AGNIPUTR (When Agni First spoke) by Vadhan - A Book Review

        In the 1940's, close to Eluru which is the headquarters of West Godavari in Andhra Pradesh, in Gudem village an almost irrevocable energy is created by a maleficent Aghora tantrik. He achieves this by invoking an uprising at the Samadhi of Rajah Raghuram Surya, who was murdered by his brother with the help of the treacherous tantrik. Rajah Raghuram Surya  belonged to the royal zamindar family and was the eldest son. Royal blood mixed with gore and the story stirs up vile details to be regarded in the initial setting admixed with the dark art that leads to something of an apocalypse. The tantrik does not know of his fate but as ill fated as his experiment was, he too, gets gobbled up by the invoked powerhouse known in present day events as the Sutram. It looms privately below the memorial hall where the main events of the story are to take place, growing quietly but viciously turning the memorial hall into it's own hunting ground.
AGNIPUTR by Vadhan Book Review

   Rajah Raghuram's son, Surya, was only 7 years of age when his father passed away. Surya was afflicted by muscular dystrophy since birth. He, too, disappears mysteriously in the 1970's. Right after his disappearance, all the evil in the village of Gudem ceased, for the time being till present day when it starts again.The day he disappeared he was accompanied by two other people, of which only Rathaya came out alive, burnt to a grill.

  Satyanarayana Raghava Kasavari aka SRK, a young scientist, commissioned by the CSIR and working for the paranormal activity division finds himself not too far from the village of Gudem for his betrothal to the love of his life. Hearing the story of Sutram from friends at the bar, he could not contain his excitement to discover what he might unearth if he happened to visit the forsaken place. Despite warnings from his father and village elders, he decides to visit once. He informs his boss- Sheila Pitambar- and sets off. Here the plot starts to thicken and the book takes on a vibe of it's own.

  Sheila sets out to Gudem after getting the backing of the Home minister to find out how to contain and what is generating thousands of tetra bytes of electrical power out of nowhere. Babu Garu is summoned to his village and the 100 year old haveli, after several years, by a government notice. Walking through the rooms of the castle brings back memories as he explores the places and things left behind by his ancestors. It also brings back what he was running away from all these years. He refused to meet Rathaya who had something only for Babu Garu's ears and has been waiting for him for a very long time. What is it?

    With a tightly knit plot, the author weaves very well a science fiction and fantasy thriller dexterously before the reader's eyes. His words weave a very picturesque plot which is fast paced and racy. One can feel their pulse racing at certain times throughout the story. It's hard to put down this book once you get reading and you just want to know how Agniputr is wielded and if the Sutram can really be contained by a mere man who does not have an inkling of quantum physics. He has to travel the breadth of the country and try to unravel what his father was trying to tell him from beyond the grave. Does he make it in time or does the Sutram begin to release itself from it's containment after 60 years of entrapment?

I enjoyed reading this fast-paced thriller and it did spook me at certain times well into the night. Author Vadhan has churned out a magnificent thriller in his second book. He writes vividly and he is a master in his craft. His pen will hold you in a vice-like grip till the end grappling for more. Read more about him here

ps- I did find a very small mistake in one of the pages but that can be easily overlooked. 

Ramayana: The Game of Life Book 3 : Stolen Hope – Book Review

Shubha Vilas is a noted author and spiritual seeker who brings us the teachings from the Ramayana in the form of Stolen Hope, where he explores the dynamics of human relations.

Book review Stolen Hope

Stolen Hope is the third venture in the series of writing on the Ramayana.

Have you ever had to make a life decision - one that would alter the course of your existence forever?

Stolen Hope Book Review

This precious collection has given me time and footnotes to retrospect, pause and change perspective at a crucial juncture in my life. The book has been sitting with me since the beginning of this year.Time and travel took me to places where I thought I'd never be this year. I came back and found myself lost after the journey. The book naturally fell in to my lap and I have been sitting with it, thinking and reading while it's been pouring outside.

