romances lists over the past few days. To answer your question, I definitely call in for critical appreciation. I rely on at least 2-3 critiques / Beta readings before going public with a novel. My viewpoint alone will never do. The project is my own creation and too close to my heart for me to understand if it works. In the meanwhile, gut feel helps too. I write from the heart and I hope that it will resonate with a lot of people around the globe.

Adite Banerjie: You're so right....if a story doesn't have heart it won't resonate with readers. Best wishes to you and hope you write many many heartwarming tales! 

Sundari Venkatraman: Thank you so much Adite Banerjie :D

Devika Fernando Author: congratulations! and I agree, beta readers are important.

Aparajita Dutta: Hi Sundari Venkatraman ..Why did you choose to write on this particular genre? Are you planning to stick to this particular genre in future?

Sundari Venkatraman: Thank you Aparajita Dutta. I am not sure that I chose this genre. I think it chose me. I loved fairy tales as a kid and grew up to like mushy romances with 'lived happily ever after' endings (read M&B and Georgette Heyer). I still like them. I think I would prefer to stick to this genre with a bit of thriller, historical and paranormal thrown in - separately, of course.

Aparajita Dutta: thank you so much :)

Janaki Nagaraj: Hi Sundari. I have not read Meghna. This is a general question. Most of the romance novels revolve around rich couple; the boy is rich, well educated, either a businessman or earning very well, classy and Mr. Perfect. The girl too is beautiful, sexy with perfect figure and the works. Have you ever thought of breaking this barrier of stereotyping the characters? Will you be able to write a romantic story revolving around very ordinary, middle or lower class people who have lots of odds placed against them?

Sundari Venkatraman: Thank you Janaki Nagaraj for asking me this question. The world has both the positive and the negative. That is how the third dimensional world has been created. Obviously, it is populated by both the rich and the poor. I prefer to focus on the rich. There is a misapprehension in parts of our society that thinking ‘Money’ is wrong. Well, I don’t belong to that strata of people. 

1. My typical hero is 30 years old. If he is not a success by then, I don’t want to write about him. Even people from the slums break out of poverty to make something of themselves. Financial success is very important to be my hero – as important as being honest. 

2. ‘Beauty,’ as they say, ‘is in the eye of the beholder’. My heroine appears beautiful to my hero; and sexy too. She may not necessarily appear beautiful to everyone. She has a perfect figure – in Meghna’s case – because she dances 7 days a week.  

I hope I have answered your question :)

Janaki Nagaraj: You have, thanks :)

Inderpreet Kaur Uppal: Hi Sundari, you have 3 very successful romance books under your name, did you always have this feeling of love in your writing? Do you think anyone can be a romance writer or do they have a special something that helps them express the power of love?

Sundari Venkatraman: Thank you Inderpreet! Sorry that I took so long to reply to your question. I am also a dedicated homemaker besides being a writer. :D To answer your question, I always have this feeling of love even while reading. I read more romances than any other books. Even the other books I read need to have a happy ending. I don’t much care for tragedies. Anyone who is passionate about love and romances and has a flair for writing can definitely become a romance writer is what I think. 

Inderpreet Kaur Uppal: Thanks for answering my question :D

Nilima Mohite: Sundari Venkatraman you always give details about traditions, locations, events, .... How do you research for them?

Sundari Venkatraman: I love your question Nilima Mohite! Most of it is from personal experience. The rest from google search. Like I have written about Mumbai; ISKCON Temple @ Juhu; Arya Samaj Wedding; Dandiya Raas; Fort Hill Garden and JW Marriott - all these I have personally visited. I love soaking into different atmospheres. So I instinctively absorb them and they automatically flow into the scenes in my novels.

Nilima Mohite: Gr8. I too absorb details & pour them into blog posts ;)

The Book Club: Thank you Ladies and err... ladies... for taking the time to drop in. Thanks Sundari. It must have been tiring for you answering all the questions. But you did a brilliant job 

Sundari Venkatraman: Thank you The Book Club for this wonderful opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed the Q&A :D







Blog Tour: AND WE REMAINED by Asad Ali Junaid


And We Remained 
by 
Asad Ali Junaid




The Blurb


It is Bangalore in the late 1990’s. There are tremendous socio-economic and cultural transformations taking place as a result of liberalization. How would these changes impact a group of friends in their late teens? How would they cope, find opportunities and what of their original identities would they be left with, after western ideologies are brought in and bombarded into their awareness by cable TV and new media? 

Told through emails and first person account of events, And We Remained is a light and entertaining read of these friends as they experience love, heartbreak, prison, politics, drunken binges, strip clubs, sexcapades, US and Europe during their journey into adulthood


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Meet the Author







Asad Ali Junaid is a design professional in Bangalore working in the area of Human-Machine Interaction. He aims to resolve problems to enable humans interact and use technology efficiently.
Junaid writes whenever there is a compelling story inside him bursting to get out.  Junaid’s first fiction novel –And We Remained – started as a story which needed to be told… and one which needed to be told differently. He joined a three week in residence ‘Just Write’ fiction writing workshop where he got a chance to learn the nuances of and hone his story telling skills from authors Anil Menon, Anjum Hasan and Rimi Chatterjee. And We Remained then turned into a 52,000 word novel with an absorbing storyline and a unique narration style – the story is set in the 1990’s India and is told through emails and first person accounts of events.  Junaid is getting great feedback for the story depicting the mindset of engineering students in that era and the unique narration style it follows.
Junaid is married and his wife is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore working in the area of Molecular Biophysics. Their toddler completes their home while keeping them on their toes.


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