Nine chapters beautifully elucidate the journey of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita leaving Chitrakuta on exile to traverse through the mighty forest, Dandakarnya. Starting with the story of Danda and his lust, the author depicts how power when embezzled to harm a weaker person can destroy everything that leads up to itself. Amidst the aura of austerity, the trio pace their journey to their newly allocated humble abode where destiny starts to unravel the expectation of Rama's arrival. An aura of purity and austerity welcomed the trio. The practices performed by the sages have been described in detail along with the spotlessly maintained exteriors that helped them develop a sparkling and uncluttered atmosphere. One is led to understand how maintaining these practices help in perfecting one's life. Meditation helps enhancing inner vision, thereby removing one's dependence on external vision which can be deceptive at times resulting in endless complications.

The stories of several sages are retold- one which struck me is an example  of Sage Mandarkini whose years of focused attention when comes in contact with a few moments of inattention, led to years of distraction, which inadvertently happens to the best of us.

While Rama and Sita adapt to the ways of the forest, Lakshmana's devotion is exemplary, encompassing the three qualities possessed towards a divine master - bhavajna, kritajna and dharmajna. It is pivotal to note the brothers' have been portrayed as sensitive and emotional beings who are very receptive to the plight and pain of others, hence undertaking dangerous ventures in superseding the attempts of many demons who disturbed the peace of Panchavati; which invariably leads us to the account of Surpanakha. She is highlighted bringing to light the behaviour of those who are insensitive and selfish, an embodiment of most of what is happening in present day society; that is treading over innocent and docile people to achieve all their selfish wants. Surpanakha, basically catalyzes a blood-filled massacre which is accounted in great detail. Rama demolishes the demon outpost in Janasthana single-handedly, leaving Akampana to escape to recount the tale whimpering to Ravana. Surpanakha, again, is responsible for the events that lead to Sita's abduction.

The separate entry on Sita had my undivided attention . There is a detailed description of the significance of the blade of grass.

On further reading, there are also notes on dealing with hurt in relationships. Lakshmana's tale is such, how he wisely teaches to deal with such conflicts in a relationship.

All the footnotes made me think and imbibe structured learning but I am still going to list a few here :

A deer pursued by a tiger cannot be in a state of mind to think about grazing peacefully. Peace is a priority when the mind is stable; amidst turbulence, however, the priority is to seek mental stability.

Extermination of other's opinions is demoniac life. Coexistence of opinions is saintly life.
Virtues and vices coexist in each individual. When vices try to exterminate virtues, then Rama needs to come in.

When negative forces drive fear in us, instead of focusing on spiritual upliftment, we shift focus from inward evolution to outward resistance/aversion.

When hope is a launch pad, even a blind man can soar to the moon.

I will conclude this review on a slightly funny note, my own comedy of sorts. I've been concerned with the development of a third eyelid of sorts, call me a hypochondriac if you will. On reaching page 289 of the book, there was this footnote :
To handle a dust storm a camel has three eyelids. Similarly to protects one vision from the storms of confusion, one needs vision to see beyond the layers of ignorance.

So, I'm all camel-eyed now :)
And blessed to be able to talk about this beautiful book. I am a little partial to my reading of The Game of Life , nevertheless Shubha Vilas took me on a magical journey and I am elated to have completed Stolen Hope which I am sure will be a great read for all the knowledge seekers out there.


Being a regular online shopper, I find the price and convenience of shopping at Limeroad too tempting. Portals like LimeRoad gives one the benefit of finding beautifully crafted ethnic and western goods which you can't possibility find in your own vicinity, delivered to your doorstep.

I have been eyeing and purchasing a few things on and off from this wonderful website and after my third experience with them, I felt the time was right to review.
What sets this site apart and this is the really exciting bit- If you have an account with them, you also get to play stylist. You get to create particular styles and show them off in your scrapbook. This is by far the reason, I keep going back and looking at the site. There's always something very dynamic to create and shop for. The bonus is that for the looks you create, you get limeroad credits which can be used to shop with.
Unlike, the regular e-commerce portals - Limeroad is set apart by it's feature rich website. 
Products are not just confined to garments, they have a huge selection of furnishings, decor, accessories, bags, kitchenware, you name it....they have it. Almost!

I usually end up going very crazy over their Indian wear, the ethnic stuff is just brilliant with a variety of material to chose from. I have gone ga ga over their dupattas, stoles, bags, shoes and furnishing.

  • I also really love some of their brands like Zero Kataa for jewellery. I keep getting asked where I get some of my beautiful silver pieces from and, well, I'm letting the cat out of it's bag. hehe!!!

    Let's take a look at what I ordered from them this time, shall we?
    Four days after ordering, I received this package. I love the summery green packaging.
    I resist ripping it open like a crazy person and resort to elegantly slitting the sealed portion.

    The product is bubble wrapped well within the confines of the parcel. A sturdy cardboard box holds my esteemed piece of finery.
     I am actually really pleased with the sophisticated black cardboard box packaging by this brand.
    It makes it look like a really expensive gift housing some hidden treasure. And the piece is hidden treasure indeed, wait till you see it.

  • It's a beautifully crafted German Silver Necklace .I was looking for a short necklace and this was just love at first sight. I love how there is an eclectic mix of traditional versus modern all combined together into this piece.

    Isn't this exquisite!!
    The necklace is sturdy but not too heavy. It's really made well.
    I like the small silver beads that lace the edges at the top, the centre holds a pattern of repetitive hearts which have silver coins laced at the ends.

    German Silver Short Necklace
     I bet you want me to share the link for this product so that you could immediately place an order, don't you?

    short necklace design
    To sum it up, I really enjoyed receiving this product.
    The service was really fast, I had a couple of doubts to be addressed by the customer service people who were really very prompt, they answer questions quickly and get to the bottom of any issues adeptly. 
    Their return policy is very good. I have had the best experience with customer service on this particular online portal.
    The prices are great, they hold sales frequently and also if you are a regular shopper, they add LimeRoad (LR credits) to your account, so you can get massive deals on your favorites. 
    They hold these awesome social media contests, I haven't won any so far but I still love to participate and create looks/styles. There is a huge group of budding fashionistas and stylists on their team, competing with their looks is not so easy because some of them are celeb stylists too and the looks they create are out of this world!
    This particular product was for Rs.848, it is currently on a massive discount and costs Rs.499 with an additional shipping fee. Isn't a steal? You can check it out here 

    I have some more things to show you from my Limeroad hauls but I will save that for another post. You should really check out their jewellery and sometimes they go out of stock really soon. I had been eyeing a piece of earrings from the same brand for an entire year, it kept going out of stock. No prizes for guessing why, as you can see how lovely their work is.
    All in all, I highly recommend this site. What do you like shopping from this website, if you have shopped from them?  Any favorite sellers? Would love any recommendations.

    Clean and Clear Foaming Face Wash Review

    Another hot summer's night and I reach out for my almost empty bottle of face wash. Toners are in use in plenty but the face washes are the ones that are being used and thrown by the bottle. Since I use it twice a day in summer, I prefer something mild and gentle but at the same time it needs to work with any signs of grease on the face. It should feel good too. Which is why I keep going back to this brand.

    Clean and Clear Foaming Face Wash Review
    Product Guide

    Gentle enough wash to use everyday for clean and clear skin.
    Recommended for those who want to remove excess oil from their skin and prevent pimples.
    Liquid formula cleanses deep without causing dryness and hence can be used daily.


    Product comes in a plastic bodied, orange-toned clear and light plastic bottle which is very convenient to carry.
    A purple flip-cap top mechanism helps to squeeze out the accurate amount of product that is required.
    No frills packaging. It is so light and easy to carry.

    Clean and Clear Foaming Face Wash Review

    The product comes out as an oozing transparent liquid and is very light. You need a little more than a dew drop size to cover your entire face.
    It foams and is very mild on the skin which makes it good for the sensitive skinned, and can also be used frequently as the formula is not drying.
    It controls oil secretion for perhaps about two hours tops in humid climes.
    After which you need to rinse out your face again.
    I have not faced any issues of breakouts with this product and hence I give it a green signal.
    Also, I see myself purchasing those cute little bottles of these in the other variants.
    It has a citrusy-floral scent which is very mild and not overpowering at all.

    This is what i had in my sling bag ALL of last year when I attended coaching classes that used to be strenuous and I used to wash my face with this exact product during every hourly break they used to give us and I would feel instantly relieved and refreshed to face the next session.


    Water, Triethanolamine, Glycerin, Myristic acid, Lauric acid, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Lauryl Phosphate,
    Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, fragrance, pentasodium triphosphate, O-Cymen-5-ol, benzophenone 4, Butylated hydroxy Toluene

    Rating: 4/5

    MRP: Rs.98/100ml, available here

    Pantene PRO V Total Damage Care 10 Shampoo and Conditioner Review

    Pantene PRO V Total Damage Care 10 Shampoo review


    Product Guide 

    Use daily to prevent the 10 signs of hair damage. Contains Keratin Damage blockers technology that provides 99% protection against damage.
    Gives you softer, more manageable hair.

    The shampoo is contained in a matte white finished container with a golden flip cap. Due to the broad base, the bottle can rest well on your bath shelf.
    It's pretty basic packaging and I have also traveled with this , it's travel friendly. No leaks.

    Pantene PRO V Total Damage Care 10 Shampoo


    The product is really creamy in consistency and a pearly white color. 
    It lathers well with more water, if your water is hard it may not lather as much.
    This really needs to be worked into the scalp and hair with a nice massage; then only does it
    remove any greasiness from your scalp really well.
    The smell is the same as all Pantene shampoos, a sort of floral feel to it.
    I have found the product effective enough but an aunt of mine who I lent it to while we were traveling raved about it and I gave her my bottle. She asked me, 'Ye foreign ka maal hai jya?' (Is this a foreign product, because she hadn't seen this variant in India)
    So she was super impressed and she has very dry, frizzy hair and she said it left her hair feeling conditioned too.
    I feel the same about it, you do not always need a conditioner if you are using this product on a regular basis.

    Rating 4/ 5
    Rs.69 for 75 ml, available here

    Pantene PRO V Total Damage Care 10 Conditioner Review

    Product Guide

    Replenishes the health of damaged hair by moisturising and protecting its cuticles. Use at every wash for continuous protection against the day-to-day damage inflicted on your hair.

    • Repairs hair damaged by everyday activities
    • Nourishes hair from root to tip
    • Prevents further hair damage with 99% protection 

    The conditioner, too, comes in matte white container with a golden flip cap.
    It's pretty basic packaging and I have also traveled with this , it's travel friendly. No leaks.

    Pantene PRO V Total Damage Care 10 Conditioner


    Really creamy, heavy on moisturisation. Leaves hair really shiny and in control.
    Helps with keeping the frizzes under control.
    Doesn't weight my hair down too much, over all it does it's job well.
    I like the shampoo and conditioner equally. Normally, there would be a discrepancy and I usually tend to
    lean towards liking the conditioner more in a range. This range proves me wrong.

    Rating 4/5
    MRP Rs.69 for 75ml
    Available here

    Nivea Pure Effect Total Face Clean Up Review

    Nivea Pure Effect Total Face Clean Up
    Hello There :)

    Summers have been so muggy and harsh. Just when I felt that the heat was giving away to cool summer nights, a heat wave starts to sweep the country. I feel really bad for those affected by the draught and the water crisis is so real, guys; we ought to take the time out to pause and decide as a country or as a collective world as to where this is all heading. I am very careful with water and the environment. Please try and avoid wastage as much as possible. In that way, even if it may be the least possible way, we can ensure that all of us get our daily supply of water.

    Skin care has been my top priority during this heat crisis. I have been doubling up on products, toners, rose water, cotton swabs and you get the drill!
    I've run through a few face wash tubes because I do not like getting all muggy and grimey. And I used to use a scrub weekly once but I finished this product from Nivea in these three months. I think I have a few things to say about it too.

    Product guide

    The products claims to be enriched with magnolia extracts to help you achieve clear and pure skin.
    A unique cleansing complex helps deeply wash off impurities.
    Active peeling particles unclogs pores and purifies skin from blackheads
    You can leave it on as a face pack for a couple of minutes to ensure perfect complexion
    The anti-bacterial formulation helps fight spot causing bacteria, leaving you with refreshed skin

    Nivea Pure Effect Total Face Clean Up

    I really like this kind of packaging. It comes in a white tube with a powder turquoise blue cap.
    The base of the cap is broad enough to enable the product to stand in your vanity or bath easily.
    The flip open cap mechanism helps ease out just the right amount of product with a bare squeeze of the tube.
    The only minus is that you can't see how much product is left behind but I pretty much get to know when the weight of the tube starts to diminish.
    I cannot find fault with the packaging in any other way, infact I have to say the attractive white and blue look made me reach for the product and grab it.

    Nivea Pure Effect Total Face Clean Up


    The product is really thick and has a paste like consistency. It has a comforting smell, like some of the nivea
    It is quite granular with little powder blue scrub beads. You can use it gently and in a circular motion especially around pores and blackhead areas, your nose which maybe the problem area for most of you.
    It is not very harsh and hence did not break my skin out.
    Feels comfortable enough. On days that I had the luxury of time, I would just leave it on as a face pack before my bath and wash it off in the shower.
    I did not find it give any enhanced sort of glow, nor did my blackheads reduce and when it comes to pores, I think it's just alright.
    It's definitely a nice scrub but not the best I have tried. Definitely has a gentler formula though than most in the market. It does not lather at all. It's more creamy, like you are wiping your face off with cream but not that creamy either that it leaves a residue behind. None of that.
    I think it's a multipurpose product and I like to take it when I travel, negates the need to take a face pask and a seperate scrub, face wash etc. All in one.

    Rating 3.4/ 5

    Rs.99 for 50ml, available here

    Urban Haat National Crafts Bazaar in Pilikula Part 2

    So let's chat a little about the second and final edition of this series. I attended this event in the peak afternoon. I consciously wore sunscreen and carried an umbrella but it was so hot that it did not help much. But once inside this tiny enclave, you lose yourself in the beautiful array of work showcased and you tend to forget the heat.

    National level craft Bazaar Pilikula

    National level craft Bazaar Pilikula
    This particular stall had T-shirts, cotton sarees and salwar suits all dyed without any chemicals. Apparently these colors are obtained only from natural sources. I was very impressed. All the suit materials you see in this picture cost Rs.600. The prices are fixed and the lady is not ready to bargain with you. The suit pieces seem rough to touch but she assures me that with one wash, it becomes soft.The cotton sarees are priced above Rs.1200.

    Cotton sarees

    Stalls selling tie and dye suit material
     There were few stalls that sold all kinds of beads, baubles, shells and vastu related items.


    This particular stall is run by this sweet lady, she was willing to even customize and make the pieces I designed. She said it would take her just a half hour to get the design ready. 

    Enterpreneurs at Urban Haar Pilikula
     I got most of my stuff from this stall below. They had the cutest brass jewellery. I bought four brass etched bangles and two cute owl earrings. Their prices were so reasonable. I wanted to get more stuff, mainly earrings but I refrained.

    Brass earrings

    Jhumkas of all kinds

    Cane furniture

    Stalls set up in Pilikula

    aren't these just gorgeous!

    colorful footwear

    Lots of cotton night suits, skirts, pyjama pants, dhoti pants and blouses were on display. They were reasonably priced too.

    Love that blue skirt.
     This stall was exceptional as all the beautiful purses, clutches and handbags, rugs were made completely of banana bark!!!

    Banana bark products
     These were such marvellous sculptures in wood. Many people were buying them for home decor and restaurant set ups. They give an old world charm.

    Add caption

    pilikula national craft bazaar

    I believe you should go see the place for yourself and if you do manage to visit before the Haat ends, do let me know how you liked it :)

    Hope you all enjoyed this post, I truely enjoyed my visit and look forward to going again some time.
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